The Cloudy Horizon for 2013: 10 Predictions

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4. Cloud Will Support Big Data

Two of the major trends intersect. There will be an “increased focus on big data and solution-oriented delivery,” said Duke Skarda, CTO of Softlayer.

John Engates, CTO of Rackspace believes “this is the year when Big Data makes its way into enterprise conversations. Gartner predicts that Big Data will drive $232 billion in IT spending through 2016. Companies will begin looking for ways to leverage Big Data solutions to create business value and a competitive advantage.For example, more companies will implement Big Data solutions to help analyze website traffic and to gain a deeper understanding of their customer base by identifying key trends in online viewing and purchasing behaviors. As the interest in Big Data increases, so too will the realization that these solutions are complicated and difficult to deploy. As a result, there will be a big initial focus on looking for ways to take the time and complexity out of Big Data implementations.”

Cloud has made the economics of working with big data reasonable and accessible to a wider audience. It’s no longer just the biggest corporations that can hope to leverage big data to make their businesses more efficient. Because the capex costs that made big data cost prohibitive are gone, more businesses are now able to effectively leverage big data. Beyond the buzzword, now it’s a matter of finding the talent to help.

While Hadoop seems to be in the eye of the Big Data storm, GigaSpaces CTO Nati Shalom sees competition on the horizon, “fragmentation, the move to real time, and the rise of competitors in this space may be honing in on the elephant’s territory.” NoSQL vendors such as 10Gen (MongoDB) and Datastax (Cassandra) taking advantage of Hadoop’s numerous, and often incompatible versioning by leading enterprises, are suddenly presenting real viable alternatives to Hadoop distributions.

5. Community Clouds Target Industry Verticals

While the giants like Amazon Web Services (AWS) will focus on providing commodity cloud, more traditional service providers getting into cloud will target specific verticals or needs in order to differentiate. This has been dubbed “community cloud” by a variety of sources. “Organizations with common challenges such as the security and compliance constraints shared by healthcare organizations can better address those requirements by leveraging the high caliber resources and personnel that community clouds can provide,” said CA’s George Watt in his predictions.

One of the biggest needs is compliance and security requirements for a given vertical, meaning you’ll start to see a lot of specific vertical-targeted clouds like “healthcare cloud” or “legal cloud”. By grouping like-minded and similar needs, these community clouds will be able to leverage the economies of public with the specific needs of a private cloud.

6. 2013: The Year of Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

“Demand for DR as a service in the cloud has not waned,” says Nicos Vekiarides,  CEO of TwinStrata. “In fact, there has been more business and enterprise adoption of cloud DRaaS requiring no dedicated infrastructure — though buyers should beware of dedicated hosted DR parading as cloud DR.”

Rackspace’s Engates believes recent natural disasters will kick cloud DR into high gear. “The cloud will help these companies respond more quickly,” said Engates in his predictions. “The frictionless nature of moving workloads between clouds in the face of a disaster is huge, as it gives companies the flexibility they need to adapt. The cloud will be a key component of disaster recovery plans moving forward.”

7. SLAs Move to the Forefront

At DCK, we’ve covered numerous cloud outages over the years. The combination of high profile outages with more businesses moving to the cloud will bring service level agreements more and more to the forefront of the conversation.  CA’s Watt sees SLAs taking center stage, and large enterprises driving practices around SLAs.

“Larger enterprises – which have lots of experience creating and negotiating both sides of SLAs – will help drive discipline, completeness, and sanity to cloud SLAs; as will the large providers they have long trusted, as those providers increase their cloud service offerings,” said Watt.

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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  1. Be careful of #1. As colo providers develop cloud offerings, they compete with their best customers. As cloud providers build data centers, will they have the expertise to do it right? Data center providers should focus on designing, building, and operating world-class facilities. Cloud providers should focus on delivering seamless servers, storage, and network capacity. Better to do one thing well than lots of things poorly. In 2013 the lines between colo and cloud will not blur -- they will become more clear. The auto mechanic that fixes my car can probably redo my kitchen, but I'd rather hire a specialist for each!