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Symform Predictions: In 2013, we will take a cloud infrastructure reality check

VMblog Predictions

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013.  Read them in this series exclusive.

Contributed article by Margaret Dawson, vice president of product management, Symform

In 2013, we will take a cloud infrastructure reality check

The past 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. 

It's hard 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 corporate data. 

Here my top 3 predictions for 2013: 

1.   Distributed 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 solutions. 

2.   Service 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 overall.

3.   Cloud 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.


About the Author

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.

Published Thursday, January 03, 2013 6:45 AM by David Marshall
Comments - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 15, 2013 6:59 AM

First, I'd like to personally thank everyone for being a valued member and reader of VMblog! Once again, with the help of each of you, VMblog has been able to remain one of the oldest and most successful virtualization and cloud news sites on the Web

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