In the coming year, the cloud will reach milestones that critics said it never would: it will be certifiably secure for credit card transactions; able to host multiple virtual machine types in the same infrastructure; and easier to manage.
Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)
5. Snappy Cloud Application Integration
As cloud environments proliferate and cloud access becomes an easier thing to manage, there will remain a nagging problem of getting one application to work with another, both in the public cloud, such as EC2, or the hybrid cloud, say between EC2 and a virtualized section of an enterprise data center. This was a big problem on premises; it gets bigger in the cloud.
New companies are likely to spring up to take advantage of the setting that the cloud itself offers. For example, SnapLogic, which just received $10 million in funding from Andreesen-Horowith and Floodgate in early December, puts its integration-building SnapLogic Server in the cloud, and urges customers to bring their integration needs to it.
If a user wants to connect his internal accounting system to, say, his Salesforce.com sales force automation system, SnapLogic provides (or he can build) a connector or "snap" between the accounting system and SnapLogic Server. The server has its own connectors to Salesforce.com, SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, and other applications. At least half of the integration problem has been solved in an automated fashion; in many cases, the whole connection can be quickly established. If the data needs to be converted as it moves from one application to the other, SnapLogic Server recognizes that and automatically executes the reformatting.
The connection problem is the sleeper in the cloud. After you get there, how do you connect to standard package applications or even custom code without incurring a lot of work? SnapLogic, which recognizes the inherent value of the cloud setting, or other solutions like it, may be a big part of the answer.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?