When big-tech becomes your competition

Greg Kogan writes:

Big Cloud companies earn the bulk of their revenues from metered billing of storage, compute, and streaming. Having turned those infrastructure workloads into commodities, the Big Cloud companies are in a race to provide differentiated products higher in the stack just to bring more customers onto their infrastructure….

Big Cloud companies can win by brute force: Pouring obscene amounts of resources into engineering, marketing, and sales until they outrun or outlast the competition. It won’t be enough to have a better product by a smidgen, or to have a small head start in the market.

This is an old link which surfaced from somewhere and I thought it was prudent to mention it and write about it here. The more you depend on the cloud computing, the better visibility companies have in your privileged data. I have been advocating on-premises hardware – initial upfront costs are more, but you retain the complete ownership.

There’s something more:

While it helps with awareness and credibility, open-sourcing products in whole or in part lowers the barrier to entry for competitors. For any new and sufficiently popular open-source product X, it is trivial for Big Cloud to introduce a “Managed X” offering, as AWS did with Elasticsearch, or to pair it with their security products and package it as “X for Enterprise,” as AWS did with MongoDB and as Google did with Kubernetes.

The questionable benefits of open-core business models, combined with the vulnerability it opens to competition from Big Cloud companies—who are not ashamed of taking advantage—is why I advise companies to guard their product and not go open-source, or to limit their vulnerability if they already open-sourced, as Confluent did by changing their licensing when AWS pulled the same maneuver with Kafka, the open-source software from Confluent.

Using the open source software and marketing it as your own is another level of unethical practices. The issue is complicated and muddled and I won’t deliberate much on it. It is critical to be aware of what goes in the market.

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