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Vendors are rushing to join Amazon, EMC/VMware, IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce in the cloud, offering businesses new ways to do more with less.
4. Big Companies Will Embrace The Cloud.
Until now, cloud computing has been popular mostly among smaller companies, but corporations and other large user organizations will shed their inhibitions and adopt cloud services much more aggressively in 2009. Why? Because they can. Enterprise-class management tools, data-integration technologies, and other prerequisites are becoming increasingly available. The promise of cost savings and the ease of subscription-style pricing will also fuel adoption among larger companies.
5. Microsoft Will Keep Customers On Hold.
If 2008 was the year that Microsoft raised the curtain on its cloud computing strategy, 2009 will be the year that it begins to deliver on what it's promised -- but don't expect too much. Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud operating system and the related Windows Azure Platform Services are still in development, and Microsoft has been vague about when they will become available. We may begin to see some Azure services in the second half of 2009, but 2010 is a more realistic timeframe for general availability.
6. Enterprise-Class Management Tools Will Emerge.
It may seem like Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud is the granddaddy of cloud services, but in fact EC2 only became generally available two months ago after a long test cycle. That's significant because much-needed EC2 management tools are due next. Amazon has promised EC2 management, monitoring, load-balancing, and auto scaling tools in early 2009. IBM's Tivoli division plans to add cloud management to its Tivoli Service Request Manager, Provisioning Manager, and Monitoring products. These are just a few examples; there will be more.
7. Cloud Startups Will Thrive.
In September 2008, InformationWeek introduced 20 cloud computing startups that are geared to make a big impact (registration required). In October, it added eight startups to that list. A few weeks ago, cloud management vendor RightScale announced that it had closed $13 million in second-round funding. Venture capital may be drying up around Silicon Valley, but cloud computing startups will be an exception.
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