Five Cloud Predictions for 2012

Everyone has predictions for the coming year but when the CTO of a major Cloud provider speaks, you should listen. John Engates, Rackspace CTO, gives his 2012 Cloud predictions.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

I spoke with Rackspace CTO John Engates the other day about his 2012 predictions for The Cloud and Cloud adoption. I was excited to hear his predictions from a Cloud provider's point-of-view. Admittedly, I expected his opinion and view to be skewed by his proximity to the hosting business but to my surprise, it wasn't. He has a very realistic view of Cloud adoption. It is refreshing to meet someone in his position that doesn't have his head totally in the clouds or in darker places. Here are his five predictions for cloud computing and Cloud adoption for the coming year.

According to John, 2012 is the year of adoption of Cloud technology.

The Future is Mobile

The iPhone and iPad are the first true cloud devices.  You basically can't do anything but play Angry Birds on these devices without the Cloud.  Mobile devices will grow with the Cloud and vice versa.

The Clouds Will Open

Companies will recognize the need for more flexibility and interoperability in the Cloud.

No One Size Fits All  -(Hybrid model grows in popularity)

Companies will realize the benefits of "mixing and matching" cloud solutions and look at implementing a combination of dedicated and cloud (hybrid), public and private cloud, on-premise and off-premise solutions.

Cloud Doesn't Have to be DIY  - (Bigger role of managed cloud services)

Managing Cloud solutions can be complex and time intensive, especially for organizations with limited resources.  Managed Cloud services will take on a bigger role in 2012.

SaaS Options Fill Out

The "Dinosaurs" are dying, as big companies realize they need the Cloud to survive.  Large SaaS companies will start to build out their Cloud presence.  We're starting to see it with Oracle's recent purchase of RightNow Technologies and more acquisitions like this are likely to follow.

I'm generally not a fan of predictions. One reason is that industry observers, like yours truly, can say anything (and do) about what they think is going on in the industry that they're on the lunatic fringe of. Second, those who are involved, in the trenches, are often buried with work and can't make accurate predictions based on anything but how busy they are. Finally, people like John Engates are often too close to the business and the need to boost their profiles or sales to say anything but overly positive things about the industry they serve.

John is different. He has a clear view of the industry and he knows what the expectations and perceptions are. He admits that companies are confused about The Cloud and what it can do for them. He also knows that some of these same companies are going to be in real trouble unless they embrace the Cloud through managed services or some good consulting.

Just like Y2K, cloud computing has brought a lot of pseudo-experts out of the woodwork. My advice is to contact a real Cloud expert and find out what The Cloud and managed services can do for you.

John also agrees with me about Cloud security paranoia. That security paranoia is largely unfounded but just like connecting to the Internet back in the 90s, entering your credit card info into e-commerce sites or flying in planes versus driving in cars, perceptions change with time. Security is a major concern and we (John and I) understand that but you shouldn't allow your business to be paralyzed by security fears. Again, a discussion with a real Cloud professional will help you understand the risks and the myths.

So, where are you in your move to The Cloud? Are you paralyzed by fear or something else? Talk back and let us know.

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