The term “cloud computing” has been bouncing around the greater tech world for about a decade, and it’s a term even my mom knows and vaguely understands. Last year Forbes contributor Joe McKendrick predicted cloud computing would become so ubiquitous that people would stop referring to it as such. I don’t see that happening for a while, if only because “cloud” is such an easy, catch-all term, and a good percentage of the general public is still trying to wean itself from Windows XP (in other words, they may have a smart phone, but more likely than not, they are not taking advantage of simple cloud services like Dropbox or Evernote).
But the tech press and bloggers have been falling all over themselves to mete out cloud forecasts for this new year. I can’t cover them all here, so let me relay three predictions related to cloud services that stick out for me.
1. Cloud services will continue to grow and proliferate.
Research firm IDC predicts that organizations will spend a combined $118 billion in 2015 SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service), with IaaS projected to grow 36%. Increasingly, according to IDC, cloud services “will become the new data center as compute and storage capacity migrates to “cloud, mobile, and Big Data-optimized hyperscaled data centers operated by cloud service providers.”
IDC expects this shift to prompt an upsurge of “’cloud-first’ hardware innovations that consolidate server, storage, software, and networking.”
2. With more choice than ever, businesses will choose multiple cloud services that meet their needs.
Rackspace CTO John Engates writes that businesses are inundated by “more choice in the cloud than ever before,” and that choice can be heady and overwhelming. With limited IT budgets, do you choose the cheapest option, or do you pick a service that provides you with specific functionality?
Engates says finding services that drive the most value will be a key theme in 2015:
Value isn’t just about cost – it’s also about the time and energy you spend managing and scaling your environment…the importance of a trusted partner will grow stronger, whether you rely on that partner to manage your public or private cloud, automate your DevOps, or keep tabs on your apps, like Google Apps for Work. Companies will have to ask themselves if they want to swell their payrolls hiring the resources needed to manage all of their tools and technologies. This will force companies to determine what matters most to them – focusing on IT management or on their business – and decide who they can partner with to deliver the most value.
Engate also predicts 2015 will bring about the rise of a multi-cloud world, where businesses will “string together cloud services from various providers based on your specific workloads.” Vendor lock-in will increasingly become a thing of the past because organizations no longer have to invest in a lot of hardware and licensing to get the functionality they need.
3. Larger cloud vendors will continue to swallow up smaller, more agile companies.
Veteran GigaOM reporter Barb Darrow sees the cloud business as a “scale game.” She writes that the top three cloud services vendors Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have the majority of the public cloud market and would-be competitors like Cisco, EMC, and HP will snap up smaller, more technologically advanced companies to keep pace with the AWSs and “bring their own cloud effort up to speed.”
Can CloudSigma, Digital Ocean, GoGrid, Joyent, Mirantis, ProfitBricks and a dozen other cloud vendors all flourish and prosper as standalone companies? Don’t bet on it, but some of them might be nifty pickups for bigger companies that need to bring their own cloud effort up to speed.
What are your thoughts about cloud services for 2015? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!
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