Cloud computing has evolved over recent years to become the single most important part of IT. Now that cloud-based services and software are ubiquitous, 2012 promises to begin an era where the cloud consolidates. Rather than having different clouds for different purposes, single blocks of the cloud will fill every role a company needs. Meanwhile, the cloud will be used, managed, and bought and sold differently this year in ways that will make it easier to manage. Here are just a few specific cloud computing trends that will change the world this year.
1. Cloud service management becomes a requirement for most companies.
Businesses find that the cloud helps their mission in different ways. Software, platforms and infrastructure all come as services now, creating new challenges for management. Private clouds and traditional IT resources and networks complete what has become a hodge-podge of services that all contribute in some way to a company’s mission. Companies are learning that specialized oversight can help make the most out of all the services they use. A cloud services manager can help eliminate redundancy and streamline service plans to keep the hybrid business environment working efficiently.
2. Convergence of infrastructure, data and code.
During 2012, the lines between various cloud services will start to converge because most IT activities are designed to reduce the cost of transferring data. In fact, some analysts say that moving data is the main cost of computing. By transferring data, machines and code together, companies can streamline their costs. Also, companies can simplify their cloud operations by using the same databases on the public and private clouds and by enforcing security at the table level. Suddenly, single databases can rule where multiple databases were once required.
3. Cloud security
New security procedures will define when and where different parts of the business can access different parts of the cloud. These procedures will help segregate public and private data while openly acknowledging and accepting increased government involvement in the ways businesses collect and store data.
4. Universal acceptance of the cloud.
Right now, companies distinguish between data and processes that can or cannot be stored and performed in the cloud. The coming year will see businesses decide that almost everything they do can be done in the cloud and that the cloud is the ideal place for almost everything. As security practices improve and as IT continues to converge into its basic form (data), expect everything from business records to medical records to find their place in the cloud.
5. Cloud brokerages.
Cloud resources as commodities will emerge during the year, changing the way the cloud is bought and sold. Bulk buyers will carve out their piece of the pie and then sell pieces of it to bidders. When cloud resources are scarce, prices will bid up, but when surplus storage exists, holdings become less valuable. This seems complicated, but the need to standardize transactions and manage multiple contracts and the liquidity of cloud resources mean that resources will be bought and sold. Cloud-based workloads will become transportable between clouds, so they will easily fit into different environments as they are bought and sold.