Late last week, Derrick Harris, of tech industry watcher GigaOm, blogged that both Google and Microsoft are readying new entrants to compete in the ongoing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud arms race.

While Harris’ sources in Mountain View and Redmond have “declined to comment” on the particulars, it doesn’t require a wild imagination to understand their motivation: compete head on with the popular Amazon cloud services portfolio.

And, whereas both Google and Microsoft have sought to capture cloud market share—a market believed to be on track to hit $241 billon by 2020 as forecast by Forrester Research—with SaaS and PaaS, this expansion of their respective cloud strategies is very telling of where the true epicenter of cloud adoption lies today … especially for development workloads.

Developers are spending on cloud compute, storage, and network infrastructure, not necessarily on cloud-based application runtime environments like Google App Engine or Microsoft Windows Azure.

Harris echoed this point when speaking to how Microsoft “clearly got the message on where developers are spending in the cloud … which is why it’s reportedly expanding its Windows Azure cloud to compete with Amazon more directly than it already does. That means the ability to rent Windows and Linux virtual servers by the hour.”

Not surprising, many feel adding two more “big dog” providers to the IaaS market will result in increased commoditization of these core infrastructure capabilities, as Google and Microsoft are likely more “willing and able to compete with AWS on price,” according to the GigaOm post.

But, is price really the most important determining factor for you when thinking about moving your dynamic workloads, like development and testing, to the cloud?

What we’ve heard from Skytap Cloud customers, including Trek Bicycle Corporation and Calypso Technology, is the real savings come not just from the price point, but from their ability to accelerate release cycles by more than 70%, boost team productivity through better collaboration between globally distributed teams of devs and testers, and implementing an agile development platform to match their adoption of Agile development practices.

What’s at the heart of these customer experiences?

It’s a unique software layer we call the Intelligent Automation PlatformTM that adds value above and beyond the increasingly more commonplace delivery of cloud-based compute, storage, and networking.

Delivering sophisticated automation and self-service on top of our own cloud infrastructure means you not only experience the scale and cost savings afforded by a move to the cloud, but it truly makes cloud computing simple, easy, and intuitive.

This is why customers like the ones mentioned above are able to do things like double the number of development projects they can work on in less than four months after adopting Skytap Cloud.

So, while it is great to see more and more momentum behind the cloud and a wider range of choice for you with the upcoming addition of IaaS offerings from Microsoft and Google, I encourage you to spend a few minutes looking through our customer stories to see just how important it is to have intuitive self-service, project based collaboration, full visibility and control over usage, and a platform that enables you to quickly, easily, and securely create complex computing environments in the cloud.

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