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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

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"All of these moves just point to the eventual realization that software-defined networking is just going to collapse back into a new definition of networking that is going to evolve in 2013," says Terremark CTO John Considine.

Prediction 6: Gamification will drive sales and customer service.

Gartner predicts that by 2014, 70% of all Fortune 2000 companies will have at least one cloud-based application that employs game theory to influence employee or customer behavior. According to Badgeville's Pattabhiram, many of them already do, and next year will simply be the year that people sit up and take notice of how effective those applications are in driving business opportunity.

Gamification is the concept of applying the psychology of game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun, engaging and addicting. The psychological carrots include the need for public recognition and the thrill of competition. The applications in the business world include boosting sales, encouraging collaboration and information sharing among employees and partners, and increasing customer service satisfaction.

There are more than 50 gamification products, platforms and services available on the market including Badgeville, BunchBall, Crowd Factory, Gamify.it, Hoopla, Kudos, Objective Logistics and Rypple (a Salesforce.com company) to name only a very few.

Pattabhiram contends that the potential benefits of gamification to the enterprise, should it be implemented next year, are behavior management, rewarding participation, controlled social mechanics and behavior analytics.

Prediction 7: Hybrid security options will bloom

IDC security analyst Phil Hochmuth has no doubt that there will be security breaches in the cloud next year, whether we get wind of them or not, mainly because of the fact that using hard-to-control mobile devices is the dominant means by which employees are accessing the cloud.

"That is one of the biggest reasons we are seeing most vendors take on a hybrid delivery model for their security products," Hochmuth says. Under this scheme, security vendors are offering - and enterprises are deploying - the traditional appliance-based security products for on-premise access and then enlisting a SaaS product - most of the time from the same vendor to help facilitate unified security management policies -- to shore up secure access from mobile clients. IDC predicts that over the next three years, hybrid deployments will comprise 60% of all deployments, a market the firm says will balloon to $3.3 billion by 2016.

Prediction 8: Data sovereignty issues will multiply

Controversy about the jurisdiction and legality of data stored in the cloud and outside of a customer's home country will erupt as cloud adoption grows in 2013, says Jim Reavis, executive director of the Cloud Security Alliance.

But don't expect government policy changes to help mitigate the problem, Reavis says. Greater customer awareness of data residency options, such as format-preserving encryption, will help mitigate these concerns and technological innovation will have a greater impact on solving this global policy question than government action.

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