Tech CEOs, like other company insiders, know when to sell.

With the Nasdaq at all-time highs, both the bid and ask sides of tech M&A are active right now.

The latest incarnation occurred Thursday when Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) Google subsidiary agreed to acquire Apigee (APIC) , whose technology makes it easier to integrate software into cloud-based apps and services.

By snapping up a startup focused on APIs, or application programming interfaces, Google hopes the deal can help it become even more appealing to developers.

And Google isn't alone in seeking cloud-based acquisitions. Cloud service businesses are at the top of many shopping lists, as some in the industry are betting IT assets rented remotely -- rather than owned on corporate campuses -- will capture a growing share of the huge IT services market.

Market researcher Gartner estimated the total market for what it calls 'public cloud services' will rise 16.5% this year to roughly $200 billion.

"This round (of consolidation) is just getting started," said VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger in an interview with TheStreet in San Francisco.

EDITORS' NOTE: For a complete list of cloud targets, please see "Clouds With a Golden Lining: Enterprise Software Target" which was previously published by The Deal, a sister publication of TheStreet. Click here for a free trial to The Deal.

VMWare, now owned by Michael Dell's holding company, agreed to acquire networking-software startup Arkin Net for an undisclosed sum in June and plans to make more acquisitions to fuel growth, Gelsinger said.

So far, acquirers have been willing to pay up for cloud assets of all kinds.

Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) , for instance, paid a hefty premium for NetSuite, whose shares rose more than 40% in the month before that $9.3 billion deal was announced in August.

The NetSuite deal targeted the heart of the corporate cloud application market, as its product line is essentially the back-office version of customer-facing software from fellow cloud pioneer Salesforce. Like Salesforce (CRM - Get Report) and its CEO Marc Benioff, NetSuite was founded by an ex-Oracle executive, Zach Nelson.

Benioff has said he bid for LinkedIn (LNKD) , indicating this is no time to be shy for those who wanted to test the value of assets as tech valuations are back at record highs.

Other large strategic investors include Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) , which eventually clinched a deal for LinkedIn on June 14 with a $26.2 billion bid.

The long-time software rival of Oracle made a huge bet when it paid a 50% premium for the Mountain View, Calif., target. LinkedIn's most profitable product is a social network service targeting corporate hiring managers, a service built on top of an Internet-based application.

The NetSuite deal, targeted the heart of the corporate cloud application market, as its product line is essentially the back-office version of customer-facing software from fellow cloud pioneer Salesforce.

Like Salesforce and its CEO Marc Benioff, NetSuite was founded by an ex-Oracle executive, Zach Nelson.

Benioff has said he also bid for LinkedIn, before Microsoft outbid him, indicating this is no time to be shy for those who wanted to test the valuation of their tech assets.

With investment bankers getting these kinds of premiums, anyone with a growing cloud business may decide now is a good time to sell.

That means other public cloud companies, such as Palo Alto Networks (PANW - Get Report) and Splunk (SPLK - Get Report) could be in play.

So could Workday (WDAY - Get Report) , which also competes with Oracle in the market for Internet-based apps.

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Among privately-held startups, CloudFlare, which like Amazon and Akamai is one of the world's largest players in the Internet-hosting market, comes to mind.

So does Egnyte, a startup that combines public cloud services with private network applications, a so-called hybrid cloud approach also being touted by VMWare's Gelsinger.

While many companies are acquiring to build a cloud-based presence, Amazon's (AMZN - Get Report) Jeff Bezos has been building more than buying.

The company has spent so much on Internet servers and software and warehouses to house them that he's trained an entire generation of Amazon shareholders to expect single-digit margins.

Along with Microsoft, that makes at least two Seattle-based tech giants betting HUGE on the cloud.

Add in buyers in Silicon Valley and you have a strong bid environment, which helps explain the hefty premiums.

Tech investors should expect more, too.

"There'll be a shakeout, that's why we stick to our knitting," says Andy Daudelin, vice president of cloud networking at AT&T, who told me in an interview in San Francisco Thursday that the wireless giant is focused on the connectivity piece of the cloud pie.

Daudelin pegged that market at more than $5 billion, leaving plenty of room in other cloud segments for those ready to pay up for growth.

EDITORS' NOTE: For a complete list of cloud targets, please see "Clouds With a Golden Lining: Enterprise Software Target" which was previously published by The Deal, a sister publication of TheStreet. Click here for a free trial to The Deal.