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The Cloud in 2012 and looking ahead to the future

2012 was the year that software defined networking made an impact – but what for 2013.

As we come to the end of 2012 and look back over this year, the standout moments for me were the emergence of software-defined data centres as the way forward for data processing, with software-defined networking (SDN) really establishing itself as the future of networking.

The availability of cloud-specific designed technologies, especially storage, where performance can be guaranteed granularly within a multi-tenanted environment for the first time, has been a big enabler for cloud to service any workload.

Another key thing for me was the level of genuine interest in cloud, which has risen massively during the year. Businesses of all sizes are now looking at how cloud can help their organisations become more efficient and agile. That said, there are still plenty of people, mainly within traditional technology sectors, and businesses who still don’t believe that cloud is the force that is causing a step change in the digital space and changing the way IT will be delivered.

I have also seen, as discussed in my last few blogs, the start of a new level of appreciation for how important data privacy is. This is where I think we will see a new level and type of engagement with clients, where the location of the data will become as important as the security and protection offered by the service – this new digital awareness will establish itself at the very heart of cloud.

We have also seen big data starting to merge with cloud as the services and technology are so tightly linked. The hybrid model of using both on-premise and cloud-based services has been the dominate model in 2012 and I believe will continue to be so in 2013.

So what does 2013 hold for the cloud? Well, firstly I believe we will see mobile and cloud start to merge, with apps and BYOD driving the convergence of these technologies. There will be a more realistic view of the cost efficiencies that cloud is capable of delivering. Cloud’s true value is in its ability to allow businesses to react to their own demands in a cost effective way. In other words, it’s not just about saving costs or optimising cash-flow.

The use of cloud-based disaster recovery offerings is also likely to see a big take-up during next year, as companies take advantage of cloud services that are built around a model similar to pay as you go, where clients only pay for all the resources when there is a actual disaster. Traditional models can’t compete with the flexibility or get close to the price point of these new offerings.

We will also see new cloud specific standards like ISO additions 27017, 18, 35 and 36 come into being, all of which have been designed for cloud service providers and will become one of the standards by which most people will evaluate one offering from another.

Mobile devices will edge ever closer to become the dominate computing platform, as mentioned above this is partly been driven by the take-up of BYOD initiatives but also because users want the ease of use of their personnel technologies replicated into their business environment.

Finally, I believe that cloud services will start to become more local during 2013 with the emergence of vertical based providers servicing the needs of the users within one particular jurisdiction or industry vertical but also to meet the increasing demands for ever tighter controls on data privacy.

This past year can be summed up as the year when cloud stopped just being hype and became a service that businesses and organisations around the world not only started to use but also, certainly in the case of start-ups, became the platform of first choice.

During the coming year, I believe we will continue to build on the above, but will also be seen as the year when cloud truly start to deliver on its great potential for established businesses and starts to be seen as a trusted partner for all types of IT operations.

By Julian Box, Posted 23rd December 2012.