How Big Is the Cloud? Even GoDaddy Is Selling It
How big is cloud computing? GoDaddy—yes, GoDaddy—is now bringing the cloud to the world’s mom-and-pop shops.
GoDaddy began life as a rather shameless guerilla marketer that used ridiculously sexist TV ads to promote a service that let anyone sign up for an Internet address and host a website. But under CEO Blake Irving, the former Microsoft and Yahoo exec who took the reigns in 2012, the Arizona-based company has overhauled its brand and transformed itself into a one-stop-online-shop for the world’s small businesses. This morning, the company unveiled its own cloud computing service—a service that lets anyone build and operate software without setting up their own hardware.
GoDaddy already hosts more than 10 million websites, but in more traditional ways, giving people access to site building software like Word Press. Now, its new “Cloud Server” service lets mom-and-pop shops spin up raw virtual machines where they can build and run just about any software they like. Or, perhaps more accurately, it lets companies that serve small businesses spin up these virtual machines. “What we’re focusing on here are the businesses that serve small businesses,” says GoDaddy senior vice president of hosting Jeff King.
Amazon pioneered the concept of the cloud about a decade ago with Amazon Web Services, which has since turned into a $9.6 billion side business for the world’s largest online retailer. Meanwhile, Google and Microsoft and IBM are all following Amazon in pursuit of what research outfit Forrester predicts that will be a $191 billion market by 2020. Now, that trend is extending all the way to smaller players like GoDaddy.
There remains much debate over the cloud idea. The argument was stoked last week when big name San Francisco startup Dropbox announced that it had moved off of the Amazon cloud. But Dropbox is the exception that proves the rule. Sure, it makes sense for some companies to use their own hardware in their own data centers. But with companies like Amazon and Google providing the all-important economies of scale while keeping prices low in order to compete with each other and the rest of the market, the cloud makes more and more sense as the way for businesses to outsource their IT.
It certainly makes sense for the small businesses that GoDaddy serves. Why buy a server when you can so easily spin up a virtual server at the same place you just register a web domain? More and more, the future of computing is to leave the hardware and the software to someone else.
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