Massachusetts is leading the way when it comes to public cloud computing. The state government pledged $3 million to Boston University’s Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) project, which promises to be a groundbreaking experiment in public cloud computing. The project will be developed by BU’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering in collaboration with technology companies and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, where the MOC will be based. The MOC will be open to multiple vendors who would all have equal access, operating in what founders liken to a shopping mall model. Banding together allows providers to draw enough traffic to leverage their economies of scale; partners for the project range from academic researchers to corporations. The idea for the MOC came from a 2009 research paper, whose authors argued that with a MOC cloud model, “many stakeholders, rather than just a single provider, participate in implementing and operating the cloud. This creates a multisided marketplace in which participants freely cooperate and compete with each other, and customers can choose among numerous competing services and solutions.”
Forrester estimates that public cloud services have entered a period of hypergrowth—2013 saw $58 billion in revenues, which will push to $191 billion by 2020. Software as a Service offerings represented the bulk of those revenues, $36 billion, but cloud platforms are a surging area. Some more trends: SaaS will continue to replace existing systems, cloud platforms will rival traditional infrastructures by 2020, and going forward, public cloud services will rival traditional middleware for customer engagement.