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HotLink 2016 Predictions: 3 ways cloud pragmatism PLUS experimentation will dominate 2016

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of HotLink

3 ways cloud pragmatism PLUS experimentation will dominate 2016

The cloud market is rapidly growing and evolving, and its developments in 2015 have prepared the space for an even more interesting climate to take hold in the coming year. Since many companies in 2015 were already incorporating the public cloud into their business operations, especially through use cases such as cloud-based disaster recovery (DR), CIOs are highly invested in finding new ways for the cloud to help reap major financial rewards. Meanwhile, convergence between on-premise VMware infrastructure and public cloud resources became more important AND attainable than ever for IT organizations, spurring new cloud projects for some companies and piquing the interest of many more.

As we move into 2016, these trends set the stage for a landscape where both cloud pragmatism and experimentation reign. Below are three ways we expect to see these themes playing out:

1. While Amazon leads, vendor lock-in fears will make CIOs experiment.

It's no secret that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has gathered serious momentum in recent years, and its first-mover status will continue to have record-breaking growth and customer acquisition. As the new year progresses, AWS newcomers will still begin their journeys to the cloud by leveraging the service for non-critical workloads, but we'll also see Amazon hosting more mission-critical applications and production workloads. After all, when it comes to deploying non-critical workloads in the public cloud, early cloud adopters have already been there, done that and looking to move on.

Amazon's contenders will also win new users in 2016, with a primary differentiator on price. CIOs are constantly working to avoid vendor lock-in, and their first line of defense is to have alternative platforms in hand. Monopoly-conscious CIOs are increasingly considering options such as Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform while planning new leaps to the public cloud. Although low-priority workloads will realistically make up the first wave of interactions with such platforms, production workloads won't be far behind the trend, meaning Amazon should avoid getting too comfortable in its market-leading position given the financial resources of Microsoft and Google.

2. True business continuity in the cloud is finally within reach.

If you're part of a midmarket company that hasn't previously been able to afford data protection beyond basic backup solutions, adopting cloud-based DR is an easy - and profitable - choice for your team. In 2016, companies of all sizes will take the next logical step and access full business continuity in the cloud. The reasons why are obvious: building, testing and maintaining mirror sites is a seriously expensive proposition, and outsourcing comes with its own slew of fees and management issues - and now, a number of commercial options are available and proven. Thanks to the economics of the public cloud, cloud-based business continuity is dramatically more affordable than its legacy alternatives. It also offers flexibility to the organizations taking advantage of it, and the model supports a wider enterprise trend of paying for services only as they're needed.

3. Since hybrid rules the data center, unified management is critical.

While most CIOs have cloud computing as a top priority, few are choosing to go "all in" for hosting their full range of workloads in the cloud. As a result, hybrid will be the pervasive computing model in 2016 and beyond. And to make hybrid IT a cost-effective and practical reality for the enterprise, easy integration and a seamless operating model for on- and off-premise environments must become the norm. With the increase of cloud-based operations, hybrid management has to be first and foremost in the eyes of enterprise IT teams.

Rapid changes in IT and cloud computing trends have been the status quo for years, and the pace of innovation will continue into 2016. New players are constantly entering and exiting the market, and even for professionals deeply rooted in the cloud industry pivots can be tough to predict. However, as the public cloud grows beyond its roots as an IT vision and into its future as a mainstay of enterprise operations, CIOs will continue to find new ways to derive value from public cloud trends and services - and they won't wait for the market to settle down before they act.

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About the Author

Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of HotLink Corporation, has more than 25 years of enterprise software and technology experience at both Fortune 500 companies and Silicon Valley startups. Prior to founding HotLink, Ms. LeBlanc was founder and CEO of FastScale Technology, an enterprise software company acquired by VMware, Inc. 
Published Tuesday, December 29, 2015 6:34 AM by David Marshall
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