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10 Cloud Computing Predictions For 2009

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.
8. We'll See Public-Private Clouds.

IT departments will create public-private hybrid clouds. They'll use virtualization, APIs, and platforms like Elastra's Cloud Server to devise cloud-like environments in their own data centers that work seamlessly with public cloud services. As I reported a few weeks ago, work is underway to create a "wrapper" around Google App Engine that would let users deploy App Engine on their own servers. Some experts talk of "private clouds" as an alternative to public clouds, but hybrid clouds mix the best of both worlds.

9. Data Security Will Reemerge As A Major Issue.

I keep hearing that IT pros are growing comfortable with the level of data security provided by cloud service providers, that cloud security is as good or better than what most IT departments provide internally. That may be true, but it will only take one data breach before the flaw in that argument gets exposed -- namely, that end users, regulators, and watchdog groups have yet to be convinced that the cloud is a secure place for personal data. Look for this issue to blow up as soon as the inevitable data breach occurs.

10. Oracle Will Become A Cloud Vendor.

Larry Ellison loves to bad mouth cloud computing, but Oracle's CEO is no dummy. Having watched Salesforce thrive with the software-as-a-service model, he now sees Salesforce and other vendors raise the stakes with platform-as-a-service offerings that give developers everything they need to build and run applications in the cloud. On top of that, Oracle's database is now available as an option on Amazon's EC2, and Oracle already offers hosted applications in the form of Oracle On Demand. The obvious next steps: virtual databases and build-it, run-it Web applications, hosted by Oracle.

The market is getting crowded with Web-based software and storage offerings. InformationWeek's Guide to Cloud Computing tells you what you need to know about the cloud computing strategies of Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and five other leading vendors, and Cloud Storage's Top Uses profiles five areas where new models pay off -- and three places where they don't (registration required).

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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer