OpSource, Akamai Unite to Score a Slice of $56B Cloud Market Pie

Cloud-services platform provider OpSource and content-distribution kingpin Akamai today  are announcing some details about strategic partnership that’s now a few months old. I wonder if the decision to go public was influenced by Gartner’s March 26 report predicting the cloud services market will top $56 billion this year and hit $150 billion by 2013. If Akamai and OpSource are trying to ride this wave of optimism, they certainly can’t be ridiculed for the decision.

Software vendors with dreams of moving toward Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings are ideal cloud computing customers: They see the benefits of delivering their applications as cloud services, but they have neither the resources nor expertise to build and manage the massive, multi-tenant architectures needed to so do. OpSource’s On-Demand suite of solutions fills this gap holistically — providing not only the computing resources and managed hosting services needed to go SaaS, but also application and business operations capabilities like change management, compliance, analytics and a billing mechanism. OpSource boasts dozens of customers and recently received $10 million in Series E funding.

The Akamai partnership brings complementary route optimization into the mix, which means software vendors can build their apps, from the get-go, to leverage the Akamai platform. A big piece of the puzzle is the Web Application Accelerator, which Akamai has enhanced specifically for SaaS customers. New access control capabilities let end-users access cloud apps from secure locations, and improved visibility lets software vendors analyze customer behavior. Akamai says its SaaS customer base grew by 50 percent in 2008, and it has seen a 20-fold increase in SaaS traffic over the last three years.

Gartner calculated the cloud services market at $46.4 billion in 2008, 83 percent of which was derived from business processes delivered as cloud services (such as cloud-based advertising, e-commerce, human resources and payments processing). Gartner allots 5.5 percent of the 2008 market to infrastructure as a service, and says the applications-as-services segment is “almost twice as large.” The firm expects the latter segment to continue its strong growth, and the OpSource-Akamai duo should prove a formidable foe in the battle for that revenue.