The cloud in 2012 will present a range of challenges and opportunities.
As cloud computing matures from the buzz stage and on toward mainstream adoption, there is still much work to be done before the cloud is as reliable and easy to use as typical utility services. The following list of cloud computing trends to watch in 2012 on Datamation will present CIOs, IT managers and even in-the-trenches IT workers with a range of challenges and opportunities.
Cloud Computing Trends to Watch
The goal, after all, is for the cloud to mature to the point where customers simply check boxes for the features they want, and like magic, everything just works.
1. Personal and mobile clouds emerge
In 2011, both Apple and Microsoft made big pushes into the cloud. Apple s iCloud is gaining traction from the Apple fan base, and Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7.5 both have major cloud tie-ins. Google has always used the cloud as a key enabling technology, and it s working furiously to keep its cloud edge over its rivals.
As smartphones continue to displace feature phones (with smartphones likely outnumbering feature phones in early 2012) and as tablets continue to invade the enterprise (a recent survey found that 78 percent of businesses plan to deploy tablets by the end of 2013), the cloud will increasingly be the glue that holds this collection of devices together.
“In addition to device-centric personal clouds such as iCloud, a variety of innovative personal cloud services will be offered in 2012 by a range of providers, including carriers and consumer electronics companies,” said Hal Steger, VP of worldwide marketing at Funambol, a provider of personal cloud solutions. “The combined availability of these services will help to educate and encourage mainstream users to increasingly store, access and share user-generated and commercial content in personal clouds.”
Call it a “personal cloud,” a “mobile cloud” or even a “pocket cloud”. Whatever the name, the point is that without the cloud, people will have a hard time keeping track of the data, media and services that are important to them. And without the cloud, sharing and synching all those things among their many devices would be nearly impossible.
2. The cloud changes what the term “startup” means and threatens incumbents
In the not too distant past, if you wanted to challenge a major technology incumbent with a newer, innovative technology, you attracted some angel investors, worked on a proof of concept, developed a business plan, honed an elevator pitch and hit the road to pitch your idea to VCs. If you didn t raise millions of dollars, your chances of succeeding were microscopic.
The cloud is radically changing the startup story. At every trade show I go to, I talk to more and more entrepreneurs who are running credit card startups. Many bring products to market and start competing before raising any outside money at all.
“With the cloud, startups aren t constrained by capex the way they used to be,” said Chris Sharp, GM for Content and Digital Media at Equinix, a provider of global data center services. “Now, at a low cost, you can have overseas coders working when your team is asleep. You can also simply check a PCI compliance box and trust your cloud provider to properly handle your data for you. These are obstacles that in the past would have required much larger investments to clear.
Could the cloud spark a cycle of change similar to that prompted by the Internet itself? Will we see major industries (publishing, recording, movies, to name a few) in upheaval due to the cloud?
Chances are it will play out differently. The disruption caused by the cloud is building on what happened ten years ago. This time around, the cloud could actually be the salvation for such industries as publishing and entertainment media.
That said, we re only at the start of the cloud disruption cycle, so expect a decent amount of turmoil in the next few years. Another Netflix misstep, for example, could open the door for someone like VUDU or some startup that s only now an idea in some entrepreneur s head.
This article was originally published on January 04, 2012