9 Cloud Trends For 2015 - InformationWeek

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Cloud // Software as a Service
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Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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9 Cloud Trends For 2015

In 2015, expect to see the cloud mature as a platform for hybrid operations, with cloud data centers achieving new efficiencies through containers.

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It's that time of year again: From the enterprise's land rush to the cloud to more obscure software-defined security, here are nine cloud computing trends we expect to see in 2015.

At Amazon Web Service's November Re:Invent conference, a rumor circulated in the hallways of the Sands Convention Center that Amazon had hired dozens of experts in enterprise operations and enterprise service development over the last year.

Amazon never announced such a move, and indeed it may be apocryphal. But one person who shared that tidbit was Ellen Rubin, the astute former VP of products at CloudSwitch who now serves as CEO of ClearSky Data, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm in stealth mode. (CloudSwitch was sold for an undisclosed sum to Verizon in 2011.)

Regardless of whether the report was true, AWS took a decidedly enterprise-oriented turn in November, adding services such as AWS Aurora, a MySQL database service on steroids that can replace Oracle or an AWS Code Deploy service to make it easier to launch your workload on EC2. And that turn marks our first prediction for 2015:

1. Next year will mark the start of the land rush of enterprise workloads moving into the cloud.
This has been said before, but so far the cloud migration has been mostly just talk. This time we're referring not just AWS, but Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, and the managed service veterans CenturyLink Savvis, Verizon Terremark and Rackspace.

[Want to learn more about DigitalOcean and OVH.net? See 6 Cloud Startups To Watch.]

2. Containers will gain momentum.
One reason we expect to see the cloud rush intensify in 2015 is that containers have helped solve some of the problems the cloud poses for IT operations. Developers already love containers, but operations teams need to be able to containerize different parts of an application, move them into different types of cloud infrastructure, and manage them as discrete units while keeping the parts acting as a whole.

The Kubernetes project, Docker's own expanding set of orchestration features, CenturyLink's Panamax container, and perhaps CoreOS' Rocket container runtime will all help bring about practical implementations of this denser form of computing. AWS will bring AWS Container Service out of preview and into beta in 2015. Will it make it generally available before the end of the year? That's a big maybe.

(Source: Kurdistann)
(Source: Kurdistann)

3. Containerization and the public cloud's newfound enterprise orientation will result in "continuous delivery" replacing agile programming movement as the most sought-after skill set among cloud customers.
The gains of agile programming are somewhat lost if operations does not follow through with frequent code updates. Organizations have struggled with the disconnect between development and operational teams since the two were created. Now cloud services will compete by creating services that enable consolidation of these two fiefdoms.

At Re:Invent, Amazon took the lead in this space. Its Service Catalogue, Code Deploy, EC2 Container Service, and Code Pipeline, along with its established Elastic Load Balancer, Elastic Map Reduce, and other services are creating a new, DevOps-oriented way for enterprises to offer continuous delivery without building it themselves. The cloud helps them get around the considerable barriers to an on-premises approach, and both developers and operations see it as a promising neutral ground.

Formerly isolated cloud products are being connected together in a service chain by platform-as-a-service providers such as IBM Bluemix or Heroku and Engine Yard, and by Amazon as part of its infrastructure services. Companies that require fast, reliable updates to retail, financial services, healthcare, or trading applications, for example, will want to do them in the cloud. That way, they're more likely to get to automated code deployment, managed code updates, application performance management, and automated analysis of lingering code issues. In addition, the more uniform environment of the cloud often allows the deployment environment to closely resemble the development environment.

Developers already show a willingness to embrace the advances available through the cloud. The most recent North American developer survey by Evans Data found that 80% of the developers who had experience with DevOps said continuous delivery was critical to the future success of their organizations, and 77% cited achieving the DevOps part of their responsibilities inside cloud infrastructure, or with tools available as software-as-a-service in the cloud.

4. Price leadership will shift to second tier.
A two-tier public cloud structure will increasingly take shape throughout 2015. The top tier will continue to be Amazon, Azure, SoftLayer, and Google Compute/App Engines. But independent developers, startups, small businesses, and tech-savvy dabblers will gravitate to a low-price, minimalist infrastructure tier. A slew of them are now springing up, seeking to capitalize on the model set by DigitalOcean, which is now the third-largest hosting provider in the world, according to Netcraft.

That doesn't mean DigitalOcean is the third-largest cloud provider in terms of revenue or physical data center servers. In its ranking, Netcraft is counting the number of public-facing IP addresses inside a service and rating services based on this measure. Netcraft counted 124,000 such servers at DigitalOcean, which earned its number-three ranking.

Two years ago Netcraft counted just 140 such serves at DigitalOcean, which means the provider has advanced from 568th in January 2012 to 3rd at the end of this year. This raw number, however, says nothing about

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Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio
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David F. Carr
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
12/29/2014 | 2:24:42 PM
Re: Continuous Delivery - enterprise style
Could be continuous delivery of bugs if you're not careful.
User Rank: Author
12/29/2014 | 9:44:08 AM
Continuous Delivery - enterprise style
Purists hate when anyone puts a qualifier on these trends -- "enterprise" devops, agile, continuous delivery. But the reality of highly regulated, high-availability businesses is that they'll only embrace these trends if they fit the corporate compliance needs. So while I agree with the sentiment that continuous delivery will be more in demand, and that companies will move this direction, I suspect it will be a more conservative version than what the likes of Netflix deploys.     
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