The Future of the Cloud is Now

By Doug Barney

At the end of every year, pundits come out of the woodwork to pontificate on the future. And so it is that Forbes just ran a piece talking about the future of the cloud. Let’s take a look at which prognostications are common and which are unique.

Topping the list is hybrid clouds, wherein private clouds share resources with the public cloud. At first, this was largely for bursting, so when the private cloud ran out of juice, processing was turned over to a public provider. Now, hybrid clouds are architected not just to burst, but are the fundamental way processing is done. This item is both obvious and important.

Next up is the Internet of Things, where most anything can be connected. Again, this is not unique, but is ushering in huge new wave of intelligent computing.

“Look for the Industrial Internet (a.k.a. the Internet of Things) to start transforming operations in 2014, as solutions combining intelligent machines, big data analytics, and end-user applications begin to roll out across major industries. Cloud computing platforms will play a big role in creating the next generation of intelligent, software-defined machines that are operable and controllable entirely from centralized, remote locations,” the piece said. Again spot on.

The third item is Web-powered apps. Now, we’ve had these for years, but HTML5 is truly changing what is possible to do over the Internet, offering never before seen richness. Here again, spot on, though not an entirely unique perspective.

The fourth piece tackled the notion of BYOD and personal clouds, movements largely driven by end users themselves, just like the early days of the PC:

“The BYOD movement is already hitting enterprise environments and is expected to expand in 2014. As end-users put more of their own data into personal cloud services for syncing, streaming, and storage, IT executives are finding ways to incorporate personal cloud services in the enterprise environment through techniques such as Mobile Device Management,” the piece by Suhas Sreedhar read.

Suhas is especially right about the need for MDM to control BYOD sprawl.

Suhas also sees PaaS as on the move, and he’s exactly correct. PaaS is one step up the cloud stack from IaaS and makes it easier to run and develop applications since it includes the application layer.

“More companies will be looking to adopt PaaS solutions in the upcoming years. PaaS allows businesses to lower IT costs while speeding up application development through more efficient testing and deployment. According to analyst firm IDC, the PaaS market is expected to grow from $3.8 billion to $14 billion by 2017,” Sreedhar argued.

The penultimate item is perhaps the most unique. Here Sreedhar talks about graphics as a service. The idea is that the cloud is great way to process compute-intensive graphics, and he’s absolutely right. I would add to that engineering and design in general. Even though engineers need top-end workstations to begin with, when it comes time to render or simulate, you can send these jobs out to the cloud.

Last but not least is identity management. This may well be a task best left to cloud, if only because so many of the apps we need to identify ourselves in order to use are, too, in the cloud.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

MSPToday Editor at Large

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