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10 cloud computing predictions for 2014

Bernard Golden | Dec. 18, 2013
Cloud computing is increasingly becoming the rule and not the exception for application deployment. This will make 2014 an interesting and disruptive year for vendors, service providers and IT organizations grappling with this change.

In any case, for AWS the CSP market will no longer be like shooting fish in a barrel, and 2014 will present the beginning of a multi-year tussle for dominance among these three.

8. The Importance of Ecosystem Will Become Clear

Nearly everyone has heard of the " network effect," which refers to the added value to a group of users when one more user joins. It's sometimes summed up as, "If there's just one fax machine, it's pretty much useless;" unless many people have fax machines you can send faxes to or receive faxes from, owning a fax machine doesn't provided much value. (It's a funny turn of events that we're pretty much back to the early state of affairs with fax machines - hardly anyone has one and, yes, the remaining ones aren't worth much).

With respect to technology platforms, there's a symbiotic relationship between the network effect of the number of users and the richness of the platform functionality. This often isn't based on — or not solely on — the capability of the platform itself but rather, the complementary third-party services or products. More users makes a platform more attractive for third-party offerings, which makes the platform more attractive for users deciding which platform to adopt.

Today, the richness of the CSP ecosystems is completely lopsided. Not only does AWS provide a far richer services platform than its competitors, it has by far the larger number of complementary services provided by third parties. In 2014, as more applications get deployed to public cloud providers, the importance of the ecosystem will come into focus.

The richness of a platform's ecosystem directly affects how quickly applications can be created and delivered. Cloud platforms that have a paltry ecosystem are fated to suffer, even if their foundation services, such as virtual machines and network capability, are better than Amazon's.

Clearly, Microsoft should be able to roll out a rich ecosystem, since a key to Windows' success is its ecosystem; much of it, presumably, should port to Azure fairly easily. We'll see how Google progresses on this next year. By the end of next year, the discussion will on from who has the best VMs to who best enables applications, with a recognition that the richness of a platform's ecosystem is crucial.

9. VMware Will Realizes vCHS Is Critical to Its Future

VMware has been in a funny position with respect to cloud computing. Its undoubted platform advantages inside the corporate data center haven't been matched by a concomitant public cloud success. For whatever reason — or, perhaps, for a number of reasons — VMware's public CSP partners haven't been able to generate large adoption for the VMware flavor of cloud computing.


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