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Cloud Computing Trends in 2011

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As the new year is about to begin, research analysts have been peering into their crystal balls the last several months to define the top trends in cloud computing.  Cloud Computing has moved from buzzword and hype to real technology in the last 3 years and all the major software vendors are scrambling to provide solutions.  As such in 2011, vendors and analysts are expecting significant adoption from companies large and small as cloud computing initiatives receive real commitment in the form of IT budget line-items worldwide.

State of the Union

Amazon AWS is the frontrunner in providing cloud infrastructure with the largest breadth of products and most mature offerings in IaaS.  Rackspace and GoGrid have lots of customers and experience as they mature their hosting solutions adding cloud computing features and capabilities.

In the PaaS/SaaS space, just this past year Microsoft released its cloud computing platform, Azure. matured, released and bought Heroku.  Google has Google Apps, BigTable, and Google App Engine.

On the Open Source front, has released its CloudStack 2.0 based on Amazon AWS Web Services API, Citrix Cloud Center, and VMware's vCloud.  NoSQL databases abound with Cassandra, Hadoop/HBase, CouchDB, MongoDB, Membase, memcachedb, Neo4J, FlockDB and the list could be much larger....

Trends in 2011

To provide context on the influence of Cloud Computing, Gartner included 5 cloud computing based initiatives as part of their Top 10 Strategic Technologies for IT CIOs and executives at its ITxpo in late October; Private Clouds, Storage Class Memory, Social Networking and Collaboration, Ubiquitous Computing, and Fabric-Based Infrastructure.  Just today Forbes released a 14 point list co-authored by Chirag Mehta and Ray Wang where they see cloud adoption moving from "when"  to "how" and cloud solutions delivering optimization savings which allow for future innovation investment.

Chirag Mehta and Ray Wang's predictions:

  1. New procurement will be replaced with cloud solutions
  2. Private clouds will serve as a stepping stone to public clouds
  3. Cloud customers will start asking hard questions about cloud security
  4. Private clouds provide security and backup to public cloud solutions
  5. A transition from best-of-breed applications to cloud mega-stacks will occur
  6. Leverage of application market places and the ecosystem, System Integrators and Software Vendors, for last mile
  7. Superior user experience and scale will no longer be mutually exclusive
  8. Custom application development will shift to the cloud
  9. Expect Development-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service to merge
  10. Bet on System Integrators with extensive libraries that move beyond data integration
  11. Delivery of consumer technology features into the enterprise, analytics first followed by mobile and social features
  12. Customers will demand better virtualization technology
  13. Simplification of the overall technology landscape due to the efficacy of cloud solutions
  14. Access of Archival data online will drive governance, regulation and compliance as a core cloud competency

Two weeks back Datapipe published three key trends they expect to see in 2011:

  • Household Names Will Make Big Cloud Decisions
  • Enterprise Grade SLAs
  • Industry Targeted Clouds
"What was once considered an unknown technology surrounded by lots of hype is now revolutionizing IT," said Ed Laczynski, Datapipe's vice-president for cloud strategy and architecture. "The reality is, we've only scratched the surface of what is possible in the cloud and during 2011 we will see significant advancements that will drive stronger adoption and value from the entire cloud computing ecosystem."

Earlier in October, Josh Bell of Parallels wrote on three trends he sees, followed with one dark horse prognostication:

  • Look for greater depth and breadth of providers entering the cloud arena, especially Communication Service Providers and the IT channel
  • Cloud comes into focus for Small Business
  • Syndication for Cloud Services
  • All-you-can-eat Cloud Services

James Staten of Forrester provided his round-up in mid-November:

  1. And the Empowered shall lead us - based on the concepts in the new Forrester book Empowered
  2. You will build a private cloud, and it will fail
  3. Hosted private clouds will out-number internal clouds 3:1
  4. Community Clouds will arrive, thanks to compliance
  5. Workstation applications will bring HPC to the masses
  6. Cloud economics gets switched on.  Being cheap is good
  7. The BI gap will widen - due to delivery of real-time intelligence
  8. Information is power and a new profit center
  9. Cloud standards still wont be here - get over it
  10. Cloud security will be proven, but not by providers alone - shared compliance of HIPAA, PCI and ISO 27001/2


The next year holds much promise as Cloud Computing moves from buzzword to real technology.  Most expect adoption to take place across the business world, from Small Business to large Enterprises and household names.  Expect investment to occur first through private cloud investments as CIOs and IT departments dabble in the near term and then longer term movement will be to the Public Cloud.

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