What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.
Cloud Trends – Today & Tomorrow
Article by Nati Shalom, CTO of GigaSpaces
As 2011 winds down, it is a good time to look to trends
shaping our industry - how they impacted technology this year and look toward
trends for 2012. A good place to start may
be with my 2011 predictions and see if my
previous (and initial) attempt at predicting held its own.
Recap of 2011 - Milestones
Private vs. Public Cloud - As I noted in my
recent post Public vs. Private Clouds I felt that during
2011 the debate around public vs. public cloud would become less interesting,
as most of the industry has come to accept there is a need for both
environments, and the more important issue would become how to make them work
well together. Rackspace's recent announcement about their plan to
support OpenStack based private clouds; shows that even public cloud providers
have fully embraced this idea.
OpenStack is evolving from a
movement into a viable reality - the momentum around OpenStack has gone through
ups and downs throughout the year as happens with every new technology. However
looking back, it appears that 2011 was a fairly successful year for OpenStack
with its first public cloud available already in the market. Dell and HP have started to offer the OpenStack
based cloud to their customers, as has Citrix.
Rackspace announced their plan to provide official support including for
those who want to build their own OpenStack environment, quite a big achievement
considering the short timeframe from when the technology was first introduced...with
still a long way to go, but the future looks promising - check out this survey in that regard.
PaaS adoption has been
happening at a slower pace than expected, despite the fact that the trend
remains consistent. For PaaS startups
2011 was a fairly significant year with the acquisition of Heroku by
Salesforce. Amazon, Red Hat and VMware all joined the PaaS arena; with Elastic Beanstalk,
the OpenShift initiative, and CloudFoundry respectively. This was a fairly
significant year for GigaSpaces as well, as we launched a new product in this
same domain that aims to completely change the way PaaS is being implemented
today (stay tuned...).
Google App Engine was the disappointment of the year by literally
killing GAE as we knew it with their new pricing model.
BigData has gone real-time.
There are many examples of this change in the market including Facebook's big announcement
on how they moved their batch-oriented analytics system to real time analytics. Twitter announced a launch of a new Real Time Analytics dashboard; while both join Google
and Yahoo who have already started to make this shift. Google has also
been transforming their web analytics framework into real-time. As I noted in my 2011
predictions, the entire debate around NoSQL and SQL didn't make sense, and
indeed we've seen quite a few announcements both from Cassandra and Couchbase on their support for
SQL-like query support.
In Memory Data Grids and the NoSQL/SQL debate have been less of
an either or approach, incorporating support for both approaches. At GigaSpaces,
we've launched our JPA support, and other Data Grid
implementations such as Infinispan and Gemfire seems to be heading in that same
direction, each adding different levels of SQL support. The interesting
development in this regard is that we were able to prove that you could
actually mix and match Document/Schemaless APIs with SQL APIs and have the flexibility
to choose the right language for the job (See online demo Same Data Any API).
All things considered, it's interesting to see how
closely the market matched these initial predictions, giving me the confidence
to do the same for 2012. There are a number of major trends shaping the market
currently. Following are a few of the areas that I see as being critical in the
iCloud everywhere - IMO the biggest
shift in Cloud is the fact that it's going to become pretty much invisible to most
end users as new mobile devices, operating systems, and applications start to
be designed with cloud support in mind. Apple iCloud and DropBox mark the beginning
of this trend. Using cloud for collaboration and synchronization is a killer
app for many of the consumer based apps. In 2012 we're going to continue to see
a big push of many SaaS-based offerings in that space toward rich client
support that uses the cloud as a backend and leverages the power of the new
generation of advanced mobile devices. The difference is that those clients won't
be just another frontend for the same web UI, but something that will run
almost entirely on the mobile device and will use more generic cloud services
for synchronization and collaboration. This will create the need for more
generic cloud services such as database as a service and other middleware
services that can interact directly from mobile applications.
