It’s that time of year again, when the entire technology community is abuzz with predictions for the coming year. What will change dramatically in enterprise computing? What will be the hot-button items? I feel compelled to add my hat to the ring, and make the assertion that 2013 is going to be the year of the Cloud. Here are a few ways I see the Cloud impacting enterprise computing.
Cloud Adoption Moves toward Critical Mass: While this year has been replete with stories of enterprises dabbling in cloud adoption, in most verticals activity has been at the fringes, rather than central to operations. I think 2013 marks the year this is going to start to shift. We are seeing a number of enterprise software applications that are only available as a SaaS model. There are budgetary considerations facing all IT departments, and cloud offers a very compelling case for adoption. And reliability is increasing to win over skeptics (see next point).
Cloud Becomes Trustworthy: Given the outages and security issues that have plagued early cloud services, it is not surprising that there is a fair amount of skepticism in enterprise circles of whether it is time to commit to cloud. I think we are turning a corner and 2013 is going to mark cloud’s ability to play with the grown-ups (i.e. enterprise computing requirements). Amazon, Google, IBM, HP, and Microsoft have all worked to instill failover capabilities and added levels of security to deliver a solid platform for enterprise computing.
Hybrid Cloud is Flavor of Choice: As we discussed earlier in 2012 (see The Hybrid Cloud Is Unavoidable for Enterprises), the hybrid cloud will continue to be the flavor most often chosen by enterprise as they move to cloud. There is no denying that there are some applications and services more optimized for private clouds, and therefore enterprises will make strategic decisions around performance, security, and access, and infuse a mix of public and private cloud into their IT architecture.
Big Data is Significant in 2013 and Cloud will Power It: There is no doubt that Big Data and Cloud could potentially be a match made in heaven. The cloud provides a flexibility in resource allocation that melds well with the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of commodity servers. With eighty percent of the world’s data being unstructured, and the cloud providing a way for enterprise to more easily afford the infrastructure to handle the volumes of data that exist, it makes sense for the Cloud to be the stage on which Big Data will have its biggest performance yet.
Cloud Sparks Transformation of the Chosen Device: There have been rumblings that the desktop as we know it is going to fade away into the sunset in the very near future. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, it is not hard to imagine a future workspace that doesn’t include terminals of the past. The cloud will be a major contributor to this shift, and expect 2013 to continue the march of the tablet and cell phone into far reaches of the organization. The flexibility these devices enable will continue to power a more responsive, flexible, and adaptable working environment that will boost productivity throughout the enterprise and beyond its four walls.
As you can see, I am extremely optimistic that the cloud will have a significant impact on the enterprise in 2013. I acknowledge it will not be without bumps and hiccups along the way. But, the cloud is not going away, and IT leaders need to make important strategic decisions about the cloud’s role in their enterprise architecture. I look forward to commenting on the cloud as the coming year unfolds.
By David A. Kelly, Upside Research