Looking back on 2013, a year of breakthroughs and swift evolutions across the technology sector, cloud services certainly attained a new level of acceptance. A confluence of shifts from both the technology side and the business front allowed many of the obstacles that hindered cloud adoption to be conquered. Boardroom conversations shifted from “why” cloud computing to “which” cloud service should we adopt.
A new wave of CTOs and CIOs became ambassadors for the cloud in 2013 as well and significantly transformed the cloud computing landscape by communicating the benefits and value of cloud computing to business leaders as a new paradigm, as opposed to just another “tech trend”.
The cloud had an array of advancements this year. First, the hybrid cloud took shape, as more and more companies realized the benefits of merging public and private clouds. While this is still a challenge for many enterprises, it will eventually become a seamless transition as companies become familiar with the concept.
Hybrid cloud also enabled a larger conversation about hybrid IT in relation to all aspects of IT architecture, not just the domain of cloud computing. As a result, we’ve witnessed the emergence of the total transformation of IT architectures and the role of IT itself, requiring both internal and external IT professionals, as well as hybrid IT deployments and services.
Meanwhile, cloud services such as Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS) continued to be a prominent trend this year. However, network as a service came into play in 2013, as new technology models rose. For example, software defined network (SDN), the shift to automation of network connectivity, emerged in the cloud computing space, enabling on-demand, automatic and self-provisioning of network elements.
Another important cloud-based trend that we continue to see year-over-year is the importance of using direct connects to optimize enterprise performance. An example of this is the recently announced relationship between Equinix and Microsoft, which enables cloud connectivity to Windows Azure via a direct connection. Direct connectivity also allows enterprises to bridge their cloud and data center strategies, allowing full integration between cloud services and internal applications, as well as flexible bandwidth through automated network provisioning, providing more consistent network performance than Internet-based connections.
However, the real stars behind the evolution of the cloud this year were the cloud players themselves. Last year, more than any other year, a swell of new cloud developers, providers and integrators sprang up, most with a firm eye on the enterprise space. The rise of VMware hybrid cloud services (VCHS) is a good example of what can be achieved as more enterprise grade public cloud service providers target enterprise segments and address hybrid cloud demands.
All in all, 2013 proved that cloud computing is a force to be reckoned with. It’s no longer just another “techy” trend, but it’s integral to business strategy and success, regardless of industry, vertical or company size.
As the cloud industry continues to transform, we’ll soon see the rise of the customized clouds, the further adoption of the hybrid cloud, as well as the prominence of open source software.
More on this to come.