2012 Prediction: Cloud Technology Partners
2011 was an eventful year for the cloud computing industry. Many enterprises moved past the “why” cloud computing questions and began planning “how” to implement cloud initiatives to reap the benefits of business agility and cost savings. Based on our experience with current customer engagements and their roadmaps for the next year, we believe the following five trends will take concrete shape in 2012.
The First Phase of Mainstream Cloud Adoption Will Begin
Enterprises will accelerate their initiatives to identify, rationalize, and consolidate both their infrastructure and application portfolios in preparation for their move to the cloud. Subsequently, they will identify applications that are best suited for cloud deployments and deploy them to appropriate cloud destinations. Some enterprises are already doing this today:
- Public clouds: Companies will move light-weight custom applications to public PaaS and IaaS to get their feet wet. They will also look for readily available SaaS applications for non-core applications to replace their legacy on-premise packaged applications.
- Private clouds: Core business applications that are strategic and use sensitive data will stay on-premise. Companies will begin initiatives to build private clouds to optimize their infrastructure and move these core applications to these private clouds.
Community Clouds Will Gain Traction in Some Industries
Community Clouds allow sharing of infrastructure, applications, and other services by several organizations of a specific industry vertical or specific community that have similar security, policy, or compliance requirements. With policy-based collaboration, these organizations can ensure high levels of trust and security while reaping the cost benefits of multi-tenancy and re-usable shared software. We will begin to see the emergence of larger community clouds across industry verticals. Specifically, global 2000 enterprises in industry verticals such as financial services, health care, and government can benefit the most by better use of their vast investments in datacenter footprints and shared concerns around regulatory compliance, security and privacy needs, and the need for transparent operations.
For adoption to really take off, however, the tools for building infrastructure and platforms for private and community cloud have to mature to a point where they are able to handle enterprise scale workloads and reliability/availability requirements. While the cloud infrastructure space is rapidly maturing with solutions from major players such as VMWare, Rackspace , Citrix, IBM, CA, EMC, etc, the Platform-as-a-Service space for private and community clouds is still relatively immature.
Customers Will Demand Open Cloud Standards
Enterprise customers are not ready to accept proprietary lock-in of the past several decades. They want choice and options that can best serve their business needs. As cloud computing enters main stream adoption, open standards will naturally emerge. However, discussions around cloud interoperability and standards are theoretical today and haven’t seen widespread adoption amongst cloud vendors. Cloud vendors will try and develop their own standards—as we have seen in the past—to differentiate and capture the market share.
Without doubt, customers will benefit if there is competition that encourages innovation and dynamism in the market, particularly at this early stage of cloud adoption, but proprietary standards are worse and history has proven that the half-life of such standards tends to be very short anyway.