The service layer, which means cloud-to-network binding for both enterprises and service providers, is the sweet spot of the future market. Own it and you can hope to pull through your solutions en masse. It’s still open territory.
There may be cloud architecture competition emerging from new quarters. F5 announced it had worked with IBM to develop a reference architecture for the cloud. The architecture clearly covers the creation of private clouds based on virtualization, and F5 promises that it will be extended to envelope public cloud components to hybridize them with private clouds. We see no reason why the architecture (which looks much like Eucalyptus, and that’s no accident according to F5) can’t be used for public cloud applications, including service provider clouds.
IBM has specific aspirations in the service provider space, and the reference architecture may be a step in helping prospective service providers clients build cloud services that can then easily hybridize with enterprises. It seems to us that the approach would also support SOA applications, but that’s not a specific part of the release.