In 2014, Enterprise Cloud is No Longer ‘The Future.’

Written by Zeeshan Naseh

It’s hard to find much consensus on any topic among tech industry analysts, but there’s one thing they all seem to agree on: Cloud computing will be a big, big deal this year.

Cloud stopped being a new phenomenon years ago. But for various reasons related to cost, security and management difficulty, the enterprise cloud market has perhaps been slow to warm up. That’s becoming less true with the emergence of cloud management providers who are knocking down the barriers to entry for companies of all sizes.

As Forrester analysts put it in their report last month, “cloud computing is no longer a ‘future’ but a ‘now.’” 

“Investments are up, enterprise use is widespread, and the hybrid cloud model has arrived,” they wrote.

In 2014, the analysts said, “traditional IT departments will stop asking ‘why cloud?’ and instead get busy integrating cloud into the existing portfolio, extending data center infrastructures with elastic cloud technologies, and consuming new bespoke platforms and private cloud solutions to back the moves by DevOps and line of business.”

IDC analysts agreed, predicting that cloud spending will surge by 25 percent, reaching over $100 billion. Said IDC: “This will be accompanied by a similar expansion in the variety of workload-specialized cloud infrastructure services, leading to new forms of differentiation among cloud service providers.”

Developer Survey Points to a Boom

Forrester said its latest surveys indicate nearly 50 percent of developers aligned with enterprise business units are already – or will soon – build aps in the cloud, and more than half consider private cloud a top infrastructure priority.

“This year, we’ll see cloud developers and infrastructure and operations pros tire of the squabbling, turf wars, and shadow IT buying and realize how much more they can accomplish with cloud when they work together,” the analysts said.

The surveys informed Forrester’s predictions for cloud this year. Among them:

  • SaaS (Software as a Service) becomes the standard for new apps. Even large enterprises are expected to tip a toe in the water by adopting at least an application service provider model.

  • The Internet of Things (IoT), also known as Machine-to-Machine, takes up residence in the cloud. Companies buy in to a truism: Analyzing billions of bits in real time is easier and faster in the cloud.

  • Security moves outside the perimeter. Enterprises are figuring out that, with mobility and BYOD, constructing a perimeter defense is too difficult. Forrester says they’ll look to cloud providers for assurance that data is safe in the cloud, and it’ll be up to those providers to use “Zero Trust” design protocols.

  • Cloud-to-cloud continuity gets serious. Forrester predicts that cloud-based disaster recovery will move toward employing multiple clouds for redundancy. Analysts recommend that enterprises dig into cloud providers’ policies to see what redundancy is provided and what it costs.

  • Open source solutions rise. The analysts say open-source cloud configurations are becoming the de facto cloud service automation approach. “Think you need an army of IT pros to manage thousands of cloud servers? Think again. Today’s open source automation tools let you put the principles of DevOps to work, whatever the size of your cloud,” they wrote.

See Some Common Threads Here?

Those who are paying attention will certainly find some common customer needs in the cloud predictions for 2014.

Enterprises seek to deliver new services to customers (whether internal or external) faster than ever. They’re struggling to digest and process unprecedented amounts of data, which requires elastic capabilities.

And, thanks in part to recent events involving our own government, they’re increasingly concerned about data security and integrity, and they question whether public cloud providers can be trusted to protect sensitive information.

Increasingly, companies will look to cloud management platforms to help them meet these demands with solutions that help them configure secure, elastic private clouds in minutes instead of months. And they’ll be looking for partners who don’t tether them to legacy technology.