Moving from Amazon-centric
clouds to Cloud Mashups - In 2011 we started to see new kinds of clouds
starting to pop up. Literally every hardware vendor (IBM, Dell, HP, etc.),
telco (ATT, Verizon, KT), and software provider (Oracle, Microsoft) are either
developing or already offer something in this space. Each one tries to maintain
a unique position to compete with Amazon either through SLAs, locality,
security, or being more open through the support of OpenStack. In 2012, this
movement is going to become even stronger as many of the players that have been
making the initial investments during 2011 will surge forward with solutions
for the market.
Microsoft finally gets it
with Azure - Microsoft has been around for a while with Azure
with somewhat marginal success mostly around its .NET user base, an approach
that is too narrow a play when it comes to cloud. Their cloud strategy is coming into focus
with the offering of a more ubiquitous cloud supporting technologies that were previously
unheard of on a MSFT cloud platform - such as Java, PHP and it wouldn't be too
far to assume that they will be supporting Linux applications in the cloud as
Management - It is still very hard to measure cloud costs,
specifically how each component of an application and architecture
contribute to cost. In a tight fiscal market, these cost factors are
even more pressing. Cost-driven application design patterns will start to
emerge, and will become an integral part of any design for cloud applications
just as scalability and performance are today. A new form of Cost Driven
Application Management (CDA) will start to emerge to provide better insight on
how our application behaves from a cost analysis perspective - Newvem is
a new startup in that space that already launched their private beta.
Mission-Critical Apps Move into
the Cloud -
As the industry matures there is no reason why we should draw the line for
cloud adoption at simple apps. The challenge will be mostly around performance,
latency, and ensuring continuous availability. A new class of middleware and
application platforms that are designed specifically for cloud environments
will become more popular to help in that transition. On the other hand, Java
and JEE specifically will finally become more cloud ready as I noted in an
earlier post - Java and the Center Stage.
Network Gets into Cloud API Stack -
While compute and storage have become virtualized to fit into the cloud, we
haven't seen much advancement on the network layer. Many of the networking providers
are now launching APIs to enable better control over the cloud network. Alcatel
recently announced an interesting cloud proposition in this domain specifically
targeting telcos. The idea is to use the
network as a vehicle for making distributed data centers look like one big
cloud, making it possible to better leverage existing assets and offer SLA
driven compute resources based on latency, location etc. Other cloud providers
are also starting to open their network APIs starting from the Load Balancer
down to the core switch. This opens up a new set of opportunities for
integrating these network APIs with the upper layer of the application stack.
More OpenStack Clouds - 2011 was the just
the beginning, 2012 will see more public and private cloud providers offering
support for OpenStack APIs with RackSpace, Dell, and HP already making public announcements
in this area. The interesting question in this regard would be how Citrix will
play out their CloudStack acquisition with its OpenStack strategy.
Outside of the cloud, there are
a few areas that I think will impact scale and scope of solutions. PaaS will
continue to be a growth area for business throughout 2012 - with broad
expansion beyond Google App Engine and Heroku. Big Data will also continue to transform
- moving beyond Hadoop with complete solution stacks with all the major
vendors. As this occurs, in-memory data grid and NoSQL will integrate for the
needs of the market as the complexity of Big Data applications and deployments
continues to increase.
I'd be interested in your thoughts about how the market
will grow and change in 2012 as well....there is a lot of change coming to our
industry and I'm thrilled to be part of the environment building the
architecture for this change.
About the Author
Nati Shalom - Founder and Chief Technology Officer
is the CTO and Founder of GigaSpaces. He is responsible for defining the
technology roadmap and the direction of GigaSpaces' products. Nati is also a
thought leader in Cloud computing and is the founder of the Israeli cloud.org
consortium. He has 15 years of experience with distributed computing and known
as an industry expert in building large scale deployments. As a software
visionary and industry leader, Mr. Shalom is a frequent presenter at industry
conferences. Nati holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Coventry