Where does Forrester see cloud computing in 2013?

James Bourne | Cloud Computing

With 2013 just around the corner, it’s not surprising to see many companies rolling out their 2013 tech predictions – and it’s even less of a surprise that cloud computing features heavily.

Analyst house Forrester has revealed its top 10 cloud computing predictions for next year, with all the contributors to the Forrester cloud playbook giving their view before narrowing down their insight to the best 10 enterprise cloud forecast.

These predictions include a waning of AWS’ cloud prowess, companies no longer fussing over service level agreements (SLAs), and a further convergence of cloud and mobile.

“We can stop speculating, hopefully stop cloudwashing, and get down to the real business of incorporating cloud services and platforms into our formal IT portfolios”, wrote Forrester analyst James Staten in a blog post.

The 10 predictions from Forrester are:

  1. We’ll finally stop saying that everything is going cloud: Specifically, people will become more informed about what is and isn’t cloud-applicable. “We now have enough understanding about what makes cloud platforms different from traditional virtual infrastructures to make architecturally sound decisions about which applications to move to the cloud”, noted Staten.
  2. Cloud and mobile will converge: More mobile apps connecting to cloud-based services, as well as almost every SaaS (software as a service) application having a mobile client makes this an important trend according to Forrester.
  3. Cloud service level agreements (SLAs) will become less important: There have been plenty of news stories related to SLAs, or whether a 99.95% uptime is attainable compared to a 99.99% uptime. Yet according to Forrester, “what’s the value of having your sourcing and vendor management team negotiate a high and tight SLA from the cloud vendor when only 10% of the applications deployed there need that level of protection?”
  4. Cost modelling to achieve greater ROI will gain prominence: Forrester’s belief is that the cloud is cheaper, but only with the right use model. “Do the math, understand the economics, and monitor and optimise as your use evolves”, Staten warns, adding “you no longer have an excuse for not managing your costs”.
  5. Development teams will be free to build apps in the cloud: This will come about as a result of infrastructure and operations (I&O) becoming “comfortable with the fact that development on public clouds is going to happen whether they like it or not”.
  6. Cloud as a disaster recovery tool will take shape: Forrester advocates against the pay-per-use pricing model, declaring “pretty soon, we’ll wonder why we ever maintained our own long-term cold storage”.
  7. Cloud does not equal commodity: In other words, even though many cloud services are highly standardised, standard does not mean commodity. Certain non-commodity elements such as cloud services backed by high-end hardware are a sign of this.
  8. Nor does cloud equal AWS: Forrester predicts Microsoft and Google will start to claw back the lead Amazon Web Services has in the cloud platforms market.
  9. Cloud does not equal advanced virtualisation either: According to Staten, I&O departments should be “happily bipolar”, in that an optimised virtual environment and a private cloud both have parts to play in the data centre.
  10. Developers will become more accustomed to working in the cloud: Forrester’s cloud developer survey showed that most frameworks and languages in use now are perfectly fine in the cloud, and that there isn’t one cloud-best language out there.

Perhaps it’s something of a surprise that people think AWS is synonymous with cloud, although studies like the IDC research in July concerning companies who used AWS making substantial cost savings over time may contribute to it.

Similarly, it will be intriguing to see whether the SLA debate will go away, of course in part fuelled by Amazon’s EC2 cloud going down for several hours this year.

Which predictions do you agree with? Are there any you disagree with? Find out more about the cloud, mobile and enterprise melting pot at Apps World North America, on 7-8 February 2013 in San Francisco.

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