Gartner: Cloud Computing Still For 'Trailblazers' - InformationWeek
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2/2/2009
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John Foley
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Gartner: Cloud Computing Still For 'Trailblazers'

Gartner has a surprisingly conservative forecast for business adoption of cloud computing services. The IT advisory firm says it could be up to seven years before cloud services reach "mainstream critical mass and commoditization."

Gartner has a surprisingly conservative forecast for business adoption of cloud computing services. The IT advisory firm says it could be up to seven years before cloud services reach "mainstream critical mass and commoditization."Gartner lays out a three-phase evolution of the cloud computing market. It describes phase one, from 2007 to 2011, as being a time for "pioneers and trailblazers." Gartner advises IT departments to use cloud computing (which it also calls "service-enabled application platforms") during phase one for "quick-hit, tactical opportunities where time to market and developer productivity outweigh long-term technical viability." That's the stage of the market we're in now.

Phase two ranges from 2010 to 2013. It will be a time when the market becomes crowded, indeed "overcrowded," with a plethora of services, resulting in consolidation and the culling of weaker players. During this period, cloud computing will appeal to a broader range of companies, resulting in a more mainstream user base. By 2013, Gartner forecasts cloud computing to be the preferred choice for "architecturally simple" application development projects among global 2000 companies.

Phase three occurs between 2012 and 2015, which Gartner characterizes as being dominated by large vendors using a mix of proprietary technologies and cloud APIs. It points to growing concern over vendor lock-in and an industry-wide push for an open source cloud software stack as an alternative to proprietary approaches. It's during this phase, according to Gartner's crystal ball, that cloud services reach mainstream critical mass and commoditization.

Here's Gartner's press release on the $195 report: Gartner Says Cloud Application Infrastructure Technologies Need Seven Years To Mature.

It's a well-reasoned presentation, but I'm surprised that Gartner has given the adoption curve such a gradual incline, especially given the economic forces at work that are causing IT development teams to look at cloud computing right now. My sense is that Gartner's scenario could play out in a compressed time frame, closer to its near-term estimates than, as it says, "2015 and beyond."

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