Virtualization Technology News and Information
CloudSwitch: Cloud Predictions for 2011

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this series exclusive.

Contributed Article By John Considine, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, CloudSwitch

Cloud Predictions for 2011

Since 2007 I have been convinced that cloud computing has the potential to change the way enterprises think about their infrastructure and the services they deliver to their customers. I have had the good fortune to spend the last few years working with the great team here at CloudSwitch, the cloud providers, and many enterprises who are embracing the cloud. When we started CloudSwitch, we often had to educate people about what a cloud is and why it has value; fast-forward to today, and we're helping our customers use it to solve real business problems. I've been amazed at how quickly many of the transitions have been, and have great expectations for the next few years.

Where 2010 was the year of initial evaluation, 2011 will bring real usage of clouds. Enterprises will move from proof of concept and limited deployments to true utilization and production applications. Key to this transition is the adoption of hybrid clouds that provide true integration between the data center, internal clouds, and public clouds.

Based on what we've learned in 2010, here are a few predictions for the coming year.


Continued advancements in this space by VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, and RedHat, as well as Intel and AMD have crossed a significant barrier in functionality and performance.  The traditional position of "why virtualize this workload?" will shift in 2011 to "why not?" Enterprise IT organizations will address the growing scale and importance of their virtualized infrastructures by building and supporting larger virtualization footprints and bringing new management techniques online. The good news for virtualization leaders as well as startups is that IT departments will have real pain and require real solutions.  This will lead a number of companies to build.....

Private Clouds

The energy in this space during 2010 was out of control. The incumbents as well as a large number of startups have staked ground in the private cloud space this past year, with companies like VMware, Microsoft, Eucalyptus,, Nimbula and others building solutions to turn your internal system into a cloud. However, as James Staten predicted, many of these efforts will fail. It's clear that the technologies are new, and building a scalable distributed system is very complex.  IT departments building private clouds in 2011 can expect to see: 1) Positive results at smaller scale but partial or total failure at high scale, 2) Confusion over core infrastructure architectures (networking and storage), and 3) Clashes between existing data center architectures and the new private cloud requiring changes up and down the stack (including application development, core infrastructure, and management techniques). All and all, a big investment, so a number of enterprises in 2011 will look to.... 

Public Clouds

There are several public clouds "ready and tested" that offer a place to get things done while companies build their new internal infrastructures. Over the last few months of 2010, we have seen a number of large companies going to the public cloud because they don't want to wait for the private cloud to be completed. I think this trend will continue strongly into 2011 - enterprises have work to get done, and their developers and business units are already pressing the limits of shadow IT into the cloud.

I expect another round of public cloud providers to enter the market in 2011, including bigger and better offerings from the likes of Microsoft, the telco's, and existing MSP/colo providers.  These companies have been building their cloud infrastructure technologies for the last year or two and are on the brink of releasing their new offerings. Towards the end of 2011 I think we will start to see more attention to quality of service, SLA's, and compliance. Early indications from the likes of Amazon with their GPU clusters, from Terremark with their higher performance storage, and Savvis with multiple tiers of performance show the way to differentiated services. Much of the activity in 2010 has focused around development and test use cases, but this is expanding to a broader range of workloads. Of course, as more production apps are targeted at the public clouds, there will be an increased focus on....


In 2011, we will see virtual appliances (software versions) of networking gear from all of the network vendors. Because of the advances in virtualization outlined above, many of the functions of the network providers (firewalling, VPN, load balancing, WAN optimization, WAN security, etc.) can run in virtual machines. While dedicated hardware appliances will still rule for large data centers, remote offices and cloud will drive the software appliance. We have seen a number of virtual appliances released in 2010, and this trend will expand to cloud versions.  Now with external cloud deployments, the topologies and amount of traffic being distributed is increasing rapidly. This will lead to everything from new switching/routing models (think OpenFlow) to new deployments of WAN optimization and networking services to keep up with traffic demands.

At CloudSwitch we're looking forward to an even more eventful year in the cloud as we gear up for 2011. We've been privileged to work with many early adopters and market leaders who have helped us make the cloud a reality for enterprises.  

About the Author

John Considine brings two decades of technology vision and proven experience in complex enterprise system development, integration and product delivery to CloudSwitch. Before founding CloudSwitch, John was Director of the Platform Products Group at Sun Microsystems, where he was responsible for the 69xx virtualized block storage system, 53xx NAS products, the 5800 Object Archive system, as well as the next generation NAS portfolio.

John came to Sun through the acquisition of Pirus Networks, where he was part of the early engineering team responsible for the development and release of the Pirus NAS product, including advanced development of parallel NAS functions and the Segmented File System. John has started and boot-strapped a number of start-ups with breakthrough technology in high-performance distributed systems and image processing. He has been granted patents for RAID and distributed file system technology. John began his career as an engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Published Tuesday, December 21, 2010 5:56 AM by David Marshall
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