Cloud Views for 2013

Gartner predicted in December 2011 that cloud computing would be getting real in 2012. They said cloud computing "is becoming a reality." But did that happen? In my view, not exactly.

By Marten Mickos, CEO, Eucalyptus Systems
Mon, February 11, 2013

Network World — This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

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Gartner predicted in December 2011 that cloud computing would be getting real in 2012. They said cloud computing "is becoming a reality." But did that happen? In my view, not exactly.

SaaS was a reality of 2012. But it was a reality before that. AWS was a reality of 2012. But it was a reality before that. OpenNebula, CloudStack and Eucalyptus were open source cloud realities in 2012, but they were realities way before that. EngineYard, Heroku and other PaaS vendors -- same thing. They were a reality already when 2012 started.

All of these saw impressive growth. But did any technologies of significance go from promise to reality? Not really. VMware turned its version numbering around -- vCloud Director (VCD) 1.5 became VCD 5.1. Oracle said at its OpenWorld event that it always was a cloud provider.

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But perhaps Gartner meant that cloud computing is becoming a reality to people and organizations to whom it wasn't a reality before.

Did that happen? Oh yes, that did happen.

Companies like Box, Dropbox and Workday are amazing innovators in the SaaS space, and they welcomed hordes of new users and customers in 2012. You could add Zendesk, Good Data, Zuora and others to the list. These pioneers of cloud took their "already-a-reality" services to new territories where cloud had previously not existed. I can imagine that many of their customers thought that cloud was now becoming a reality for them.

So if 2012 was a year of customers making cloud computing a reality (versus new technologies or vendors becoming reality), then the question remains, what might 2013 look like? Will 2013 for cloud computing be a year of promises, of reality, of failures, or of what?

It's difficult to predict change. It is easier to predict what will not change. And easiest of all is not to try to predict the future at all, but just work toward influencing it. But let's give predictions a try anyhow -- if for no other purpose than for the fun of it.

In 2013:

* Cloud computing will grow faster than Moore's law. In the next 18 months, we will see cloud capacity more than double, leading to new management, security, governance and big data challenges.

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