10 ways cloud computing will change in 2013

As enterprise steps up its use of cloud services analyst house Forrester has predicted how business use of cloud platforms and services will change next year.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Enterprise use of cloud services continues to grow - albeit from a small base - and in 2013 analyst house Forrester says many companies will begin deployment of private clouds.

As spending on cloud services and platforms picks up, the way businesses use such services will also evolve. Forrester has put together 10 ways its analysts expect attitudes surrounding cloud to change next year.

Business will get real about cloud costs

Organisations will start paying more attention to cloud costs in 2013, Forrester claims.

Cloud isn't always cheaper, it's just likely to be cheaper if organisations follow the right use model. To get the best ROI out of cloud services and platforms organisations need to model the cost profile of applications, monitor the resources they use and adjust any deployment to balance cost against performance, according to the analysts.

Cloud cost-monitoring tools like Cloudyn, CloudCruiser, Cloudability, Newvem and Rightscale, plus the cost-reporting tools from large cloud vendors, provide a way of doing these calculations.

Good cost management should also drive business' hybrid deployment, service selection, and discount schedule negotiations, Forrester says.

CFOs are likely to wake up to this opportunity to reduce the cost of cloud services in 2013, it predicts.

Attitudes to cloud service level agreements change

Organisations will realise that it is better to build the resiliency they need into the cloud-based apps, rather than the platforms they run on.

Taking this approach will allow organisations to stand more chance of getting the performance, availability and security they need, Forrester said.

The other advantage is not incurring the cost of negotiating a high SLA from a cloud vendor when only one in 10 of the apps deployed on a platform require that level of guarantees.

Development of enterprise apps on public cloud will be sanctioned

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams will accept that in-house developers will be using public cloud platforms to build apps.

Sanctioning development, rather than attempting to block it, will allow I&O teams to provide guidance on how to use these platforms securely and put in place appropriate oversight.

Cloud takes off for back-up and disaster recovery

Data that previously was cheaper to back up to traditional DR storage will be cheaper and easier to back up through a cloud-based disaster recovery system - where virtual machine data is replicated to a multi-tenanted cloud platform - as well as faster to recover, it predicts.

Part of the reason for the possible cost reduction is that a cloud-based disaster recovery system will be pay-per-use, eliminating the need for a capital investment to build a secondary DR site.

Cloud doesn't have to mean commodity

Cloud services might be renowned for running on low-cost, commodity hardware but 2013 will see a proliferation of services backed by high-end components, Forrester predicts.

As demand rises for market-specific cloud services and cloud vendors attempt to differentiate themselves it predicts a rise in services backed by non-commodity hardware.

The analyst house says the trend is already evident, in services backed by high-end GPUs and SSDs.

Amazon Web Services will have a fight on its hands

In 2013 Amazon Web Services will face stiffening competition for the cloud platform market that it currently dominates, with as much as 70 percent market share, according to Forrester.

It predicts challenges from Microsoft and Google, thanks to what it calls "significant improvements to their platforms". By the end of 2013 Forrester also expects there to be "at least three substantial OpenStack-based clouds building strong positions".

Businesses will accept that not everything belongs in the cloud

2013 will be the year that the idea that everything is going to go to the cloud will go away, Forrester predicts.

IT buyers will increasingly understand the strengths and weaknesses of cloud platforms and how they differ from traditional virtual infrastructures and hosting environments. Companies should recruit in-house developers with hands-on experience of these different platforms to help decide what workloads belong in which environment, it says.

Cloud and mobile will become one

During 2013 there will be greater convergence between mobile applications and cloud-based services.

Forrester predicts a growth in the already popular practice of connecting mobile applications to cloud-based back-end services that can elastically respond to demand from mobile clients. It says the practice also has the advantage of lessening the load and security risks of having this traffic connect to a business's datacentres.

Forrester analyst Glenn O'Donnell says "cloud plus mobile is a classic more than the sum of its parts combination".

Businesses will acknowledge that virtualisation does not mean cloud

Enterprise I&O departments will need to stop misselling virtualised environments as private cloud in 2013, Forrester says.

These virtualised environments are typically not private clouds, it says, as very few offer self-service to developers, fully-automated provisioning, standardised services or cost transparency. Instead they are mostly static virtual environments that drive workload consolidation, operational efficiencies and fast recovery.

In 2013 I&O teams should acknowledge that both have a place in the datacentre, according to the analyst house, and stop trying to sell one as the other.

Developers will realise development isn't that different in the cloud

According to Forrester's cloud developer survey the majority of languages, frameworks, and development methodologies used in the enterprise are also in use in the cloud.

There are few excuses for a well-trained developer to not be productive in the cloud, the analyst house says.

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