December 14th, 2011 by Brian Boyko, Technology Humorist and Blog Overlord
Well, it’s the time of year again where we look forward and try to guess what the next year will have in store for IT, virtually guaranteeing we’ll have something to be embarrassed about when we look back at the beginning of 2013 at how naïve we all were.
But yes, here are our predictions for how the next 12 months will shake down, mostly from our chief prognosticators: CTO Antonio Piraino (whose predictions were just published in Forbes) and CEO Dave Link.
A legal note: Certain comments made in this post may be characterized as “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements are based on the company’s current assumptions. ScienceLogic undertakes no obligation to publically update or revise any forward looking statements (mostly because if we’re embarrassingly way-off track here, we’d rather hope you forget about it instead of bringing it up and making fun of us.)
- There will be a cut-throat competition for consumer and enterprise cloud environments.
Quite frankly, as cloud computing becomes more mature, consumer cloud environments at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Salesforce can try to compete on price and economies of scale. However, they – along with managed hosting and data center providers of all sizes vying for consumer and enterprise business – will only be successful when they identify niche markets where they can deliver new services. The result will be a shifting, interchanged web of alliances and coalitions of convenience to come up with innovative cloud solutions, which will then come to a bitter, all-out war when activists from a Microsoftian separatist group assassinate the Archduke of Facebook.
- One or more major cloud environments will be hit with a massive security attack.
This is almost a given since cloud environments are tempting targets. The upside is that after a major security attack, cloud service providers will be better armed with best practices for security and disaster recovery, and customers will recognize that they need to take responsibility for their own security and disaster recovery in the cloud. Sort of a “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Or horribly crippled. One or the other.
- The price of cloud computing will go up – so will the demand.
This may seem a paradox of the law of supply and demand, but it makes sense in this context: IT budget cuts can be a major driver for cloud computing. With lower budgets, the flexibility and ability to break down costs into smaller increments make cloud computing a more attractive prospect. There’s even a bit of a “Giffen Good” effect where, as cloud service prices increase, it will take a larger portion of the already cut budget, which will mean there is less budget remaining, which further drives the cost-cutting measures of cloud computing adoption. This is not to be confused with the “Giffen Bad” effect, which occurs when Dave Lubarsky’s Golden Retriever, “Giffen,” chews on his shoes. Bad dog.
- Better visibility and management in the cloud.
Cloud providers have been fixated on creating or emulating the ‘top’ cloud computing platforms from an infrastructure, self-service and pricing perspective, but the next big wave of opportunity for cloud providers and IT cloud system administrators is adding visibility and control of those increasingly expansive, decentralized and fluid virtual environments. Best of breed cloud monitoring, management and orchestration will be the name of the game in 2012. (The name of the game in 1980 was Pac-Man.)
Next year, newer and more open architectures will win over the closed technologies. The cloud era is a rising tide that can float many boats together, rather than a series of siloed technologies that cannot possibly hope to compete adequately on all fronts of technologies that have simultaneously changed. Although there will continue to be multiple standards for APIs, there will be far fewer new API’s, and increasing simplicity to the ability to write into all those API’s.
- Operational business intelligence will be used to manage costs and improve efficiencies.
One of the fastest growing uses of cloud computing is for business analytics. Big Data is being used to make decisions to drive leads and sales. However, IT infrastructure can yield data and analytics that can help manage costs as well boost productivity. Analytics helps determine the most efficient way to use human and capital resources, when to upgrade (or if to downgrade) IT infrastructure, and other big questions. Just be careful to double check the math – cloud computing can be our friend, but you never know if they’re secretly controlling your organization in preparation for a robot uprising.
- Acquisitions will be about filling out portfolios, less on customer footprints.
Acquisition strategies will focus less on gaining customer footprint and more on what technologies are needed to fill out the portfolios of telcos, social media firms, large systems integrations and managed service providers to help them compete. In short, any company without a complete solution will find themselves at a severe disadvantage, even if they have a short term edge over the competition. Main targets for acquisition will be the cloud on ramp providers, orchestration technologies, security technologies, monitoring and management firms. Most of them will, as usual, be bought by Oracle, a company so acquisition happy it somehow acquired itself in a stock and cash deal in 2007.
- Data centers will face increased regulatory scrutiny.
Here’s an interesting fact: 3-5% of all U.S. power usage is being drawn into data centers. Because it is such a major consumer of power, governments cannot afford to ignore the impact cloud computing and virtualization has had on their energy policy, perhaps even making requirements for “Green IT.” (Which, considering the operating expenses of energy costs, are probably a good idea anyway.) Of course, as more countries regulate, and – let’s face it – misregulate computing, there will be a demand for international hosters and service providers.
Now, we’re not the only ones making predictions, and if you’re looking for more Nostradamus-grade goodies, you can check out some of these articles:
- Cloud Computing Journal: The Future of Cloud Computing: Industry Predictions for 2012.
- GigaOm: It’s cloud prediction time: IDC, Gartner, (and I) weigh in.
- IDC Press Release: IDC predicts 2012 will be the year of mobile and cloud platform wars as IT vendors vie for leadership while industry redefines itself. (This is a really long headline!)
- Gartner Press Release: Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2012 and Beyond