Alan Priestley is a multi-year Intel veteran, and currently hold the role of Strategic Marketing Director within Europe, Middle East and Africa.
It’s that time of year when analysts, technology bloggers and journalists all look to the next 12 months, and report their predictions. As part of my work for Intel Cloud Builders, I’m frequently talking to businesses, telcos and service providers and what’s going to happen next in cloud. (Cloud Builders is a cross-industry initiative aimed at making it easier to build, enhance, and operate cloud infrastructure.) So I thought I would join in the fun by sharing my forecast for the cloud.
Here are the key developments I expect we’ll see:
- Cloud wins confidence: With an unforgiving economy, it’s hard to imagine IT budgets will increase, or that the demands on IT will fall. That’s not new for 2013, but over the coming year IT managers will be increasingly willing to evaluate and deploy cloud computing to satisfy their business stakeholders. Cloud is proven as a cost-effective and reliable solution now, so it will become the natural choice for many companies as its perceived risk falls.
- Security questions remain: We won’t resolve all the questions surrounding security and access control in the cloud in 2013. Data management will continue to be a key issue, and will limit what types of applications companies will be willing to place into the public cloud. The business benefits of the cloud are compelling enough though, that companies will see the data management challenges as obstacles to work around, rather than barriers to adoption.
- Hybrid moves in: Hybrid cloud infrastructure will become more popular with large enterprises, as their IT teams become more expert at understanding which applications and data can use the external cloud providers – both private & pubic. In the past, enterprises have overwhelmingly preferred internal private cloud over public cloud infrastructure. I don’t think we’ll see a u-turn, but we will see enterprises adopt hybrid architectures where possible, so they can take advantage of the lower costs and ease of adoption of external cloud services. As these hybrid deployments take off, orchestration and automation tools will become increasingly important.
- SaaS opens doors: Small and medium sized businesses will increasingly adopt the cloud, with software as a service (SaaS) providing a much easier entry point than infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS).
- Enter the brokers: To satisfy the increased interest in the cloud from smaller companies, more cloud brokers will emerge. They could become influential gatekeepers in the cloud computing business, but larger companies will continue to work with established cloud providers so they can negotiate the SLA directly.
- Government reaps rewards: The EC/EU cloud strategy will edge slowly forwards, with the industry helping to define and shape it. National governments will continue to adopt cloud infrastructures for their departments. The UK has established the G-Cloud Programme, which provides an easier way for public sector bodies to procure cloud services, and for cloud providers to sell them into the public sector. This example might well inspire other EU governments to set up something similar, with the encouragement of EC vice president Neeli Krooes and the EU’s Digital Agenda strategy.
- Supercomputing takes off: High performance computing (HPC) has been associated with data-intense applications like weather forecasting, but cloud-based supercomputing will become increasingly important to the commercial sector. This is especially true of federated HPC in the cloud, because it will provide access to the raw processing power without the huge capital expenditure usually associated with HPC hardware.
- Hosting bins the tin: Successful hosting companies will switch their strategy from renting tin to offering cloud services. We will also see systems integrators and OEMs increasingly market private cloud capabilities delivered from their data centres.
- Bandwidth burden increases: As more and more applications enter the cloud, network providers will struggle to provide the mobile bandwidth required for consumer and business use of cloud applications. Network providers will need to invest in their infrastructures, but greater cloud adoption could increase the revenue they receive from mobile data subscriptions.
- Big data dominates: More businesses will look at how they can extract business value from the data they have, but the limiting factor will be expertise. Data scientists, Java programmers and Hadoop specialists will find their skills in demand as business focuses more on extracting value for the multitude of different data sources they have access to. OEMs will offer an integrated solution, but many companies will prefer to save money by using their own do-it-yourself configurations. Although service providers will offer cloud-based big data solutions, the challenge will be getting huge volumes of data into the cloud in the first place. The biggest growth area in big data will be machine-to-machine communications.
So those are my predictions. What do you expect to see in the year ahead?
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