I just love lists, particularly about predictions

Forrester’s Nick Heath has some predictions about how cloud computing might change in the coming year: 10 ways cloud computing will change in 2013 | ZDNet.  I like a good stake in the ground, so let’s set a reminder for June and see who’s pick-list was closer.  This is a nice distraction from reprinting old Christmas letters.  My thoughts, by the numbers…

1.) Business will get real about cloud costs

No.  I don’t think they will.  In my experience, most enterprises are still struggling to treat cloud or even a simple virtual deployment different from a physical, dedicated hardware deployment.  They’re still not getting serious about adopting standards, pushing back on outlandish requests and measuring the fully burdened cost of their investment.  Four words: time is not free.  Until the enterprise gets serious about measuring the costs properly and performing like-for-like comparisons, they cannot take the first steps in this direction.

2.) Attitudes to cloud service level agreements change

Again, I beg to differ since this is not at all up to the IT decision makers.  These attitudes are driven by the business, which by and large still sees every application as “critical.”

3) Development of enterprise apps on public cloud will be sanctioned

On this point, we agree.  In my view this is inevitable since the horses have left the barn.  IT either gets with the program or gets left behind.

4.) Cloud takes off for back-up and disaster recovery

Woah, two in a row!  Our clients are already leveraging public cloud resources for just this purpose.  I can only see it expanding throughout 2013.

5.) Cloud doesn’t have to mean commodity

I’m on the fence with this one.  Do I think these bespoke or high-end services will become more common offerings on the menu?  Yes.  Do I think they will be received kindly?  No.  I think we will see a few niche markets served well by this approach but the promise of the cloud is all about commodity and standardization.  I expect to see just a handful of success stories in this realm with no real threat to the commodity service providers.

6.) Amazon Web Services will have a fight on its hands

I’ll take this to mean Amazon will lose significant market share in 2013 to competitors like Google and Microsoft.  I don’t buy that.  Amazon’s margins are famous and product houses are currently having to play catch-up with the established standard in Amazon.  One of the most requested client requirements we observe in Automation and Orchestration is the ability to interface seamlessly with AWS/EC.  Maybe in 2014.

7.) Businesses will accept that not everything belongs in the cloud

Agreed.  This is a softball, though, since  businesses are barely accepting that ANYthing belongs in the cloud, even today (by this I mean the public cloud).

8.) Cloud and mobile will become one

Another winner.  This is probably his strongest point, too, since every wireless carrier I have spoken with over the last 6 months is in the middle of a project to ramp up their capability in this space.

9.) Businesses will acknowledge that virtualisation does not mean cloud

I will argue this point just to be contrarian.  Nick is, of course, correct: these two terms are not interchangeable.  That said, it’s more of an academic distinction for the business.  I don’t believe the business will take to the lesson plan.  I do believe the business will start insisting that all virtualized deployments behave like a cloud because that’s what they are pushing right now.  They want self-service and automation and they want it yesterday.

10.) Developers will realise development isn’t that different in the cloud

Nick is probably right here.  This one is more a matter of inertia than anything else.  Now that the concept of cloud has a head of steam, lots of customers and more than a few majors behind the cause the developer has no excuse.  Developers follow the money.

Final scorecard: 5/10.  I think Nick has half of these squarely in the win column.  For the rest, we’ll just have to see how my handicapping compares.  I’ve set a reminder for June 10, 2013.  If I am still around to write about it, I will explore my pride (or shame) then.

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