Adding to the crazy patchwork: the earlier IT eras never really went away. It turns out that the evolution of IT is about addition, not replacement. Even as the cloud gets all the headlines, IBM rakes in billions from mainframe technology, and client-server is more intensively networked than ever. Looking out across the global IT market – which Gartner says hit $3.7 trillion in 2013 – can easily cause vertigo.
Oh sure, if you need a single unifying theme, our current era is indisputably the Cloud Era. And at one level the Cloud Era is not so different from earlier times. It has a clear market leader (Amazon), facing stiff competition from a second tier (Microsoft, Google, IBM, HP, Dell), with a crowded third tier all jockeying for position (Rackspace, Eucalyptus, RightScale, Joyent, NetApp). That type of market setup is pretty much business as usual.