The year 2011 started off remarkably cloudy.
In the wake of Amazon’s investment in cloud services, almost every major IT company entered the fray with their own cloud based services based on their existing products or services. Apple released the iCloud, IBM released the SmartCloud, Dell kick-started vStart, and HP launched the BladeSystem Matrix. These are some of the big brands that entered the fray. There are many more hitting the cloud landscape every day.
With so much activity in the cloud, experts noticed several cloud computing trends emerging in the market.
- Outage prevention demand exceeds supply – Providers of cloud services need to ensure that their applications and services stay up all the time. The critical disadvantage of the cloud is that even a minor outage can take down an entire network and freeze work around the world. With so much importance placed on infrastructure maintenance, outage prevention became one of the most valuable services in the cloud market. The demand for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) vendors providing outage prevention services has far exceeded the supply. 2011 witnessed many major outages such as Sony Playstation, Twitter, Gmail and Blogger.As inconvenient as they can be, it’s worth mentioning that outages are a fact of life for any computer based system. Most cloud services providers guarantee 99.99% uptime, but across a system as large and distributed as some cloud services providers, that .01% translates to hours of downtime per year. This is expected behavior and not something that should frighten businesses away from considering cloud services as an alternative to more traditional, locally maintained, client-server computing models. In most cases businesses will actually gain uptime and productivity compared to a locally managed network model.
- Early consolidation vs. proliferation of new entrants – The cloud’s first settlers gained enough momentum to acquire and consolidate several other cloud services, but the cloud has many new entrants. This will result in a complex market structure with the market unlikely to result in small groups of dominant players.
- Rise of open source cloud computing – The open source cloud computing solutions are innovative in their approach. Dell’s demonstration of the OpenStack environment drew in many interested consumers with their free to use platform while you had to pay for their consultant services for design and management. If open source cloud solutions demonstrate reliability they may be a solid alternative for businesses seeking to update their computing environment.