10 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2014

Cloud computing is increasingly becoming the rule and not the exception for application deployment. This will make 2014 an interesting and disruptive year for vendors, service providers and IT organizations grappling with this change.

By Bernard Golden
Tue, December 17, 2013

CIO — It's the time of year when darkness comes early and people begin to sum up how this year has gone and next year will unfold. It's also the time of year that predictions about developments in the technology industry over the next 12 months are in fashion. I've published cloud computing predictions over the past several years, and they are always among the most popular pieces I write.

Looking back on my predictions, I'm struck not so much by any specific prediction or even the general accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the predictions as a whole. What really comes into focus is how the very topic of cloud computing has been transformed.

Four or five years ago, cloud computing was very much a controversial and unproven concept. I became a strong advocate of it after writing Virtualization for Dummies and being exposed to Amazon Web Services in its early days. I concluded that the benefits of cloud computing would result in it becoming the default IT platform in the near future.

Cloud Computing Future

I'm pleased to say that my expectation has indeed come to pass. It's obvious that cloud computing is becoming the rule, with noncloud application deployments very much the exception. Skeptics continue to posit shortcomings regarding cloud computing, but the scope of their argument continues to shrink.

Today, the arguments against cloud computing are limited. "Some applications require architectures that aren't well-suited for cloud environments," critics say, suggesting that cloud environments aren't universally perfect for every application. This shouldn't really be a surprise.

Other critics cite some mix of security and compliance, although the sound level of this issue is far lower in the past. In his 2014 predictions, Forrester's James Staten says, "If you're resisting the cloud because of security concerns, you're running out of excuses" and notes that cloud security has pretty much proven itself.

I've always taken a different perspective: The alarm raised about cloud security was just air cover for IT personnel who didn't want to change their established practices. Furthermore, the concern about security would disappear not because cloud providers suddenly "proved" they were secure enough but because recalcitrant IT personnel read the writing on the wall and realized they had to embrace cloud computing or face the prospect of a far larger change — unemployment.

With the triumph of cloud computing underway, what will 2014 hold for developments in the field? This is going to be an especially exciting year for cloud computing. The reason is simple: In 2014, the realization that the cloud can spawn entirely new types of applications will come into general awareness. Expect to see many articles next year proclaiming the wondrousness of one cloud application or another and how cloud computing made such an application possible when it never could have existed before. Count on it.

With that in mind, here's my set of 2014 cloud computing predictions. As in the past, I present the list broken into two sections: Five end-user predictions and five vendor/cloud provider prognostications. I do this because too many predictions focus on the vendor side of things. From my perspective, the effect of cloud computing on users is just as important and worthy of attention.

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