11 Cloud Computing Predictions For 2011

The Year The Cloud Computing Hype Breaks

If 2010 was the year of the cloud, then the cloud computing market will be a brand new beast come 2011. By many accounts, 2011 will be the year that the hype surrounding cloud computing will become a reality and partners and end users will start realizing the actual value of the cloud versus determining what it is and where it fits in their organizations, as in 2010.

Here at CRN we asked 11 executives from companies that have their fingers on the pulse of the cloud computing market to identify one trend that will define the market in 2010. These cloud computing solution providers, service providers and vendors gazed into their crystal balls and gave us their best guess of where we'll see cloud computing go into 2011.

Here is what they said.

Service Providers Rule The Roost

"We will see more and more resellers transforming their businesses to become MSPs, delivering unique value-added offerings for managing cloud services for their customers. These MSPs have a huge opportunity to differentiate their services around security, governance and management of companies' data in new cloud environments -- and we expect these will be the main areas of technology development and innovation for MSPs, as well.

At the same time, we will see more enterprises transforming their IT departments to become service providers to the business. They will solve business needs and challenges with a mixture of private clouds (both internal and virtual private data centers) and public cloud environments. In addition, MSPs become the model for cloud progress, as enterprise IT pros look to them for insights and lessons learned."

-- Adam Famularo, General Manager, Cloud Computing, CA Technologies

Cloud Computing Opens Up

"Open, Open, Open is one philosophy whose importance cannot go unnoticed these days. Open systems, portability and choice drive innovation. To avoid that dreaded vendor lock-in the need for an open cloud is a must and one that provider and user are helping to drive in unison. In 2011, we think open source cloud will continue to grow in popularity."

-- John Engates, CTO, Rackspace

The Cloud Gets Vertical, Diverse

"As the opportunity for cloud computing becomes more apparent for businesses and industries, 2011 will be a year marked by an increasing number and diversity of clouds. A combination of forces -- from regulatory compliance in various industries to the innovative spirit behind developing better business models -- will usher in different clouds serving different needs. Healthcare clouds that are HIPAA-compliant. Clouds tailored for financial services. Clouds for various public sector organizations. Clouds for education. This diversity will pick up in the coming year, and much of this trend will be predicated on networking's evolution in making clouds possible regardless of their industry or purpose."

-- Lew Tucker, CTO, Cloud Computing, Cisco

Cloud Stacks Get Real

"2011 will be the year enterprise cloud architecture (ECA) is established as a basic premise of all clouds, allowing all organizations to extract the maximum value of the cloud.

As cloud computing matures, more organizations will understand that cloud computing goes beyond virtualized hardware and demand enterprise-level capabilities from their cloud computing solution. In 2011, I expect to see a greater demand for fully integrated cloud stacks to support mission critical applications. Clouds built on the principles of ECA provide an integrated stack of infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service functionality via a single solution. ECA best practices create environments that automatically recover from app or environment failures, scale (up or down) and reduce system admin costs through automation. Apps that run on ECA-based cloud environments are more enterprise-ready, without the need to rewrite code, as the cloud delivers those capabilities.

-- Guy Naor, CTO & Co-Founder, Morphlabs

There'll Be An App For That ... In The Enterprise

"Just as consumer demands forced Apple to give birth to the iTunes Store, many companies desire a consumer electronics-style experience for their business needs. Enter cloud-based application stores, where an enterprise can purchase, download and deploy business applications in their cloud environment.

The parallels between music and cloud computing are eerily similar when it comes to format (mp3 vs. OVF), enabler (mp3 player vs. virtualization), and the delivery system (network vs. cloud). Google has already launched Google Apps Marketplace, an online store selling enterprises business apps that integrate with and extend Google Apps, and the U.S. government has already launched their Apps.gov, a GSA-operated Web site that government agencies can use to buy and deploy cloud computing apps. While it might not be in full operation in 2011, we'll see the emergence of cloud stores."

-- Pat O'Day, CTO & Co-Founder, BlueLock

Cloud And Mobility Marry

"2010 was a watershed year for cloud computing. 2011 will be the year cloud and mobile really join forces. The cloud is global, scalable and built around open standards, making it a perfect fit for a mobile platform. In 2011, the cloud will enable enterprises to truly adopt a mobile strategy and provide the ability to run applications smoothly and securely while delivering critical business functionality. With more and more companies empowering their sales force with smart phones and devices like the iPad and Android tablets, implementing a mobile cloud platform will become imperative to remain competitive in this ever evolving market."

-- John Barnes, CTO, Model Metrics

Household Names Will Bet Big On The Cloud

"While enterprise adoption of cloud computing progressed in 2010, 2011 will be the year when industry giants from across the spectrum -- including major financial institutions, pharmaceuticals and retailers -- will migrate major internal and external IT systems to the cloud. Moving beyond the 'dev/test' and 'R&D' use cases, more projects will be deployed to include mainstream and mission-critical IT applications and services. This adoption will be spurred by advancements in security, compliance and the availability of new managed cloud offerings that enable greater governance, faster adoption and 24x7x365 operations support."

-- Ed Laczynksi, Vice President, Cloud Strategy & Architecture, Datapipe

Channel Gets Caught In Cloud War Crosshairs

"2011 will see an unprecedented escalation of the cloud wars, with vendors on all sides pushing their proprietary cloud stacks. Channel partners should be on guard to avoid lock-in, looking for vendors who enable them to deliver solutions that help customers realize the promise of the cloud in an open way, regardless of hypervisor or platform."

--Tom Flink, Systems Vice President of Channels and Emerging Product Sales, Citrix

Faster Than The Speed of Change

"In 2011 we’ll stop talking about what the cloud is and begin discussing what it does. Businesses will be able to innovate at the speed of information, no longer encumbered by the limitations of fragile, non-adapting business processes of archaic technology infrastructures. Enterprises, small or large, will need three things to be successful in the cloud: 1) A transformational vision and belief adapted to the consistency of change; 2) access to flexible technology; and 3) an agile method to execute measure and sustain innovation.

Gone are the days of requiring large re-implementations of apps as the architecture has not kept up with changing business needs. Innovation will come in short cycles, easily consumed by a multitasking work force. As business tech leaders we must remember consumers of our services are of the generation born on the Web - they won’t conform to limitations of the previous generation any more than listen to music on an 8 track tape."

-- Len Couture, Managing Director, Bluewolf

Mobility Is King

"Mobile devices become the primary means of accessing enterprise cloud applications -- just as they've become the primary means of accessing the internet. Mobile internet usage is undergoing the fastest technology adoption curve in history. Consider that combined, the iPhone and iTouch have gained 85 million users over 11 quarters, a rate approximately 11 times faster than the ramp of AOL users beginning in 1994. Now add in the rapid adoption of other mobile form factors such as Amazon's Kindle and the iPad, and the adoption rate of mobile technology is even more impressive. And there will be more mobile internet users than desktop users by 2014. That means mobile devices will soon be the primary means of consuming cloud services in the enterprise, which has huge implications for how applications are built (see below) and how business gets done."

-- Mark Koenig, Director of Cloud Strategy, Appirio

100 Percent Web

"In 2011, many companies will begin moving beyond cloud computing to 100 percent Web. In the world of 100 percent Web, people access all their applications through the Web browser. All their information is available at any time, on any device -- tablet, smartphone, notebook, desktop -- and software upgrades come with a simple refresh of the browser. It's a more secure, reliable, and affordable approach that makes people more productive. Our partners will play a critical role in getting companies to this new model, and helping them succeed once they're there."

-- Stephen Cho, Director of Google Apps Channels, Google