Cloudy With A Chance For Some 2013 Predictions

By Mark Sullivan | February 13, 2013

As we kick off the blog this week, we wanted to take a look at where the cloud computing industry is now – and where we think it’s headed in 2013.

Before looking forward, however, they say it’s a good practice to look back and see what happened this past year. 2012 was the year that cloud computing entered the mainstream discussion.

With Citrix, VMWare and other solutions making it easy and fast to cloud-enable your business, more and more employees could say that their office was in the cloud. Thanks to Apple and its advertising around its iCloud solution, folks no longer needed to explain to their non-tech geek friends and family members what the cloud meant or where that was located on their desktops.

The growth of the cloud user base was no doubt aided by the growing expansion of BYOD in many organizations. No longer was remote or mobile access something that was only set up for the sales team; employees at all levels came to expect the ability to work no matter where they were. 2012 also saw some inevitable cloud outages, increases in cloud storage and other offerings – and of course every pundit and analyst under the sun predicting that the industry would get even bigger this year.

With that in mind, we decided to try our hand at some predictions:

Hybrid Cloud Becomes More Popular: As cloud computing has matured, companies from several different industries have moved away from the idea that they had to choose a specific private cloud or public cloud offering and stick with it forever. Hybrid systems (colocation/private cloud + public cloud) give companies the flexibility they need to take on the cloud on their own terms. The maturation of the cloud market means a greater desire to mix-and-match until you have the right fit.

Reduction of Regional Risks: As more companies and government organizations move critical data and information to the cloud, security and redundancy will once again be major factors. Companies will be looking to use multiple providers to spread workloads across different regions; will seek out those providers with strong multi-site availability; and will look for network-level intelligence capabilities for global load balancing. If the security isn’t as strong as possible, those with critical or sensitive data will still shy away from the cloud.

Traditional Roles Change: In addition, the role of the CIO and IT management within companies will continue to change as they become less of the installer and fixer of IT – and more of the manager of relationships with those that provide the IT services. CIOs and IT managers will also see their involvement in core, business-related projects increase as they become a planner, not just a doer.

Growth in Vendor-Neutral Cloud Platforms and Services: In 2012, cloud computing became one of the basic tenants of every business’ IT strategy. At the close of last year, we saw more companies than ever before wanting to avoid being locked-in to a single vendor or proprietary product. In 2013, neutral services and platforms – those that can support all existing or future formats and vendors – will become the norm.

Honorable Mentions: Disaster recovery offerings will increase along with the growth of cloud storage. Companies will look to backup everything in the cloud so they’re not as tied to a physical location. Big data and analysis is another 2012 trend that will continue in 2013 – and we will likely see more cloud offerings that help companies understand what information they have and what they can do with it. Mobile cloud access is in its infancy, but as mobile cloud access needs outpace desktop cloud access needs, look for this to drive greater adoption – and better solutions. And, on the home front, as consumer tools such as iCloud increase cloud awareness among the general public, people will come to expect cloud availability in all personal and work aspects of their lives.

We’ll take a look back at the end of the year and see how right (or wrong) we are. If you’re interested in seeing what some other folks have predicted, here’s some cloud predictions from Forrester…or feel free to respond or drop us a line with some predictions of your own.