The analyst firm Gartner has predicted that Cloud Computing will be the top most technology area IT should concentrate in the year 2010 (Story via Stephen Shankland of CNET). Last year, Cloud Computing stood at # 3 spot behind Virtualization and BI. Even though it is a good news for cloud computing vendors, I am not very surprised.
While making the predictions for the year 2009, I made the following observation
In short, this year is going to be the beginning of a big time adaption
of Cloud Computing by the enterprises. On the consumer side, users are
going to trust Cloud vendors more than ever and start putting their
data on the Clouds without worrying much about the security and privacy
But, this year has turned out to be much more interesting than I envisaged in the beginning of 2009. Enterprises were still shunning Cloud Computing then citing security and privacy concerns. Big players were not serious about shifting gears towards Cloud Computing. And, the FUD about Cloud Computing was at full throttle. But three developments during the past ten months has catapulted Cloud Computing from a buzzword to the top strategic technological trend that is going to drive IT for the years to come. In fact, I am not surprised by Gartner’s prediction because of these developments.
- Proliferation of Private Clouds: This year saw tremendous growth in the private clouds market with enterprises embracing it wholeheartedly. The realistic understanding that the public clouds are yet to mature to fit into a secure enterprise IT environment coupled with the realization that the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud based technologies made the private clouds very palatable to the enterprise customers. The high interest in the marketplace for cloud based technologies prompted VMWare to jump into the cloud game making it easier for the enterprise IT decision makers. Open Source technologies like Eucalyptus and the integration of these technologies into Ubuntu operating system played crucial role in making the idea of private clouds very attractive to enterprise customers.
- Big Players Jumping Into Public Cloud Market: After fending off the idea of Cloud Computing for a while, big enterprise players like IBM, EMC, etc were forced to jump into Private Cloud market. But the continued success of Amazon in the public cloud segment and their attempt to lure enterprise customers with offerings like Amazon Elastic Mapreduce and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud added tremendous pressure on these players. Last year’s PDC saw Microsoft’s announcement about their public cloud, Azure. This year, giants like IBM and EMC are showing considerable interest in the public clouds. IBM is already running a public beta test of their public cloud offering and EMC is planning to announce something concrete real soon. The VMWare’s cloud push with their vCloud technology saw the release of vCloud based public clouds from players like Terremark, Hosting.com, etc..
- US Government’s Cloud Push: More than any other development, the cloud computing push by the US Government under the current administration (my post on the topic immediately after the election of Barack Obama as the President) helped Cloud Computing leap frog into a reliable technology supporting even intelligence and defense departments. It is not just the infrastructure part that saw traction on the government side, with the release of Apps.Gov, the government is pushing even cloud based apps for consumption in various departments. One of the biggest FUD tactics against Cloud Computing was the lack of a proper definition for Cloud Computing. While the companies with interests in Cloud marketplace were busy fighting on the right definition that will suit their business, government standards agency, NIST, came up with an excellent definition of Cloud Computing (Version 15 available now). They also recommended guidelines for effectively and securely using Cloud Computing. In fact, the requirements put forward by the government was so demanding that I even wondered if it will alter the Cloud SLA game.
Compared to the beginning of 2009, the cloud computing landscape now is very different with a huge potential to change the face of IT forever. The above three trends along with many other technological developments coming from various cloud computing players are the primary reasons for this shift. Under such an optimistic scenario, I am really not surprised by the Gartner prediction. Rather, I expected it to come from them.