2011 Prediction: BlueLock

Pat O'Day (Profile)
Monday, January 10th 2011

2011 will be a tough but good year for cloud computing. It is the year that the mainstream enterprise will start to give cloud a serious look and accelerate into full-on tire kicking mode. As technologies tend to morph to suit the work for which they are being used, the enterprise will suffer from some disillusionment as they attempt to solve mainstream problems with clouds that were designed for much hyped (but real) Hollywood-style use cases. The cloud will start to morph again as cloud bursting for flash workloads and using thousands of virtual machines to crunch through large computational workloads start to level-off and make way for the silent majority of mainstream use cases that are slowly starting to emerge.

Open Cloud Standards Emerge

With the rapid adoption of virtualization and cloud computing, the need for developing open management standards for cloud computing has emerged. Standards groups like the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), whose board includes representatives from companies such as VMware, IBM, Microsoft, Citrix and HP, have formed to develop specifications for cloud service portability and management consistency across cloud and enterprise platforms.

As Open Virtualization Format (OVF) becomes the standard, giving customers choice and improved interoperability, service providers can differentiate on functionality and performance of their services. For example, VMware has already submitted key elements of the vCloud API to an existing standards organization to assist in the development of an industry standard. The combination of standard packaging and deployment format coupled with a standard, open API will be critical to enable cloud market growth.

Traditional Apps Begin to ‘Speak’ Cloud

As enterprises move towards private, public, and hybrid clouds, independent software vendors (ISVs) will find a fast growing market for cloud-ready applications. This emerging market will prompt ISVs to turn to cloud computing providers to deliver their solutions via cloud APIs, ultimately giving ISV’s cloud capability. As customers move beyond experimentation with public clouds, ISV and cloud API integration work will deliver a solid foundation to automate and manage workloads between private and public cloud architectures, leading to new value from software and virtualization investments, helping lower costs and provide a compelling ROI.

Enterprise Gets the Cloud

If you reference the Gartner Hype Cycle, cloud computing tipped over the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” in 2010 and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users. The “hype” around cloud, until this point, was due to the initial special use cases for cloud (e-commerce, research computations, etc.). Cloud is now entering the “trough of disillusion” and is well on its way to becoming mainstream. While some enterprises may already be in the cloud with rogue IT projects, as a whole, 2010’s cloud just wasn’t ready for the enterprise and traditional applications. In 2011, this will change.

In 2011, the cloud will become enterprise-ready. Expect to see persistent storage, open standards operability, service beyond forum support, SLAs, improved response times, enhanced security, privacy controls, etc.

Emergence of the Virtual Data Center (VDC)

As the enterprise starts to consider placing more mainstream application use cases into the cloud, the level of control and flexibility provided by the cloud vendor community will improve. The cloud will no longer be only about virtual machines, but expand to virtual applications and virtual data centers, which behave a lot like physical data centers in that they are ultimately a large pool of compute, memory and storage resources. Additional, they are also very flexible in what they can be configured to do.