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2013: Year of the hybrid cloud

Hybrid clouds, cloud brokers, big data and software-defined networking (SDN) predicted to be the major trends in cloud computing in 2013.

By , Network World
December 03, 2012 12:08 AM ET

Network World - Cloud Illustration: Stephen Sauer

The time for dabbling in cloud computing is over, say industry analysts. 2013 is the year that companies need to implement a hybrid cloud strategy that puts select workloads in the public cloud and keeps others in-house.

"Next year has to be the year that enterprises get serious about having real cloud operations as part and parcel of their IT operations," says John Treadway, vice president at Cloud Technology Partners, a consultancy.

10 cloud predictions for 2013

Careers in the cloud

Treadway says that in the last year, he and his colleagues have worked with many large enterprise clients who have implemented half-baked, haphazard cloud infrastructure schemes - most of them private and developed in-house.

They have some virtualization, explained Treadway. And they may even have some automation. "But when you peel back the onion you can't find the type of cloud infrastructure where you can request a resource and have it provisioned automatically on the fly. There is still a lot of human labor involved in those processes," Treadway says.

He expects most of these in-house private clouds to be abandoned in favor of more strategic hybrid mixes of public cloud services and more commercially packaged private clouds services like those based on OpenStack standard or VMware's vCloud.

Prediction 1: Hybrid clouds will take off

"I'm convinced 2013 is going to be the year of the hybrid cloud infrastructure," says Tracy Corbo, principal research analyst at Enterprise Management Associates.

"Cloud infrastructure outages happen. That's a fact that is not going to change. So it only makes sense for an enterprise to take a look at the workloads they can put in the public cloud where there lies the bigger risk of outage and data loss and those that should be placed on a more controlled private cloud," Corbo says.

Meeting the challenges of hybrid cloud computing infrastructures

That hybrid infrastructure as a service (IaaS) split is likely to be divided between the systems of engagement (customer service systems, for example) and the systems of record (like back-end financials), explains Chandar Pattabhiram, former marketing executive at Cast Iron, a cloud integration company purchased by IBM, and currently vice president of marketing at Badgeville, a company specializing in gamifying cloud applications.

Hybrid cloud deployment is not a new concept. Research published by Gartner shows that the hype surrounding hybrid cloud reached its peak last summer. According to Gartner's research scheme, early adopters take on a technology at the peak of the hype cycle, then there's a period of disillusionment when stories of early adoption failures come out. That's followed by a slow adoption phase, when vendors begin delivering on second- and third-generation services. Finally, there's the phase where adoption becomes mainstream.

Amazon is still the uncontested leader in the public IaaS cloud space, with expectations that it will continue to pull down more than $2 billion annually in that market. But vendors with long and strong ties to the enterprise are all rolling out public offerings alongside their private cloud services.

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