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Citrix: Predictions for Cloud Computing in 2012

 

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

Predictions for Cloud Computing in 2012

Contributed Article by Peder Ulander, VP of Product Marketing, Cloud Platforms Group, Citrix Systems

As 2011 comes to a close, ‘tis the season for predictions where we see everything from bold and far-reaching claims to more pragmatic predictions of what we can expect to see in the coming year.  The fun in all of this is the fact that cloud computing is still a wild, wild west style market where ideas can launch with great fanfare one minute and come crashing down only seconds later in a fiery mess, quickly to be picked apart by the illustrious "clouderati" contingent on Twitter.  While this past year has seen a tremendous amount of activity - from successful exits like SuccessFactors, Gluster, and Cloud.com to major failures like the Great Amazon Outage of April 21st - I believe that 2011 will pale in comparison to some of the exciting times we have in front of us in 2012.  Rather than pontificate on the great highs and lows of single points in time that we might see in the coming year, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the trends in technology that we see happening that will help shape the future of the cloud.

Cloud Optimized Virtualization Takes Shape

Virtualization has provided the groundwork for cloud architects to leverage hardware abstraction into highly flexible geographically diverse, scalable cloud environments. At the core to the explosion are new cloud services that are cloud optimized virtualization technologies, like Citrix XenServer, which is becoming the foundation for many of the world's largest clouds in deployment today. However, as we move into 2012 and the maturation of the cloud, we are now seeing additional features associated with these hypervisors like rich networking capabilities (provided by software like Open vSwitch) that can be leveraged by cloud computing users.  As the features beyond hardware virtualization mature on the hypervisor, this provides the foundation for highly adaptable cloud computing environments.

Public Cloud has set the Stage for Private Cloud

With numerous success stories around the growth and flexibility of public cloud providers, enterprises will be seeking to take control of their data centers again in 2012 and look at how they can take their Amazon EC2 proof-of-concepts into production on cloud infrastructure deployed in their own data center.   In 2011, we saw Zynga, one of Amazon's largest customers, make the transition with zCloud and build one of the most impressive private cloud deployments in the market.  Similar to how they pioneered social gaming and serve as an inspiration to game developers, Zynga will serve as an inspiration to other organizations looking to augment or adapt their public cloud strategy with a private cloud deployment.  Unlike last year's predictions where James Staten of Forrester declared 2011 the year where "You will build a private cloud, and it will fail," 2012 will see the emergence of private clouds that are based on the architectures and success of deployments in the public cloud realm. 

Distributed Storage on Commodity Hardware Penetrates the Enterprise

Storage in the enterprise has traditionally been expensive and tied to proprietary hardware.  In the cloud infrastructure we are seeing a rise in distributed storage leveraging distributed file systems on commodity hardware. This rise of distributed storage has opened up new opportunities for companies like ShareFile, Box.net and DropBox to create consumer-based, follow-me-data options on top of public services like Amazon S3 or CloudFiles from Rackspace.  These new services fit a model of delivering low cost, highly mobile data that would never have been achievable through classic enterprise storage and are quickly gaining traction beyond the consumer market and into the enterprise for follow-me-data solutions.  With this uptick in enterprise interest, 2012 will see private implementations of cloud-based storage systems start to take shape on-premise in the customer data center.  As this trend emerges, we expect to see a significant adoption of open source based systems delivering petabyte-scale distributed file systems like Gluster (now acquired by Red Hat) and Ceph, the open source file system led by the innovators at DreamHost. Also, unstructured long-term data object storage is growing at a substantial rate and tools like OpenStack Object Storage(code-named Swift) is an excellent solution for providing Amazon S3-like capabilities in your own data center.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Matures

2012 will represent, for many, the battle for the hearts and minds of developers and that battle will take place in the developer sandbox of PaaS.   Over 10 years ago this was a battle of the titans with the war raging on between Java and .Net as the dominant developer platform for the enterprise.  What once was seen as a locked up contest, the cloud opened up new architectures for faster, lighter weight languages that could be deployed at scale and with the extreme agility of the cloud.  As the cloud makes its way further into the enterprise, new languages and platforms will disrupt the landscape of old and give new opportunity to organizations focused on developer adoption.

When cloud computing was first talked about, the implication seemed to be that through some IT magic you could upload your apps and they would magically run without the hassles associated with traditional architecture. That vision is starting to become a reality as Infrastructure-as-a-Service combined with PaaS is handling many of the issues around auto-scaling and infrastructure abstraction. VMware's CloudFoundry has been very popular among application developers and Red Hat's OpenShift, Google's AppEngine, Microsoft Azure, EngineYard and Salesforce Heroku all offer support for a wide variety of applications to run in the cloud without redesigning them for distributed scalable architectures.  

Looking closer at that list of PaaS leaders, it is fascinating to see the role open source is playing in this segment.  Just like 10 years ago when open source helped build the Web, it is clearly a leading factor in where innovation and leadership is happening in the cloud.

Cloud Standards Will Still be a Hot Topic, but They Still Won't Be Here

In both recent reports from Forrester Research and presentations I've had a chance to participate in during Gartner's Data Center Conference in Vegas this past week, it has become very clear that we are still years away from any mainstream standards emerging around cloud computing.  We saw a lot of great activity in 2011 from organizations like DMTF, NIST and others around the topic of cloud standards.  That said, we are in the early days of the growth and adoption of cloud computing - standards groups are still uncovering market needs, especially as we are only starting to see real enterprise adoption happening now.  While I agree with Forrester that we won't see any real establishment of broad cloud standards before 2015, I do believe that by 2013 we will see significant attention focused on cloud security and the efforts  being put in place by the Cloud Security Alliance.

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About the Author

Peder Ulander is vice president of product marketing for the Cloud Platforms group at Citrix, overseeing the company's marketing strategy for its cloud infrastructure and server virtualization products.  Ulander joined Citrix in 2011 when the company acquired Cloud.com, where he was chief marketing officer.  Ulander has more than 15 years of marketing and sales strategy experience and has been named "The Most Interesting Man in the Cloud" by Cloudcast.net. 

Prior to Cloud.com, he was head of strategy for Pure Networks and helped drive its acquisition by Cisco, where he then went on to oversee the Seattle-based Consumer Networking Software group.  Ulander served as senior vice president of marketing at Sun Microsystems, where he managed the Solaris OS team and was responsible for launching Java into the open source market by re-licensing, building a community and launching the open source Java platform.  Ulander has also held a number of management positions at software companies such as MontaVista Software and Cobalt Networks.  He studied economics at Santa Clara University.

Published Wednesday, December 14, 2011 6:50 AM by David Marshall
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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 VMblog.com. Once again, with the help

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