Numerous developments in Cloud Computing will place it as the focal point of a convergence of technologies driving data consumption in 2014. These include the maturation of the Big Data market (driven in no small part by advancements in analytics), identification and security boons, and the increasing reliance on mobile technologies and the Industrial Internet (the Internet of Things).
The result is that the Cloud will be much safer and more expedient than before, while still offering its usual assortment of cost and resource saving benefits, along with the convenience of accessibility from anywhere in the world.
More importantly, the Cloud’s vitality as a central point of convergence for data technologies has the potential for substantially altering the nature of the IT landscape by revolutionizing (or perhaps dissolving) the conventional market for software, hardware and infrastructure, and revamping the way business processes are conducted.
Whether or not this latter trend fully emerges in 2014 or simply begins in earnest largely relates to the fate of these critical aspects of cloud computing.
SaaS is one of the most ubiquitous applications of the Cloud and could very well displace reliance on typical on-premise software in the near future. According to Forrester, “SaaS has overtaken on-premise in categories such as HCM, CRM, and collaboration. Solutions once available in multiple deployment models are now SaaS only.” The ability to deploy software anywhere at any point in time is difficult to beat, especially for organizations in today’s increasingly global economy. The rapid proliferation of mobile devices and the growing usage of this technology should make SaaS the most viable option for the enterprise, while advancements in SaaS-based disaster recovery should further spur adoption rates.
The validity of PaaS is also crucial, especially when one considers advancements in Cloud security. Not only can PaaS help accommodate the plethora of mobile devices readily employed at any given time, but it is also ideal for developing and testing applications faster and more agile than on-premise versions can. The degree of customization afforded by this service is invaluable for mobile and web applications.
Real-time, Advanced Analytics for Big Data
The analytics capabilities of Cloud Computing should revolutionize adoption rates for Big Data initiatives and for the Cloud in general. The Cloud is the ideal place for Big Data analytics for the simple fact that it offers extensive scalability and inexpensive storage without traditional hardware, infrastructure, and maintenance concerns. The real-time analytics capabilities of the Cloud will make Big Data much more valuable to the enterprise in a host of developments related to business, products, and services that are more feasible with celeritous access to insights. Such analytics are also integral for utilizing ‘small data’ and providing the business with relevant analysis of data applicable to daily use.
The Industrial Internet
The Industrial Internet will soon become a key aspect of Big Data with a steady influx of sensor and geographic data. The myriad data generated from an assortment of devices from mobile phones and tablets, automobiles, and even home appliances are suitable for Cloud storage and analytics. The emerging industry for the Industrial Internet should result in an array of new products and services that generate so much disparate data that it alone should substantially drive interest in Cloud computing. An article in Forbes states,
“Look for the Industrial Internet…to start transforming operations in 2014, as solutions combining intelligent machines, big data analytics, and end-user applications begin to roll out across major industries. Cloud computing applications will play a big role in creating the next generation of intelligent, software-defined machines.”
The security concerns that initially accompanied Cloud Computing have been largely eliminated due to advances in encryption and identity management, making public clouds nearly as practical as private ones. A number of security vendors are providing customers the opportunity to encrypt data before it reaches the Cloud, which greatly reduces security concerns since organizations will still be able to manipulate the necessary keys for access and modification. Additionally, enhanced identity management techniques enable companies to control who has access to the Cloud and when, in much the same way that these facets are controlled for on-premise data. These developments will enable organizations to effectively structure Cloud access and security in accordance with those for general business rules.
Hybrid clouds (which combine the best aspects of public and private clouds) will increasingly become the norm in 2014. Public clouds have made significant gains since their earliest inception and are viable for a variety of workload, offering schemes for software control that effect as much control as that for private clouds or on-premise applications. Still, the in-house feel of private clouds (which are ideal for IT development and testing and offer unparalleled security) can combine with the scalability and cost-efficiency of open-source, public clouds in a hybridized model to accommodate all concerns and provide enterprises with the best assets of each version.
Mobile technologies and the Cloud are intrinsically related to one another, since the Cloud functions as a means of accessing data via mobile devices regardless of location. The combination of these two technologies ensures that end users are never without their data. Additionally, there is a growing tendency for users to store data in their personal clouds, which will eventually require integration with organizational ones. The result is a shift in thinking regarding conventional networks, which are virtually obsolete due to the Cloud’s impact on mobile devices. Instead of concerning themselves with securing the network, organizations should focus on securing their data.
The availability of mobile devices and the variety of cloud types (especially personal clouds) reinforce the need for Cloud integration. Integration will be fueled via advancements in application programming interfaces (APIs) and integration options from vendors. The former includes ways to establish public APIs and individual conferences, so that the tendency to utilize the Cloud for Big Data will not duplicate the silo-based culture many organizations have experienced.
The increasing usage of the Cloud (especially for Big Data and the Industrial Internet) will produce a number of profound effects next year and beyond. One of the most tangible of these will be the empowerment of the customer, who will have substantially greater access to and means of engaging with organizations. Expect Cloud Computing to facilitate an ever growing number of mobile and web-based applications that optimize customer interaction and yield even greater amounts of data. Several organizations have already adopted this trend, with many more projected to do so – or fall behind – a in the coming years.
Lastly, it is worth noting that greater adoption rates of the Cloud, especially for software, platforms, and infrastructure, means a reduction in the need for typical on-premise applications. It likely will not be next year, but there may come a point when the means of delivering these vital pieces of information management to the enterprise no longer require bricks and mortar-housed physical products. Potentially, sales of tablets and mobile devices could stifle the sales of pcs. The impact of these trends will affect the industry in general but impact vendors first, as a recent InfoWorld article states:
“…these companies would argue that they’re in the cloud and ready to take advantage of this emerging market. However…they will do so at the expense of their traditional businesses. In some cases, for every $1 of cloud revenue they book, they may lose $2 in traditional hardware and software business.”