2012 Cloud Computing Predictions from GoGrid Executives, Customers & Partners (Part 1)

January 17th, 2012 by - 5,453 views

As is customary with the passing of an old year and the exciting entrance into a new one, people try to make their best predictions as to what the future holds within their area of expertise. For GoGrid, this is obviously around Cloud Computing. This year, instead of making my own prediction list (as I have done in the past), I thought it would be important to get some other expert voices from the GoGrid and cloud community to do this task.


The important thing to always remember here, especially when dealing with the cloud, is that it changes quickly. It’s similar to buying the latest technology, the moment you buy it (or make the prediction, in this case), it’s instantly outdated. But still, the process is fun if not, educational.

Below is a compilation of 2012 cloud computing predictions from a variety of subject matter experts and thought-leaders in the field of cloud infrastructure, security and services. The contributors are:

  • Warren Heffelfinger (CEO – GoGrid)
  • James Urquhart (Cloud Writer – GigaOm/VP of Product Strategies – enStratus/GoGrid Partner)
  • Larry Warnock (CEO – Gazzang/GoGrid Partner)
  • John Keagy (Chairman & Founder – GoGrid)
  • Carson Sweet (CEO – CloudPassage/GoGrid Partner)
  • Antonio Piraino (CTO – ScienceLogic/GoGrid Customer)

Because of the wealth of knowledge coming from this group, I have actually broken this article out into a series of 2 posts. Without further ado, onto the first set of predictions!

Warren Heffelfinger (CEO – GoGrid)


  1. At Amazon, the tail becomes the dog and the dog loses the tail. In 2012, I expect to see greater visibility on the success Amazon is seeing with AWS, to the point where they will report actual results in preparation for a spinoff in late 2012 / early 2013. Let’s face it . . . selling books online is not much different from selling TVs or flowers online, but selling raw compute and storage is radically different and deserves its own publicly-traded vehicle.
  2. Telco’s continue to acquire cloud service providers . . . and competitors cheer! Having made a career out of competing with Ma Bell, this is a no brainer. Anyone with an entrepreneurial bone in their body will absolutely implode within one week of operations at a major global telco. Their primary skill set is stifling innovation. Unfortunately in 2012, we will start to see some formerly great companies fade into the sunset after being acquired and dismantled.
  3. Big-Brand hardware in Big-Time trouble. Remember the last Internet boom? There were 25 year old kids making $1m selling commodity servers, routers, and PCs. Silicon Valley was littered with these sales reps. Last Fall, I was speaking with a friend in the industry who is located in The SV. Guess what . . . those sales jobs no longer exist. Why? Because getting a server shipped to you in 2 days with a “<insert big brand name here>” label no longer cuts it when you can spin up the same thing in 3 minutes with any number of cloud infrastructure providers. If you are still buying gear from “<insert big brand names here> et al you are probably also dancing the Macarena.
  4. “Cloud” loses its sex appeal. Remember when “The Web” was a cool term? Ok, I’m dating myself but you get the point. We expect cloud services (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS) to grow exponentially for the next 5-7 years, but let’s face it, the term “Cloud” is getting old. By the end of 2012, the rest of the IT world will find the term passé (just as industry insiders do right now). Cloud will just be “the obvious way we consume software and hardware”.
  5. Big Data gets BIGGER. From our vantage point, Big Data is gaining a lot of momentum. Adoption trends within our own customer base are clearly accelerating, creating a unique circumstance where reality actually outpaces hype. We love this area because the combination of Big Data running on GoGrid’s complex infrastructure is a powerful solution for our customers.

