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The battle of the cloud OSes begins in earnest

Several heavyweight virtualization vendors entered the platform fray this week, roiling the market and ensuring a fierce battle between them.

Once upon a time a cottage industry of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors emerged to proclaim the next generation of application development. Bungee Labs (which I advise), Coghead, 3tera, and a range of others each stepped up to provide cloud-based platforms for developing cloud-based applications.

This week, however, each of these independent efforts was put on notice by industry heavyweights VMware, Citrix, and Virtual Iron: We're joining the fray.

James Urquhart calls out the significance of of their entries into the cloud platform market:

The long and the short of it is that we have entered into a new era, in which data centers will no longer simply be collections of servers, but will actually be computing units in and of themselves--often made up of similar computing units (e.g. containers) in a sort of fractal arrangement. Virtualization is key to make this happen (though server virtualization itself is not technically absolutely necessary). So are powerful management tools, policy and workflow automation, data and compute load portability, and utility-type monitoring and metering systems.

Indeed. No one is yet making any real money as a cloud infrastructure provider, but already the market is heating up to a boiling point. The entry of VMware and Citrix, in particular, may toll the bell for the independents, or perhaps it will encourage a round of consolidation.

Either way, the nascent cloud-computing industry just became a lot more interesting.