This being the first week of the year, a lot of people are looking forward to what the future may hold, and many of them see clouds on the horizon. Not storm clouds, but computing clouds.
Cloud Computing Journal reports predictions for The Future of Cloud Computing from eight leading industry figures, among them:
- "Developer communities and system integrators will defect, in growing numbers, from established enterprise software vendors," predicts Salesforce.com's Peter Coffee.
- "Both start-ups and enterprises will come to realize in 2009 that the middleware products they have been using in dedicated physical server environments just don't cut in the clouds ... Therefore, a new generation of application servers will grow in popularity among the mainstream of cloud users," forecasts Geva Perry of GigaSpaces.
- "Cloud computing requires a radically new way of thinking about technical quality," claims Keynote Systems' Ben Rushlo, who warns: "Companies that do not change will struggle in 2009."
Network World declares Cloud computing: Hot technology for 2009. But the journal warns, "Cloud technology is in its infancy, however, and enterprises would be wise to limit their efforts to small, targeted projects until the technology matures and vendors address a variety of potentially deal-breaking problems."
Industry analyst Gartner recommends making a resolution to investigate cloud in 2009, reports onestopclick. Although "the innovation may be at a confusing stage today" the firm concedes, "this should not deter CIOs from adding an 'experimental cloud-based application development' to their portfolio over the next year."
Striking a more sombre tone, Computerworld's Mark Everett Hall discusses How SaaS hurts a fragile IT economy. "SaaS is a drag on an IT economy that is already in low gear," he warns. "Net-net, there is a significant overall loss of IT workers as the SaaS economy grows." Not all commenters to his blog agree, though, arguing for example that, "The entire value of IT is that it allows work to be done for less money, and as long as corners aren't cut, keeping costs down is good."
Finally, for anyone wanting to know who the leaders are in cloud computing, two expert observers have compiled their own Top 20 lists of cloud vendors. The Cloud 20 is Nick Carr's list of 20 leading cloud computing businesses profiled in the newly released paperback edition of his book The Big Switch. Infrastructure expert blogger John Willis proposes an Alternate Cloud 20 List, unseasonably grumbling that Carr's list is "a good example of why he should stick to metaphors and not try and list top technology cloud companies."