Cloud computing will dig even deeper into the enterprise, with hybrid clouds, virtualized clients, and security standards topping the hot trends.
Cloud computing has become so broadly accepted that it won't rank as an exciting development for 2012. Instead, you will see a more organized, concerted application of resources to further the cloud's use in conjunction with central IT. Let's take a look at the top things we can expect from the cloud over the next year.
1. 2012: Year Of The Hybrid Cloud
The most obvious expression of the trend is the serious interest in private cloud computing, where more of the enterprise data center is given over to virtualized and automated operations, including end-user self service. Why? Because the public cloud, if still not fully trusted, is understood to be a long-term player on the landscape. The movement to internal cloud computing isn't in opposition to the public cloud. Rather, it reflects the growing sense within IT that its own environment will need to be as efficient and compatible as possible.
Interest in EC2-compatible Eucalyptus Systems, the general purpose Nimbula Director cloud operating system, and the OpenStack initiative are all signs of serious private cloud planning and implementation. VMware's cloud initiatives would be faltering if virtualization stopped at the edge of the virtualized server, but it doesn't. It extends out into storage, I/O, and networking. Managing these resources as virtualized pools is a giant step toward internal cloud computing. Dell's support for VMware's cloud software and VMware's ability to attract programmers to its Cloud Foundry all speak to interest in and use of the future private cloud.
2. Development Moves In
Speaking of Cloud Foundry, the unusual open source initiative (unusual for VMware, a strongly proprietary company) launched last April has born unusual fruit. There's a growing understanding that applications in the cloud will be different; that agile development will never quite get to dev ops unless development for the cloud moves into the cloud. Both of these realizations were behind Cloud Foundry being named the best overall developer platform in a recent Evans Data survey of programmers. It had to beat out both Microsoft Azure and IBM's Smart Cloud, both well provisioned with developer tools, as well as Google App Engine with its Gadgets.
Why did it win? Well, for one thing, I think the Evans Data surveys appeal to independent programmers, the ones who are less frequently users of IBM Rational or Microsoft Visual Studio tools (although there are plenty of enterprise programmers using Cloud Foundry). In addition, VMware is scrupulously cultivating an open atmosphere where all are welcome. Cloud Foundry is a staging ground for Spring Framework projects by Java developers. But in mid-December, Tier3 and Uhuru Software contributed .Net Framework support. The Foundry itself is written in Ruby and will also support dynamic languages such as PHP and Python. It's becoming one of the few broadly supportive development platforms where many programming groups might find a home. As it does so, more development moves into the cloud.
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application ManagementEnterprise cloud adoption has evolved to the point where hybrid public/private cloud designs and use of multiple providers is common. Who among us has mastered provisioning resources in different clouds; allocating the right resources to each application; assigning applications to the "best" cloud provider based on performance or reliability requirements.