Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013. Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.
Contributed article by Margaret Dawson, vice president of product management, Symform
In 2013, we will take a cloud infrastructure reality check
year was about record growth of digital data, cloud utilization and the
infrastructure build out to support both of those. On the data frontier, IDC now estimates that
we will hit 40 Zettabtyes by 2020 - and I expect them to keep upwardly adjusting
that forecast. As we entered 2013, we were managing over 500,000 data centers
worldwide, according to Emerson Power, encompassing square feet equivalent to
6,000 football fields. And there are
plans for massive new DCs by not only cloud giants Google, Facebook and Amazon
but private companies and co-location companies.
to not be cynical about the massive centralized data center infrastructure
companies invested and built in 2012, not to mention all the current expansion
plans, to support cloud computing initiatives, which ironically are solutions
leveraging the backbone of the Internet that is inherently decentralized. The reality is that even if we continue at
the current pace of expansion, we will not be able to build enough centralized infrastructure
to support the amount of data we are creating and needing to store. According to the IDC Digital Universe Study, we will see a 60 percent gap in data
created versus infrastructure to store it by 2020.
What does this mean for enterprise IT?
I believe there will be a reality check in 2013 by both vendors and internal
IT to look for improved ways to manage, secure, store and enable access to
Here my top 3 predictions for
and decentralized approaches move beyond the lab: Just as virtualization a few years ago enabled a
fundamental shift in how we leveraged our computing space, new architectures
and models that use distributed and decentralized approaches will create a
similar shift in data management in 2013. The open source community is helping
this movement, but in the coming year, it will go beyond experimentation and
early adopters, and gain broader acceptance.
Big Data and cloud will help drive acceptance. Enterprises
will embrace solutions that enable parallel processing, distributed databases,
agile storage and highly scalable architectures. The big winners here will be the Hadoop
ecosystem, Mongo DB and other open source No SQL databases, Openstack and other community open cloud
platforms, such as Eucalyptus.
Part of this movement will also be driven by an attempt by companies to
be more "green", to better utilize existing infrastructure, and, perhaps most
importantly, to achieve higher global resiliency. Companies will also invest
more in co-location facilities, such as Savvis or Switch, rather than building
own their own data centers, even when implementing private cloud
Level Agreements Become Main Cloud Value Proposition: While
100% uptime is as unrealistic as bug-free software, cloud infrastructure
suffered a black eye in 2012 with high profile outages. The year ended with another one, as Netflix
took the brunt of yet another Amazon Web Services outage on Christmas Eve, just
as millions of subscribers were ready to hunker down and stream hours of Dr.
Who episodes (or maybe that was just at my house!). Regardless of whether the outages were part
of a normal occurrence or not, enterprises will not tolerate the high costs of
cloud infrastructure with unreliable SLAs.
Over the past year, we already got over the reality that cloud is not
always the cheaper alternative, and this year, we will further discard "low
cost" as the key value link for cloud and look to service levels, redundancy and
security as our main value levers. In
doing so, we will see companies willing to pay a premium for higher SLAs and
global resiliency (yep, this is also part of that distributed strategy - don't
put all your eggs in a single data center region!). In addition to putting pressure on the cloud
providers, companies will get smarter about how they architect their
infrastructure as a service on cloud provider platforms, building in greater
failover and redundancy, as it's not always the cloud's fault, and this will
focus not only on improved disaster recovery but just better reliability
Storage Gateways and Hybrid Clouds Take Off: As part of the move to better use what we already have and expand existing
infrastructure to the cloud, while managing our growing data, we will see
strong growth in the currently nascent cloud storage gateway and hybrid cloud
markets. Vendors that make this easy for
their customers will gain ground, particularly those that embrace more open API
infrastructure as opposed to forcing companies to write to proprietary
interfaces. Movements toward this
include Microsoft's acquisition of StorSimple in 2012, and actions by major
traditional hardware vendors such as HP, Citrix, Dell, and major network attach
storage (NAS) vendors, to embrace the cloud and extend their on-premise devices
to cloud services. Customers, especially SMBs, will increase investment in
local storage solutions that include a cloud storage or online backup component. This
hybrid cloud storage strategy will prove itself in 2013 and start to move
beyond the SMB to the enterprise segment, although large companies will still
prefer a private over public cloud implementation. Capabilities such as
single-sign-on (SSO), strong data encryption, and overall storage management
will become more critical with this trend.
Margaret Dawson is a
20-year high-tech industry veteran and cloud expert. She
is a frequent author and speaker on cloud computing, big data, network
security, integration and other business and technology themes. Currently,
Margaret is vice president of product management at Symform, a distributed,
peer-to-peer cloud backup provider.