The cloud has changed everything–except how we market it

Commentary: Although the cloud retains altering how we construct functions, the way in which we promote it has hardly modified in any respect.


Picture: GettyImages/da-kuk

A decade is the equal of a lifetime when it comes to expertise years, or that is what we like to inform ourselves. That is significantly true of cloud computing, which was meant to alter how we construct and run functions. I made a decision to place it to the take a look at by utilizing the Wayback Machine to see what distinguished tech corporations had been saying about cloud in October 2011, in contrast with their messaging right this moment. TL;DR? As an business we have been constant in touting the identical advertising and marketing messages… yr after yr.

It is significantly fascinating to see how enterprise incumbents and cloud insurrectionists have stayed constant of their messaging over the previous decade. Cloud was supposed to alter all the things, but has hardly budged a couple of internet touchdown pages.

SEE: Analysis: Video conferencing instruments and cloud-based options dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI much less common with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

Promoting the mainstream enterprise

Take, for instance, Oracle. Go to its important touchdown web page right this moment (Determine A), and Oracle desires to promote you cloud, cloud and extra cloud.

Determine A


Picture: Oracle

This maybe is not stunning, on condition that Oracle has work to do to catch up in market share, in keeping with Gartner. And that market place right this moment is smart if we glance again to what Oracle was speaking about 10 years in the past on server {hardware} it had acquired from Solar Microsystems in 2010 (SPARC Superclusters); Java coaching and conferences (once more, a product of its Solar acquisition, although Oracle had been concerned with Java for a few years prior to purchasing Solar); and sure, a banner saying Oracle OpenWorld the place attendees can “uncover how Oracle powers the cloud.” It is unclear what Oracle meant by this, however maybe it was only a teaser for the Oracle Public Cloud, which launched in 2011. 

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In the meantime, over at in 2011, Huge Blue was actively campaigning towards Oracle’s SPARC (“Costly ‘one-size-fits-all’ configurations”), in addition to HP. The pitch? Discover higher complete price of possession with IBM by way of a holistic strategy to enterprise tech, together with its mainframes. (At the least, I feel that is what the banner stated: onerous to know because it required Adobe Flash to run and, effectively….) Immediately, IBM continues to be speaking up its mainframes, however the web site is generally high-minded advertising and marketing in regards to the ethics of AI and, for some cause, Malcolm Gladwell doing its Web of Issues pitch. 

However in each Oracle’s and IBM’s case, neither is especially concerned with promoting the longer term. Each then and now, their advertising and marketing is concentrated on mainstream enterprise consumers that do not need wholesale change. Construct your cloud, sure, however do it with SPARC servers. Embrace AI, however watch out how. And so forth. These aren’t disruptive messages, and that is intentional. 

The precise reverse of what Amazon Net Companies was pitching.

Get on the cloud

“Innovation, powered by Amazon” is the banner headline on the corporate’s October 2011 web site. It took Microsoft ages to assist Linux in Azure (2018), however AWS was touting Home windows assist a decade in the past. Launched in 2006 with simply Amazon Easy Storage Service (S3), by 2011 AWS supplied EC2 (compute), storage (S3 and EBS), networking (VPC and Route53), databases (SimpleDB and RDS) and had simply launched ElastiCache. In contrast to Oracle and IBM, AWS invited guests to see “how AWS may also help you lower your expenses versus your current IT infrastructure.” The emphasis was very a lot on shifting out of the personal knowledge middle and into the general public cloud. 

Immediately, AWS nonetheless pitches its cloud providers (now at greater than 200 and certain so as to add a number of extra at re:Invent later this yr), however there’s emphasis on operating “AWS infrastructure on-premises for a very constant expertise.” AWS, in different phrases, is studying to be boring, staid. Identical to Oracle, IBM and different tech bellwethers.

Microsoft, for its half, right this moment makes it tougher to search out Azure on its web site than anticipated. Visiting its website you may see cloud merchandise like Workplace 365, Home windows and Xbox. Mainly, the identical issues you may purchase from Microsoft again in 2011 (although again then the corporate buried Xbox on the highest navigation pane, too). Microsoft had solely launched Azure in early 2010, so it took some digging round to uncover it tucked down beneath Home windows Server, promising: “Home windows Azure and SQL Azure allow you to construct, host and scale functions in Microsoft datacenters.” ( did not exist till 2014.)

It was a comforting message for CIOs who did not wish to depart their knowledge facilities–one which proved common with CIOs who’ve lengthy entrusted delicate workloads to Microsoft. (Microsoft later scrapped the Azure model co-mingling with Home windows as a result of, effectively, that wasn’t the OS builders needed to run within the cloud.) Immediately, Microsoft continues that “we’ll assist you determine the cloud” messaging with an emphasis on safety (“Be assured realizing that your knowledge is dependable, compliant, and well-protected with Azure knowledge governance and safety improvements.”). 

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And what about Google? 

Immediately Google urges website guests to “speed up your transformation with Google Cloud.” Of the large three clouds, it is the one one which has a dedication to open supply on its touchdown web page. It is also the one one which appears centered on positioning itself because the place to go for cutting-edge tech like ML/AI with the tagline to “Remedy your hardest enterprise challenges right here.” 

However what about in 2011? Again then, the corporate solely supplied three issues: App Engine, Storage and Prediction API (“make your apps smarter by serving to them establish patterns, suggest acceptable actions and automate repetitive duties”). It is a fairly bare-bones web site however, intriguingly, that very same concentrate on future use circumstances (by way of Prediction API) is current. 

There are different examples of corporations which are mainly the identical, 10 years on (e.g., Pink Hat then and now). The tech retains altering, however maybe not as quick we expect. And, seemingly, the advertising and marketing messages we use to pitch that tech change even much less ceaselessly. 

Disclosure: I work for MongoDB, however the views expressed herein are mine

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