12 cloud predictions of Christmas: Understanding overtakes confusion

Neil Thomas, product manager for cloud computing at Cable&Wireless Worldwide, tells us what he thinks will happen during 2012.

It’s not simply the mixologists at corporate parties who are set to be busy over New Year – forward thinking companies and individuals alike will have one eye on the IT landscape of 2012.

In my opinion, the New Year is set to herald the start of an era where the end user will learn to mix and match cloud based services as, and when, they need.

It’s commonly accepted that there is no ‘one size fits all’ model and, in 2012, I expect customers to begin to take full advantage of the variety of applications and flexibility afforded to businesses by the cloud.

The migration of any existing ‘non-virtualised’ enterprise applications will of course continue and, for the time being, the target of these migrations will mostly be dedicated platforms.

Increasingly these platforms will be defined as ‘private clouds,’ rather than ‘virtualised platforms,’ as the tools to automate and allow for self-service become more wide spread.

However, many enterprises will discover these automation and self service tools aren’t as easy to implement as they were led to believe; both in terms of technology and the processes to support them. Because of this – as well as other reasons – the trend to outsource infrastructure provision to third party suppliers will continue.

What we will also see is increasing competition and marketing from the software vendors, each proposing their own best answer as to how to turn a dedicated environment into a private cloud. I’m not sure a stand alone winner will emerge within the year, but I am sure more than one vendor will attempt to proclaim themselves the victor.

Public cloud IaaS services will of course continue to grow, but I think we’ll see some significant changes through 2012. The first half of the year will continue as is with successes, but also considerable levels of confusion, testing and re-testing as enterprises try to work out how best these services can work for them and their varying application requirements.

I believe, however, that we’ll see a subtle turning point through the year as understanding overtakes confusion. As a result, I think the market will start to form into more clearly defined strata, where the different cloud offerings begin to differentiate from each other and customers become more adept at judging what mix of services they actually need.

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