2014: Cloud joins the formal IT portfolio

In 2013, enterprises got real about cloud computing. In 2014,we will integrate it into our existing IT portfolios -- whether IT likes it or not. See Forrester's 10 predictions for cloud computing.
Written by James Staten, Contributor

In 2013 enterprises got real about cloud computing. In 2014 we will integrate it into our existing IT portfolios - whether IT likes it or not. 

The moves by DevOps and line of business aren't going to stop and can't be ignored. So 2014 will be the year IT Ops relents, stops fighting and gets with the program formally by developing real strategies for embracing the cloud, managing cloud-based application deployments and empowering the business to keep being agile.

As the Age of the Customer arrives, all the focus shifts to the Systems of Engagement and the agility in refining these critical customer tools. Cloud technologies and services represent the fastest way for the business to reach new buyers and breathe new life into aging applications.

In 2014 cloud leverage will be both traditional and disruptive as the business and IT put cloud to work.

Below are the top ten cloud actions we predict will happen in enterprise IT environments in 2014. Recommendations for what Forrester clients should do about these changes can be found here. Our predictions are:

  1. SaaS becomes de facto for buying new applications. SaaS has overtaken on-premise in categories such as HCM, CRM, and collaboration. Solutions once available in multiple deployment modes are now SaaS only (i.e., Oracle RightNow and SAP Ariba seldom offer on-premise any longer). The hold-outs: large enterprise suites are still not available in a true SaaS mode but are increasingly shifting to at least an ASP model.
  2. Public Cloud will be the default backbone for IoT - Whether consumer-led with FitBit, Nike FuelBand and Samsung Gear, or enterprise-led with sensors, medical devices and transportation, the Internet of Things (IoT) will generate billions of data points in 2014 and aggregating this data and acting on its findings will best be achieved by capturing, analyzing and responding from the cloud. If you want to analyze billions of inputs in real- or near real-time, you won’t want to drag the data all the way back to your data center. A longstanding mantra in BI has been that it’s easier to move the compute to the data, than the data to the compute. With cloud-based Hadoop and SaaS-based BI solutions proliferating, it’s becoming hard to justify bringing this data down to analyze it.
  3. The Service Catalog Becomes The Strategic Cloud Entry Point - SaaS applications will become standard portfolio elements and centralized IT procurement and management processes will rise up to support them. At the heart of these processes will be the service catalog, a place not only to define, advertise, and price the services IT delivers, but the vehicle to empower cloud consumers and IT pros alike through self-service, single sign-on, and centralized delivery. Service catalogs will go beyond the “how” of cloud delivery and engage the business consumer to decide “what” should be delivered and “when.” The cloud service catalog is where enterprise governance, cost transparency, and end-to-end value chain management come together.
  4. Perimeter security shifts outside the perimeter, where it belongs - The combination of cloud and mobility, predicted and proven in 2013, means there's no longer a perimeter to your business you can control. Even if you tried to enforce perimeter controls they would not be very effective as so much of the work is shifting outside your perimeter to the public cloud. Additionally, users have so many devices now that you can't enforce device security such as NAC as the management overhead is too daunting. The focus needs to shift from protecting the network and the devices to protecting the data with a Zero Trust security model. With the network perimeter shrinking and the devices proliferating, your data is the one thing you can control.
  5. Australia rises to the No. 2 public cloud computing market - While Europe is certainly the #2 market if taken as a whole, Australia, as a country, is quickly taking up public cloud computing services. As with virtualization, smartphones and other technologies, Australia is a very fast follower once the technology has established its value in the US and Europe. Such is quickly becoming the same for public cloud services. And before you think that it will be China, note that our research shows that market still in the virtualization and consolidation phase.
  6. Cloud-to-cloud continuity will get serious with SaaS. Disaster recovery (DR) is a leading driver for public cloud use, but mostly by enterprises looking to improve the resiliency of mid- to low-end apps and for smaller companies putting their entire recovery strategy in the cloud. But in 2014, cloud-based DR will go cloud-to-cloud.  The first phase will unfurl in the next year with cloud-to-cloud backups for mainstream SaaS offerings. In the SaaS market, enterprises struggle to restore data with steep recovery fees (or in some cases, total lack of service) by their SaaS vendors. A new market of backup solutions is rising to meet this need with early solutions from Backupify and Spanning.  These offerings automate the protection of critical data that is stored with SaaS providers so organizations can recover this data if it is accidentally, or maliciously, deleted.
  7. Chef and Puppet will usurp commercial automation solutions - With the rise of public cloud platforms, these open source configuration automation solutions already dominate on GitHub, driven by developers and developer-focused IT operations (DevOps) teams alike. In 2014 we predict that more new server workloads will be scripted, documented, and replicated automatically by these tools than by BMC, CA, HP, IBM and other proprietary automation solutions combined, putting the fortunes for these tools at risk. Open source server configuration automation is quickly becoming the de facto cloud service automation approach, and will dominate the management of elastic cloud workloads.
  8. Bring-your-own-encryption will dominate the security discussion in 2014. One of the top trending inquiry topics hitting our cloud and security analysts lately are about cloud encryption solutions for AWS and Salesforce.com. You can thank the US NSA for popularizing this trend. Clients are asking for recommendations on offerings that encrypt data before it hits the cloud service and lets the enterprise control the keys. Encryption covers a multitude of sins, and by encrypting the data before it hits the cloud, companies effectively strip the toxicity (and the liability) from the data. There is increased interest in using technology from companies like CipherCloud, AlephCloud, PerspecSys, Skyhigh Networks, and Vaultive to encrypt corporate in-line data *before* it goes to the cloud. Also, look for larger vendors such as HP, Cisco, VMware and IBM to acquire some of these intriguing startups in 2014.
  9. Cloud security will be much more centralized and automated.  If you're resisting the cloud because of security concerns, you're running out of excuses. The leading public cloud providers have made strong gains in security and compliance, and there are few workloads completely off-limits for public cloud anymore. At the same time, securing private clouds has become safer, more reliable and easier to control through advanced management tools like HyTrust. We’ll see cloud security vendors like CloudPassage, JumpCloud and Illumio - letting you articulate cloud security requirements in executable automation of business policies. Enterprises will achieve better security this way than on their own.
  10. Enhanced virtualization and private cloud become separate initiatives. Private cloud is the go-to term to describe everything above basic virtualization -- regardless of whether it meets the basic private cloud requirements. In 2013, Forrester saw four types of private cloud initiatives. The most common was enhanced virtualization which does not satisfy the growing cloud expectations of the business. But this initiative is important to the maturation and efficiency of IT ops and be done because it improves deployment consistency and agility from 2 weeks to 2 days. As a result in 2014 the enhanced virtualization initiative will be separated from the effort to build a private cloud.

James Staten is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure and Operations Professionals.

The following Forrester analysts also contributed to this research: Lauren NelsonDave BartolettiRachel DinesLiz HerbertJohn RymerJohn Kindervag and Andras Cser

Editorial standards