Monday, May 28, 2012

Advances in Cloud Computing In the Past Two Years

The dizzying speed at which technology can move often leaves the casual observer baffled. One day something is space-age, think gesture controlled games consoles and TVs, the next it ‘comes as standard’. Cloud computing is now such a well-established technology that when Apple, Microsoft and Amazon talk about “keeping it in the cloud”, most techno-fans know exactly what they are talking about.
While indeed well-established, the bounds of advancement in all aspects of cloud computing and cloud solutions means that the whole concept can feel brand new. Though some are generally comfortable entrusting their media library to the Apple iCloud, there are many who shudder at not having their data on hardware they can hold in their hands, or on servers that they own.
Until recently there was some good reason for this; at the inaugural International Conference on Cloud Computing, held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2010, one concern that was repeatedly raised was that there was no security standard for cloud computing. While this didn’t necessarily leave data at risk, it was incredibly difficult to claim that security was anywhere close to 100% tight.
As well as security advancements, the last two years have seen a push towards cleaner inter-operability, with the Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) taking that very concept as their main remit. To try and keep pace with the evolving technology, both Europe and the United States have sought reassurances that cloud operators adhere to existing laws surrounding personal data with the United States even going so far as to instruct the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) to assess and provide authorisation to cloud providers.
Perhaps the most significant advancement in recent years has been the move towards ‘greener’ cloud solutions. Vastly increasing cloud usage has led to data centres becoming one of the largest electricity consumers in the developed world and so providers are keen to use methods such as ‘free cooling’ (where natural cooling is provided by wind or surroundings) and intelligent power allocation to cut down on costs but also cut down on carbon emissions.
There is little doubt, within the industry or without, that cloud computing provides a model for the way we store data in the future and has been a long-held ambition for many,with one industry insider pointing out that “you may not have to manage your own storage. You may not store much before too long.” Who said that? Steve Jobs. When? 1996

-by Telehouse

Current Market Trends and Future Opportunities

Since cloud computing seems to be on everyone's lips, it is very difficult to achieve what the latest trends and evolve in that direction. Sometimes it seems that there is more confusion than clarification. If a private cloud or hybrid? If you choose IaaS, PaaS or SaaS?

In previous articles, I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each technology of cloud. Now look at the latest trends in cloud computing. It is expected that both large companies and SMEs will adopt cloud computing technologies at an exponential rate.

I am generalizing here what I believe to be the top 5 cloud computing trends:
  • ·         IT departments will be forever changed. The IT infrastructure will be crucially transformed and new skills will be needed, thus pushing IT people to adjust themselves to this trend. The need for IT support will be reduced, but people will need to understand how to integrate the newest technologies in their companies and manage the cloud vendors.
  • ·         Cloud security will no longer be an issue. This is related directly to the first point, as IT professionals discover the fact that the managed cloud can be more secure than a physical  environment that is managed by your own IT staff that are responsible for many IT projects.
  • ·         Custom cloud computing services: Cloud migrations span from migrating from physical to SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.  This is a lot of ground to cover for an IT firm trying to be your cloud experts. Outsourced IT organizations will concentrate on automating very specific migrations and become the experts in those types of migrations. An example is outsourcing your exchange environment. This is one of the most painful cloud migrations and IT companies focus just on this type of migration offering services and automated software to make sure the migration is smooth and painless.
  • ·         Custom software development will shift towards the cloud. Legacy software applications will need to be refactored to run more efficiently on cloud environments. This will increase software development and outsourcing will experience a boom.
  • ·         Innovation – probably the most important one Innovation will drive down cloud computing costs, increase security and help with migration from physical to cloud. As cloud computing innovation continues it will be difficult to make the argument that companies should not move to the cloud.

Moreover, I also believe that an alignment of standards is necessary – so far there are organizations such as The Green Grid and Cloud Security Alliance, but a comprehensive guide/entity to which most cloud providers to adhere is yet to be created.

All in all, I believe that more businesses to will get over the fear of embracing cloud computing as IT directors start to fully understand how their businesses could benefit from this new technology. I am expecting an even wider cloud adoption with a more accelerated increase.

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