Cloud

How my 10 cloud predictions for 2012 panned out

Nicos Vekiarides is CEO and co-founder of TwinStrata.

About a year ago, I authored a post predicting ten hot trends in cloud data for 2012. While there’s a strong temptation to cast old predictions into ancient history and dive into ten predictions for 2013, I felt it more appropriate to first glance back and reflect on how those past predictions fared.

After all, much can transpire over the course of 12 months — hot technologies cool off, fads pass, buzzwords vanish, and, of course, some technologies really stick. So let’s take this opportunity to revel in success or eat humble pie.

Without much ado, here are the predicted 2012 trends and how they fared:

1. Hybrid data storage environments that integrate cloud storage into on-premise IT.

2012 brought key validations by cloud service providers of hybrid storage environments via product roll-outs and acquisitions. These included the introduction of the AWS storage gateway and the acquisition of StorSimple by Microsoft.

Verdict? Hybrid data storage is clearly big. You’ll hear a lot from us at TwinStrata after the end of this year regarding hybrid cloud storage adoption, so stay tuned.

2. Private cloud environments within enterprise companies.

While managed private-cloud solutions such as Nirvanix have demonstrated continued success, open-source clouds for the enterprise do-it-yourselfers have not quite emerged as viable alternatives. Moreover, factions have emerged between OpenStack and CloudStack for supremacy in the open-source cloud space, perhaps complicating decisions.

Verdict? The jury is still out. Keep an eye on this space to see how 2013 shakes out.

3. Disaster recovery to the cloud as a viable option.

Demand for disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) in the cloud has not waned. In fact, there has been more business and enterprise adoption of cloud DRaaS requiring no dedicated infrastructure — though buyers should beware of dedicated hosted disaster recovery parading as cloud disaster recovery.

Verdict? Progress, but the best is likely yet to come.

4. Disaster recovery from the cloud as a new need.

Not surprisingly, 2012 brought its share of cloud outages. In spite of these, cloud-to-cloud disaster recovery and off-cloud disaster recovery remained the exception rather than the norm.

Verdict? Maybe 2013.

5. Simplified on-boarding of applications to the cloud.

With vendors like VMware, DynamicOps, Citrix, VMTurbo, and others extending virtual on-premise workloads to the cloud and vendors like Racemi and RiverMeadow pulling on-premise workloads to the cloud, the option to migrate apps to the cloud has become more viable. According to a recent nCircle survey from November, the majority of respondents outsource less than a third of their infrastructure to the cloud.

Verdict? The cloud move is happening, but on-premise infrastructure still comprises the vast majority.

6. Non-relational databases for big data.

With Oracle entering the fray of NoSQL databases in 2011, it was a safe assumption that the technology was making early strides. A few successful deployments and the funding of DataStax are are indicative of burgeoning interest.

Verdict? Still early, but another technology to watch in 2013.

7. Use of the cloud for analytics.

With Google BigQuery joining Amazon Elastic MapReduce to help companies analyze their “big data” in the cloud, offerings including those from specialized analytics vendors are proliferating. According to Forrester, 38 percent of all companies from a recent survey are planning a business intelligence SaaS project before the end of 2013.

Verdict? It’s on the way.

8. SSD tiers of storage in the cloud.

During the summer, Amazon launched larger AWS instances employing SSD. Also in October, Rackspace launched a tier of high-performance block storage using SSD.

Verdict? SSD storage tiers are now available. Watch for the uptake in 2013.

9. Improvements in data reduction technology to address large rich media files.

While deduplication has surfaced in a range of primary and backup storage products, the struggle still remains with rich media (video and images) which typically do not reduce well. To be fair, companies such as SeaChange have added deduplication to their media-centric products.

Verdict? Capacity and bandwidth remain the kings of media for now.

10. “Cloud-envy” from cloud laggards.

I predicted that some of the laggards will likely seek ways to leverage cloud methodologies that improve IT efficiency. I also predicted some will fall prey to cloudwashing by purchasing traditional IT infrastructure named “cloud” in an attempt to satisfy their “cloud-envy.”

Verdict? Watch for cloud poseurs abusing a new buzzword: “software-defined.”

NicosNicos Vekiarides manages all day-to-day company functions at TwinStrata. Nicos has spent 20 years in the data storage field, both as a business manager and as an entrepreneur and founder in startup companies. Most recently, Nicos served as Vice President of Product Strategy and Technology at Incipient, where he helped deliver the industry’s first storage virtualization solution embedded in a Cisco switch fabric.

Clouds photo via Paul Bica/Flickr