As is my annual custom, at the beginning of each year or as we are entering into a new year, I try to make some educated guesses as to the direction that Cloud Computing will take us. In December, 2010, I published “Peering Out at the Horizon – 7 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2011” and now is the time that I reflect back to see how well these predictions actually did. Just as a reminder, the predictions that I made were my own personal opinion and may not reflect others at GoGrid.
Here is a quick recap of the 2011 Cloud Computing predictions I made and I have also mentioned how I think the prediction faired at the end of 2011:
- IT Procurement Includes Cloud Requisitioning – Part of me was really hoping that this would come to fruition a bit more than it did. Essentially, I believe that the Enterprise and Business Units therein would begin loosening up a bit in terms of the procurement of IT resources. It still seems that there is a division of this process. Traditional IT managers are looking to extend their hold on the physical and data center environments that they “own” and manage. However, as Gartner analyst, Lydia Leong posits, there are also those who are considered “circumventors” who bypass the traditional IT procurement process and go to the public cloud to get project-based infrastructure. The circumventers use whatever tools possible to get their jobs done. They love the characteristics and qualities of the cloud. Conversely, those IT traditionalists view the cloud as risky. They want to ensure that infrastructure is compliant, safe, secure and carefully managed. They are worried about “cloud sprawl” and not having control over infrastructure in the cloud. While previously, these groups had heated political battles about whose method was the proper one, in 2012, they will realize that both methods have advantages and by working together, they can minimize the risks. The use of Cloud Bridging (joining on-prem to public cloud), Cloud Bursting (expanding to the public cloud when resources require it), and Hybrid Hosting (combining physical and virtual appliances within the same environment) will provide both sides of these dueling mindsets with ways to get along.
Prediction results: There is definitely some headway being made to bridge the gap between these two forces within organizations. The lines are blurring as different ways to procure both cloud and physical infrastructure are emerging.
- Private Clouds and Public Cloud Act to Catalyze Each Other – There is still the ongoing debate as to which comes first, a public cloud or a private cloud. It really depends who you talk to within an organization. There are those circumventers who simply “expense” the use of a public cloud and there are those traditionalists, as I mentioned, who will make all attempts to re-use existing infrastructure and make it “cloudy.” However, there are more and more companies that look to a hybridization of infrastructure, where they are creating Virtual Private Clouds to ensure better data security or compliance while leveraging existing physical infrastructures. Private clouds can definitely whet the appetites of organizations who are looking at the cloud for more efficient utilization of IT resources. And I still believe that once private clouds prove their use, there are more possibilities for public cloud adoption.
Prediction results: We are seeing a continued growth of cloud computing in general, and within that, a mixture of the types of clouds being used, pure public or private, cloud bursting, cloud bridging, hybrid clouds and hybrid hosting in general.
- “Cloud Washing” Backlash Begins – Cloud washing occurs when an infrastructure vendor takes its traditional, legacy or older service offering and they simply slap the term “cloud” on it. Companies seem to be doing a better job at disguising their non-cloud (or even “false cloud”) offerings into something that resembles a cloud offering. It’s still “buyer beware” with these types of services, in my opinion. Ensure that the cloud provider you choose passes the cloud-litmus test. You shouldn’t have to have a big capital expenditure, services should be dynamic and scalable, you should be billed based on usage and the service should be consumed via internet services.
Prediction results: For the most part, there wasn’t as much of a backlash as I would have predicted. Either cloud buyers are simply unaware of cloud-washing or it simply doesn’t matter to them and they are still getting what they believe to be cloud services. I just hope they don’t get buyers remorse once they dive a bit deeper into their selected vendor.
- Cracks Show with Internal Clouds as Hosted Private Clouds Emerge – The idea here is that corporations who rushed out to buy hardware and virtualization licenses in order to implement their own private cloud are now reeling from sticker shock and a high TCO. Private clouds are important to organizations, especially if data security and privacy are core requirements. However as the tab for running and maintaining a private cloud continues to climb, enterprises and larger organizations are now looking for financial and human capital efficiencies in their infrastructure management and growth. GoGrid introduced the Hosted Private Cloud service earlier this year and we are seeing great traction. In fact, Orange Business Services has been using GoGrid’s Hosted Private Cloud since early on this year. You can see their case study here.
Prediction results: As I mention, Hosted Private Cloud interest and sales are seeing strong numbers at GoGrid and there are other cloud vendors who are now starting to offer similar services. Expect this movement to grow in 2012.
- Community & Sharing Of and Within the Cloud – With a proliferation of cloud services in the marketplace, it is only natural that aggregation and inter-networking of disparate clouds begin to form. With outages always a possibility, it’s important for organizations to build for failure and this is where multi-cloud utilization is important for disaster recover plans. Companies like Racemi are leveraging migration plays that can help corporations distribute their infrastructure across multiple public clouds.
Predictions results: For the most part, the growth of peripheral cloud integration and migration services, including professional services companies, showed pretty solid growth this year with cloud consumers realizing that there are options and a plethora of services from which to choose.
- Breaking Down International Cloud Borders – Many analysts have said that the US is leading the cloud computing charge with Europe & Asia closely following. There are a few cloud vendors within Europe, but not to the extent of the United States. Being able to use a single cloud vendor for world-wide distribution and utilization of cloud services is critical to many companies. While due to the Patriot Act, European companies need to host their EU-centric services in Europe, many also use US-based cloud provider for their US-audiences.
Prediction results: The European expansion started this year and won’t be slowing down any time soon as US cloud providers are realizing the importance of having a physical presence overseas. But this could all change…
- Cloud Standards Battle Heats Up – Cloud computing is rapidly becoming an established IT movement and no longer viewed as being simply hype or an alternative to traditional IT. It is not only replacing legacy IT environments, but also companies are building for the cloud from the get-go. While some public clouds are consumed in a proprietary manner (which causes quite a built of vendor lock-in if you build specifically for them), others are more open, allowing for easier migrations and deployments. A more flexible or adaptable (standards-based) cloud provider requires less specialization of the IT or Development teams working with that particular cloud provider. In fact, some Certification programs, generalized for Cloud Computing, are emerging as well. This indirectly pushes the marketplace toward standardization of offerings and services.
Prediction results: While the standardization process is still a bit cloudy, progress is definitely being made. Via certifications, developers and IT professionals can now tout their cloud experience and knowledge which allows companies and individuals to document their proficiency in not only what cloud is, but also how to use it and the best ways to use it.
Whew, there you have it – my analysis and synopsis of some predictions I made early in 2011 on the directions of Cloud Computing this year. Again, these are merely my predictions and analysis and may not reflect others within GoGrid.