Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 09:06
There is no longer any uncertainty that cloud computing will continue to grow; it is simply a question of how quickly we will see that growth and in what form. Already, 94% of businesses are using cloud technology in some way, supporting everything from basic internal IT processes to enterprise-grade application storage and management. However by the end of 2015, I predict that we will see the emergence of four trends:
1. Cloud will no longer be just one thing. Each type of cloud environment brings varied benefits to users. Private clouds offer better security, public clouds have a low price point and greater agility, and hybrid environments are incredibly flexible. However, these environments must still be managed individually, especially for organizations that rely on more than one cloud provider.
In 2015, I believe that cloud management solutions will evolve toward a ‘seamless pane of glass’ so that an organization can manage its public and private environments as one, regardless of the cloud vendors it buys from. So long as there are artificial boundaries between each of the private and public cloud environments used by a single vendor, such new tools will ease the process of managing multiple environments, and bring further benefits to organizations that use varied cloud resources.
2. “As a service” offerings will fade from the spotlight. Cloud services have spun out countless new acronyms for CIOs to learn. PaaS, SaaS and IaaS were just the beginning – now we have BDaaS, DRaaS and so on. While I don’t foresee these offerings completely disappearing as individual services, it’s likely that service providers will create vertical-specific packages that take the guesswork out of combining such solutions with other cloud and hosted services.
For instance, rather than buying SaaS from one provider, PaaS from another and IaaS from a third, a mobile app developer could simply purchase a “Mobile App Development” solution from a single provider, including all of the software, platform support and infrastructure needed to develop mobile apps quickly and cost effectively. The package could even include some additional services relevant to their work, or the infrastructure may already be tuned to support development.
3. Large enterprises tackle cloud on their own. Public cloud environments bring many great benefits – seemingly unlimited resources, low costs, and global availability. However, for large enterprises, the pricing structure of public cloud may work against them; at some point, paying by the hour or by the gigabyte becomes more expensive than simply buying the dedicated infrastructure itself. Some enterprises are now reaching that breaking point, and realizing that they may actually save money by building and managing their own cloud environments, either in a private facility or colocated in a third-party datacenter.
At the same time, organizations now have the skills and know-how to set up and manage their own internal cloud environments. So, they are not only getting smarter from a cost management perspective, but also from an infrastructure management perspective. More CIOs are asking how they can do cloud better, and that is resulting in better power efficiency, lower costs and more tailored environments.
4. Security vulnerabilities will continue to reveal themselves. If there is one thing we learned in 2014, it is that there is no such thing as a secure cloud environment. Hackers were able to pull photos and sensitive information from iCloud, and the Xen bug impacted nearly every major cloud provider. So, it is not a question of whether cloud breaches will continue in 2015, but when and for whom. As a result, there will be more emphasis on security at all levels, including DDoS protection and intrusion detection, and even physical datacenter security.
At the same time, there needs to be wider awareness about the cause of these breaches. Most of the time, the openness of public cloud is not the culprit. Rather, it is common processes and governance failures, such as poor key management, a lack of training, or perimeter-based thinking by the security department. CIOs will need to think beyond firewalls to establish more holistic cloud security in 2015.
Over time, we have seen cloud computing evolve from a rigid technology to one that is much more fluid and agile and can cater to the needs of any given user. I believe that trend will come to a head in 2015 as more and more workloads transition to the cloud, demanding customizable environments, tailored solutions, and more capable features.