George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has officially taken over the internet. Through violence, sex, and a healthy helping of Dinklage, GoT is a must-watch show with an immensely enjoyable struggle for the throne between the powerful families of Westeros. While nowhere near as sexy, the cloud services power struggles have been just as epic. So why don’t we compare the two?
Let’s get to know the two cloud services markets we’re tracking:
PaaS, or Platform as a Service, is a service model for cloud computing where a provider offers an operating system, program coding execution environment, and a database and server. IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, is another service model for cloud computing where a provider offers physical and virtual machines, and other resources to a client.
In simpler terms, IaaS tends to be more about storage, while PaaS is about tools for creating and executing applications.
To avoid spoilers for viewers that may be behind, we’re going to use mid-way through season three as our reference point. You know, when Khaleesi revealed that she’s no longer just going to wander around with dying horses and Dothraki, and is going to start handing out some pain.
So here we go – here are the leaders in cloud services as Game of Thrones families.
The Lannisters – Amazon (#2 PaaS – 17% / #1 IaaS – 36% / source)
While it’s hard to compare a generally decent company like Amazon to the ever-slappable Joffrey and the rest of the Lannisters, they’re both kings of the realm right now. Amazon owns the lion’s share of the IaaS market (their 36% market share is followed by IBM’s 5%) right now, and is a very close #2 in the PaaS market. Across the two services, nobody comes close to Amazon right now, just as the Lannisters appear to be firmly in control and are continuing to build their power (adding the Tyrell family).
The Baratheons – Salesforce (#1 PaaS – 19%)
Surprise of all surprises, Salesforce actually has the biggest share of the PaaS market! The younger brother of former King of the Seven Kingdoms, Stannis, is full of surprises himself. With dark magic, not to mention the sizable balls it took to attack King’s Landing, Stannis may yet be a formidable opponent for the Lannisters. Stannis has Melisandre and The Lord of Light on his side too, and having all that magic on his side certainly doesn’t hurt. With SalesForce’s established corporate client base and reputation, they could certainly work some magic in the Cloud services market.
The Starks – Microsoft (#3 PaaS – 15%)
The old, established name clinging to relevance in a changing world. Microsoft seems to be playing catch-up to Apple in computers/tablets, Amazon in cloud services, and now Sony in next-gen gaming. In much the same way, Robb Stark and the rest of his army are seeming a bit desperate right now, taking unneeded chances (marrying Talisa) and spreading themselves thin to take care of various messes. That said, Microsoft’s Azure is growing and the Starks remain a viable threat to the throne.
EDIT – Microsoft is hoping to avoid its own Red Wedding…
The Targaryens – Google
Here’s where we begin to venture into the unknown. Google is pretty much off the radar right now as an IaaS or PaaS provider (they only have a couple mild services), but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Google is huge and its resources are nearly limitless. Heck, they’ve made driverless cars! If they put their resources behind something useful (think the exact opposite of Google+), they’re going to dominate like no other.
Daenerys and her dragons are in a similar position. Dragons = win in Westeros, so Daenerys, much like Google, is the force everybody is just waiting to come in and win the fight. She’s sexy, people are instinctively drawn to her, and people are very loyal to her family name. If Daenerys and Google ever really invade, the competitive landscape will be turned upside-down.
The “Wildlings” Beyond the Wall – The Field
Not much is known about the capabilities of Mance Rayder and his band of wildlings beyond the wall. They have the numbers, and are surprisingly well-organized for “wildlings”, but they’re a major unknown right now. Nobody views them as a serious threat. Stories about the “next big thing” are told in whispers and dismissed as nothing more than crazy Old Nan’s tales to scare the children. Still, a company could come in and overthrow an established name virtually overnight (think Facebook vs. MySpace), just as Mance and his army could soon rule everything.
Oh yeah, and they have giants…