For all the talk about cloud computing and the security and ethics implications thereof, for many the concept remains a nebulous one. Earlier this month Bessemer Venture Partners, a leading venture capital firm, helped make the concept of cloud computing much more concrete by creating and publishing the Bessemer Cloudscape, a “visual to track the leading companies in this revolution.”
Bessemer has invested heavily in cloud computing, and is in an excellent position to map the cloudscape. The firm sees cloud computing not only as one of the most important technology transitions to have ever occurred, but also as potential catalyst for a broader economic recovery:
Even as global markets struggle beneath the weight of unemployment, government paralysis, debt crises and Occupy Wall Street, one segment of the economy enjoys explosive growth with the promise of leading the recovery, one job at a time: cloud computing.
Cloud computing is no longer at the leading edge of the software world, but rather from the perspective of a growth investor, entrepreneur, or technology buyer, cloud computing IS the modern software industry. This multi-billion dollar, high-growth segment of technology now encompasses hundreds of exciting companies, covering every major segment of the software ecosystem.
The Bessemer Cloudscape is divided into three “layers”:
Software-as-a-Service. This includes companies in virtually every segment of the market, which Bessemer divides into CRM, Marketing Demand Generation, Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Content Management, Vertical (e.g. legal, healthcare), Enterprise Social Media, Marketing Analytics, Retail & E-Commerce, Collaboration, Business Intelligence and Ad Tech. The Software-as-a-Service layer of the Bessemer Cloudscape is targeted primary at corporate and consumer end-users. You’ll recognize many names in this layer of the cloudscape, including Salesforce, LinkedIn, Box, Dropbox, Clio (my own company), Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
Platform-as-a-Service. This segment includes companies such as Heroku and New Relic. This segment of the cloud computing market is targeted primary at developers, which in many cases are using these Platform-as-a-Service companies to help deliver their own Software-as-a-Service products.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service. This is the segment of the cloud computing market that provides the foundation atop which Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service companies build their offerings. Companies at this level of the cloud operate huge datacenters with hundreds of thousands of servers.