After years of hype, 2012 was the year when the cloud made its mark on the enterprise agenda. As it becomes a necessity for businesses across the globe lets take a look at the state of the cloud computing industry and some of my predictions for 2013.
1. The network will become the computer, and the computer will become the network
The evolution of computing, moving from isolation in the data center to being a part of the network will continue in 2013, as high levels of resilience are created. As the computer is added into the network it will drive the creation and integration of hybrid environments, on and off premise. With this evolution comes the second wave of migration to the cloud, as businesses better realise the savings that come with moving IT into the network.
2. Innovation will return to IT with a vengeance
The emphasis in IT will be firmly placed on the T in the year to come, as increased numbers of technical staff are needed to create fast, effective solutions. The cloud is going to re-balance the 80:20 IT spend rule, where 80% of cost has traditionally gone on business maintenance and only 20% has been invested in new innovation. The traditional 20% innovation budget will increase dramatically as the cloud reduces the cost and complexity of running IT environments, and creates space for new ideas.
3. The cloud will gain respect
As the cloud shifts from a maybe to a reality, the long slog to respectability will accelerate. In 2012, the nuances of cloud computing were played out, vendors and operators chose their side and the muddy waters around cloud became clearer. Finally, the understanding that not all clouds are created equal was established. In 2013, organsiations will recognise they need the cloud to compete on cost savings, efficiencies and performance, and it will become part of the accepted IT model.
4. The enterprise app store will rise in prominence
The network will become the warehouse, as physical applications start getting replaced with virtual ones. The emergence of enterprise app stores will escalate and the fight to develop the breadth and scope of choice within enterprise app stores will continue.
5. SDN gets real
In 2012, Software Defined Networking (SDN) was a hypothetical research project - an experiment. In 2013, SDN will start to become a reality and with it there will undoubtedly be both real excitement and serious hype.
The move towards SDN will start at the access layer, and once trust is established it will move into the core of the network. But, watch out for the nay sayers. They are sitting on the fence!
6. Attempts for one vendor dominance will finally be extinguished
After years of promise we will finally start to see multi-vendor, inter-rich media communications, despite the many vendor attempts to assert technological dominance through-out the technology stack over the years. In 2013, it will be widely acknowledged that it is unrealistic to buy everything from the same vendor and as a result we will see the final unification of communication.
7. The cloud will exterminate the grand IT Plan
With the cloud gaining ground in 2013, it will threaten to annihilate whole swathes of project management, advice and risk mitigation. After all, what used to take months and cost millions now takes minutes and costs considerably less. Moreover, if you don't like it, you can simply start again.
8. Old software licensing models will be ripped up
The traditional strangle-hold of a few mega vendors will loosen in 2013, as the barriers to accessing technology are eliminated.
9. The tablet price drop will shift enterprise mobility up a gear
The consumer has won. With tablet wars about to escalate, driving down the cost of devices, 2013 will be the year where consumers own multiple devices. Moreover, the workforce will go truly mobile next year. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in particular looks set to shift up a gear. This increasingly mobile workforce is going to force IT to get progressive and catch up. A standard infrastructure is going to become a prerequisite.
10. Platform-as-a-service becomes obvious
As more people get comfortable with using basic computing, network and storage infrastructure, they will look to higher levels of integration that can combine that infrastructure with the applications environment and accelerate development. As such, Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will become an inevitable area of growth for 2013.