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5 cloud computing trends that will be big in 2013

Bernard Golden | Dec. 20, 2012
Will 2013 finally be the year executives stop worrying about cloud security and actually start looking at their bills from cloud service providers? Columnist Bernard Golden thinks so. He has four other cloud computing predictions for 2013, too.

They won't be the last. Look for a real bloodbath in the CSP industry next year-but realize that, for customers, this bloodbath will pay enormous dividends in lower costs.

4. Hybrid, Heterogeneous Cloud Computing Comes to the Fore

Next year will bring home the fact that enterprises are never going to settle on a single cloud technology or provider. By definition, enterprises are complex, heterogeneous technology environments. They collect multiple products in a given technology category the way others collect bottle caps or old magazines: Randomly and irrationally. Even if a given enterprise resists the urge to buy one of everything, its nice, neat, homogenous environment gets spoiled the instant the CEO decides to buy another company that inevitably, standardized on a different product.

Many IT organizations and CSPs have hoped that the world would standardize on a single technology-most commonly, one based on VMware-but that's just not going to happen. The reality for every enterprise of any size is that it will use multiple cloud technologies spread among multiple deployment environments, with those technologies all providing different orchestration software frameworks, heterogeneous APIs and single-purpose management infrastructures.

The task for enterprise IT for 2013 is to comprehend this fact and develop plans to implement a management framework that can span all cloud environments in use. Key requirements include consistent identity management, common monitoring, a management platform that provides a single pane of glass to control all cloud environments and common billing (more on that in a moment). Expect to hear lots in 2013 about cloud management or cloud broker products, which sit above multiple cloud environments and provide these key requirements.

Just as Esperanto has the beauty of logic but fails in the reality of a polyglot world, so, too, will the fantasy of a single cloud technology environment used everywhere confront the messiness of the typical enterprise IT world. Once one accepts life will never live up to an idealized vision, then one can get on with the real job of dealing with things as they really are.

5. Cloud Spend Management Comes Down to Dollars and Sense

Next year will also bring home the financial implications of enterprise adoption of pay-as-you-go pricing. The negligent habits typical of enterprise system management, in which utilization rates still commonly hover in the mid-teens, carry heavy financial burdens in today's cloud world. The upfront capital investment practices of traditional IT paper over scandalous financial practices-can anyone imagine running an automobile factory at 15 percent utilization?-but the sunk cost and lack of ongoing payment pain make it easy to ignore waste.

Not so in public cloud environments, where every month brings a reminder of the cost of running systems. Many companies are now spending tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars per month with AWS. Those numbers draw the attention of upper management. Questions will inevitably arise: "What are we doing to spend so much? Is there some way to detail what we're spending and whether we're getting our moneys worth?"

 

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