James Urquhart (GigaOm Contributing Author/VP of Product Strategy – enStratus/GoGrid Partner)


  1. The complexity of operating application systems in the cloud will become increasingly apparent. The cloud is changing something fundamental about application architectures; they are becoming increasingly small-grained and componentized, in part due to the distributed nature of cloud computing, but mostly because of the business opportunities and work savings such an approach affords. However, as organizations deploy more and more such applications, the volume and interconnected nature of these applications will make the problem of managing them in large numbers increasingly apparent.
  2. New hardware architectures will be tried. Many will fail. We are already seeing this trend, but as the needs of new IT services systems (for the most part, cloud services) are discovered, new server, storage and networking products will appear to address them. Unfortunately, most will fail to recognize the scale, consistency and dynamics of so-called “resource pooling”, and will fail to find significant market share. On the other hand, the few that survive will be a big, big deal.
  3. Big data and consumer-scale web applications will continue to dominate the cloud–but change is in the air. While there will be increasing signs of enterprises addressing new classes of applications in the cloud, most of them will be applications that are already successful running in cloud services, namely big data and web applications. However, a small number of new approaches–centered on PaaS and “PaaS on SaaS” (e.g. development technologies–will make “departmental applications” cost effective in the cloud. In fact, sometime in 2013, the new agility found in the cloud might actually lead to an explosion of “departmental apps”, which create a new operational headache for the IT department.
  4. The legal needs of cloud computing are increasingly debated. SOPA, DCMA, EU privacy policy, and so on are only warning shots across our bows with respect to the challenges cloud computing will have on our legal system. There is good news and bad news here. The good news is that most developed countries will see increasing structure placed around how cloud can and can’t be used. The bad news is that many special interests (including those with political power, in some cases) will find ways to bend this law to their own benefit. This is expected, as the real challenge to the legal status of cloud computing won’t be expected for a couple of years or more.
  5. Agile companies will increasingly move to the cloud, staid companies will not. This may seem obvious, but there is more at work here than just conservative company cultures. One of the primary benefits of cloud computing is that it makes trying new software a much smaller risk than it was in more traditional client-server models. If a new application fails to find value, you just shut it down and stop incurring expense for the thing. There is no capital outlay to account for after the fact. Companies that have new software to try will flock to the cloud. Those that don’t change their software often will avoid it—for now.

Larry Warnock (CEO – Gazzang/GoGrid Partner)


  1. Storage Capacity concerns will increase driving greater demand for compression technologies. Recent natural disasters in Asia have created a shortage of disk drive production that is now causing a ripple effect in cloud storage costs. Compression technologies will come to the rescue for many organizations.
  2. OpenSource will continue to gain momentum and OpenStack will receive increased support and become a compelling option for organizations of all sizes. We’ll see high profile use cases turn to open source databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and particularly NoSQL (MongoDB, Cassandra, Hadoop and others) due to their reduced cost, increased flexibility and extreme scalability. And being Linux based, they will continue to pull market share from UNIX and Windows Server based products, especially as enterprises move apps to the cloud or SaaS delivery model.
  3. Encryption will no longer be optional, it will become a must have. This applies to all data including email addresses and student records, not just credit card information or HIPAA. The cloud will be a significant driver for encryption, especially for multi-tenant applications in the cloud, and within SaaS and PaaS.
  4. Telcos will lead the way in moving enterprises to the cloud. They understand how to deliver “carrier-grade” services and are ready to take the next step.
  5. Mobile device security will reach a new peak. While the cost of devices is decreasing, the cost of losing one is increasing. With every new app that is created, it opens new doors for hackers to break through – and they will.
  6. Security breaches are going to happen at a faster pace than we saw in 2011 and that’s saying a lot when you consider RSA, Lockheed Martin, Epsilon, the Fox broadcast network, PBS and Citibank to name just a few – it’s only going to get worse. Enterprises need to assess their security controls and prepare accordingly before it is too late.

You can now view Part 2 of the 2012 Cloud Computing Predictions where John Keagy (Founder & Chairman of GoGrid), Carson Sweet (CEO of Cloud Passage) and Antonio Piraino (CTO of ScienceLogic) weigh in with their predictions.

What are your predictions for Cloud Computing in 2012? Any thoughts on the ones from our cloud experts above? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

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