While Amazon does its best regarding billing, enterprises running complex application environments-dozens of applications, deployments for development, testing, load testing, staging and production for each app, and multiple versions of each application-clearly find the current state of AWS billing inadequate.
Look for 2013 to be the year of cloud spend management solutions to become a big deal. (To be clear, these are systems designed to manage the amount of money you're spending on running your cloud-based applications, not cloud-based spend management applications such as Ariba.) These systems track what you spend, identify under-utilized servers and make recommendations on different deployment arrangements that can save you money. They don't help you operate your applications to be elastic in the face of variable demand-that's the job of cloud management software-but they can help you make sure you aren't wasting money on overprovisioning servers or not choosing spending plans wisely.
Overall, 2013 Will Be a Year of Transition, Change
We are in the midst of a multi-year shift from traditional static compute environments based on inefficient asset ownership to a new form of agile environments based on infrastructure rental accompanied by careful operation. Next year will be the year in which this transition reaches a point where the discussion shifts from "It's not like what I've currently got and doesn't have the advantages my current environment brings" to "It's not like what I've got, and thank goodness, because it doesn't come with all the drawbacks my current environment has."
In every innovation, at a certain point the weight of the evidence becomes overwhelming. Early adopters are vindicated, mainstream users are convinced and diehards fall back into the distance, their cries of "It's not good enough!" dwindling to an inaudible whimper. Every new platform solves the shortcomings of the previous generation platform. Every new platform also brings its own drawbacks.
Cloud computing is no different. It's powerful and innovative, but it has blemishes of its own. However, 2013 will be the year that we start addressing the real drawbacks of cloud computing-the challenges of scale, complexity and change-rather than fixating on its supposed drawbacks such as security, compliance and SLAs.
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