Virtualization Technology News and Information
GigaSpaces: Cloud Trends – Today & Tomorrow


What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this series exclusive.

Cloud Trends – Today & Tomorrow

Contributed 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).

2012 predictions

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 cloud space:

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 well. 

Cost-Driven Application 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 

Nati 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 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 University, U.K

Published Tuesday, December 06, 2011 6:30 AM by David Marshall
Comments - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 4, 2012 7:07 AM

I'd like to personally welcome each and every one of you to the start of 2012! As we begin what will certainly prove to be a fantastic new year, I wanted to make sure to thank all of the loyal member's and readers of Once again, with the help

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