2010 Cloud Computing Predictions: The Year of Realism

2010 Cloud Computing Predictions: The Year of Realism

The buzz around cloud computing reached fever pitch this year, culminating in Gartner placing cloud computing at the peak of its hype cycle in July. We saw controversy around the Open Cloud Manifesto, the federal government getting into cloud computing with apps.gov, and almost every IT vendor trying to put a cloud spin on their marketing message (whether their offerings are cloud-like or not!).

However, hype aside, there is a widespread recognition that the operational and economic model of cloud computing will transform IT over the next few years. As we close 2009, which represented a year of uncertainty, reduced budgets and cautious recovery for most in the IT industry, I believe we are at the tipping point for widespread adoption of cloud services in 2010. With that background, here are Skytap’s five cloud computing predictions for the upcoming year:

1. Hype Replaced by Pragmatic Adoption

Many enterprises see the potential of the cloud computing model, but have been trying to understand the proven use cases before taking the plunge. Fortunately, we’ve seen many early adopters lead the way this year and there is an emerging consensus around the top scenarios which take advantage of the scalable, multi-tenant and on-demand nature of cloud computing. These scenarios include: (1) Development and Test, (2) IT Protoyping and Proof-of-Concepts (POCs), (3) Scalable Web Hosting, (4) Email, (5) Collaboration, (6) Grid Computing/Scientific Calculations and (7) Virtual Training. In 2010 we’ll see these scenarios become well-defined blueprints for enterprise adoption of cloud services.

2. Moving Beyond ‘VMs On Demand’ to Cloud Solutions

We now see a slew of companies that are offering ‘Virtual Machines on Demand’ for a few cents an hour. However, this still requires organizations to do much of the work to make these ‘Infrastructure-as-a-Service’ offerings available to their employees. Over the next year, we’ll see vendors who offer cloud services as complete solutions win over basic infrastructure offerings. For instance, solutions that help integrate internal and external clouds, provide enterprise single sign-on and security, offer billing and chargeback mechanisms, enable business processes and workflow, and automate complex tasks will prove more valuable to enterprise customers than hosted virtual machines.

3. Emergence of Best Practices

If 2009 was the year of defining key cloud computing scenarios, 2010 will be the year of best practices. As more and more IT practitioners gain experience with cloud services, this knowledge will disseminate in the industry and best practices around security, networking, ‘hybrid clouds’, application architecture and IT policies will become widespread. This will also include best practices around negotiating service level agreements (SLAs) (both internal and external) and contracts.

4. Cloud Consolidation and Brokerage

As more and more enterprises adopt cloud solutions, we’ll see vendors differentiate on support and services, enterprise integration and pricing models, performance and SLAs. In tandem with vendors differentiating their offerings, we’ll start to see some consolidation in the industry as major vendors look to build out a portfolio of offerings that can be leveraged through their existing channels and sales organizations. Finally, it’s likely that some early cloud service brokers will gain traction to shield enterprises from negotiating with multiple vendors around SLAs, security credentials and pricing.

5. The Rise of Cloud Consulting

Given the high interest in cloud computing and organizations looking for impartial advice in the face of a confusing vendor landscape, we’ll see consulting practices built around the design and implementation of the major cloud scenarios. Initially, this will be driven by boutique consulting shops, but by the end of 2010 we’ll see many of the major consulting players offer consulting practices and advice for adopting a cloud-based approach to IT.

As we move into “The Year of Realism,” keep your eyes on these trends as they will no doubt shape the next phase of cloud computing.

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