Structure Europe 2013: Is absence of web scale giants a problem for Europe’s cloud ambitions?

It is less than 24 hours to our second Structure Europe conference, this time in London. And as I sit and review my notes for my on-stage interviews, I am reminded of a conversation with Abhi Talwalkar, chief executive officer of LSI(s lsi), a company that makes chips which are used in everything from switches to servers to the gear that powers cell-phone networks.

Talwalkar, who has a unique view into the data center business, points out that in the future there will be about twenty large cloud(s) in the world – and most of them are going to come from hyper-scale companies that will leverage their gigantic web businesses to offer cloud services to others.

Amazon (s AMZN) is clearly a trendsetter and since then has been joined by Google (s GOOG) and Microsoft (s MSFT). These companies built big infrastructure for their own web-needs, learned vital lessons and gained an edge in eventually becoming public cloud service providers.

Talwalkar believes that Chinese giants such as Tencent, Alibaba, Weibo and Baidu are going to use their web scale to become major players in Chinese cloud market. Japan’s Rakuten could be another giant cloud provider, much like Amazon.

What about Europe? While it has produced some great technology companies, few have gained the scale of say a Tencent or an Amazon. Spotify is an important Internet company, but its scale is small compared to the big webscale companies we talk about. Same goes for Angry Birds, Super Cell and e-commerce phenom, Net-a-Porter.

Will the lack of webscale companies be roadblock for Europe when it comes to rolling out public clouds such as Amazon? Or does it offer opportunities for others — from upstarts to large phone companies such as Deutsche Telecom to jump at the opportunity. We have organized a wonderful Startup Zone for the conference, which features companies we think are going to be stars of tomorrow.)

I hope that by end of our two-day cloud conference, we will have some reasonable idea as to where cloud is headed, especially from a European perspective. Hope you will join me and our team — Barb Darrow, David Meyer, Derrick Harris, Mathew Ingram and Chris Albrecht for a fun two days. Here is a link to the schedule, speakers and if you are so inclined, one for the event registration site.