Every year as the calendar comes to an end, a new year invariably elicits statements, declarations, and discussions about what kind of year it will be. People proudly proclaim that this is they year they will lose that last ten pounds that has been hanging around, pundits make bold proclamations about the future of the political landscape, and industry professionals predict what the next wave will be to revolutionize their specific area of expertise.
For those of us who develop software, it has become clear that the prediction we need to be aware of is that 2013 will be the “boom or bust” year for all things cloud. Then again, that was also the same prediction we heard heading into 2012. And yet here we are again standing on the precipice of change. No one can deny that the last year saw great advances in the world of cloud computing, specifically the proliferation of the public cloud by companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Previously, cloud computing had been the province of smaller niche software companies and data storage centers. But as that business model showed gains in both popularity of adoption and profitability, the larger companies have finally committed their resources to capitalize on what has become a proven business model.
While mid-sized players in the private cloud arena such as VMware and Rackspace continue to offer greater efficiency and agility for specific end user needs, large global firms such as Oracle and HP are some of the new IaaS and SaaS players in what is a rapidly expanding landscape that is predicted to generate more than $40 billion in customer spending. And yet, Amazon is still holding nearly 70% of that market share.
Just a few years ago, this conversation was limited to offsite data storage and accessibility of that data by remote users. But with the rapid expansion of available cloud based web applications, file sharing platforms, and development of more such management tools by greater numbers of startups and boutique firms, the landscape has become littered with an overwhelming number of options for both early adopters of cloud technology and those looking to finally jump into the cloud.
After years of dealing with such a wide array of technologies and offerings from an endless list of developers, there has been a general shift in attitude towards the endless cloud debate. There have been too many expectations for too long, and the tipping point is fast approaching. Modern technology has become faster and more intuitive and accessible at a moment’s notice and end users will simply not wait much longer for a unified solution.
So while 2013 might not be the year the cloud finally dominates the IT world, it should bring about a firmer and more consistent public cloud offering. If it doesn’t, the multitude of private cloud players just may very well continue to dilute the market share of the major players and wreak havoc in an already confusing and diverse world of cloud offerings.
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