Predictions are very popular at this moment in time, so let me take a minute to give you mine:
- For 18 months now, “Cloud Computing” is at the top of the inflated expectations in Gartner’s hype curve. Does this mean it’s a slow mover or is this just the normal state for cloud computing? I believe there are a number of elements in favour of the latter. First, the concept of “cloud computing” covers a number of quite different concepts. On the one hand, you have the evolution of the datacentre, which is often referred to as private cloud, on the other; you have the evolution of outsourcing, which leads you to one of the forms of public cloud. And then there is Software as a Service, the evolution of the ASP model. I believe that companies will start taking differentiated approaches and understand the added value of each of the delivery models, taking advantage of the combination.
- Many large companies are present on Amazon, Google and the others. And that’s probably true. But is it with the full understanding and consensus of the CIO, or is it to do “shadow IT”? As the security and compliance implications of such approach are increasingly understood, I believe that CIO’s will take a strong stand on the subject and act accordingly.
- Leading companies will take a hard look at their data and identify the strategic nature of their information, ensuring that essential data items are well protected behind the firewall, where non-essential data is allowed to migrate to the cloud. This in turn will define which workloads have to be kept in house and which can be moved to the public cloud.
- In an effort to focus on their core applications and differentiators, companies will increasingly look at using SaaS for non-core ones. If ISV’s do not adapt their licensing models and include comprehensive SaaS offerings to the mix, new “salesforce.com” type enterprises will appear. Two key target areas are ERP and Product Lifecycle Management.
- As cross-enterprise collaboration increases, the concept of “hybrid cloud” will become the base for exchange of information, communication & collaboration and execution of common tasks.
- As increased focus is put on Business Intelligence, public data repositories such as Microsoft Azure’s DataMarket will become a key data reservoir for enterprises. This will put Azure in a special category on its own.
- In their move to improve IT efficiency, companies will try migrating applications to private cloud, but will realize there is only so much that can be done with existing ones. Companies will focus on their differentiators and write/purchase new, cloud ready, applications in those areas. They will either move to SaaS or try gain maximum virtualization of existing non-differentiating applications.
- In a quest to reduce operational IT costs, freeing up more budget for transformation, early adopters will start industrializing their IT, using manufacturing and supply chain concept to streamline operations.
- From an IT management perspective, the focus will clearly shift to “Hybrid Management”, the integrated management of combined cloud/non-cloud environments as enterprises will have mixed IT environments for the forcible future.
- As new access devices become available (tablets, smart phones etc.), and as cloud based content evolves (video, audio etc.), cloud technology will evolve from a datacentre focus to an end-to-end focus, integrating the datacentre, the network and the device, to ensure an optimal user experience.
Cloud may not be the revolution many talked about, it’s probably more an evolution fuelled by enterprise needs for more agility at a lower cost. However, in 2011 this evolution will continue as companies finally embrace cloud beyond the “proof of concept” stage. They should think through what they want to achieve with cloud first, and that’s where we can help them.