Predicting the Cloud in 2011

As 2010 comes to an end I thought, for a bit of fun I would predict what may happen with Cloud Computing in 2011. Throughout 2010 there is no doubt that Cloud Computing has gained significant momentum. It has received much publicity and is now included in mainstreamTV commercials, for example Microsofts ‘go to the Cloud’. My experience, gained through using the cloud, consulting assignments and teaching Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing Course is that two main areas have gained widespread acceptance in the computing world.

Firstly, Software as a Service (SaaS). This mode of delivery for applications is becoming the norm, its major benefits clear for all. SaaS has been the major breakthrough of all Cloud Services this year with the most visible offering being Google Apps and Microsofts Office live.

Secondly, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Gaining immediate self service access to complete computing infrastructures has become accepted this year and many organisations are making use of this. Clearly the leader is, and will continue to be Amazon with their Amazon Web Services. Other notable providers are Rackspace with their OpenStack based cloud.

So what about 2011? My prediction is that both SaaS and IaaS will continue to grow, but the major crown growth area will be Platform as a Service (PaaS). To date this area of Cloud Computing has not gained momentum. There are many reasons for this, from lack of maturity, to concerns over vendor lock-in. The solutions now offered, and the promise vendors have made for 2011, make be believe that 2011 will be the year that PaaS comes of age. My belief is built on the fact that Microsoft have now developed Azure to be a PaaS that is first class. Google are launching the App Engine for business and the recent acquisitions by Salesforce.com and agreements with VMware make this an area the major vendors are addressing, so making more and more attractive to potential adopters.

The other area I predict a lot of growth this year is the private cloud. As organisations realise that they can exploit their infrastructures more effectively, private cloud usage will grow rapidly. So in summary, my two major predictions are: 1. PaaS will grow rapidly, lead by Microsoft Azure, and 2. private cloud adoption will see rapid growth.

As to what i would like to see in 2011. Firstly, standards for governance and security and secondly, standards to prevent vendor lock-in. Addressing these two areas would be a major step towards making Cloud Computing usage simpler.

That just leaves me to wish you all the very best for 2011.

Chris

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