Predictions for the Cloud for 2012

Every month the IBM cloudchat invites a deluge of tweets about a topic related to cloud computing.  A few weeks ago they asked for predictions for the cloud for 2012.  The replies from the all-star panel of Dr. Srini Chari, Judith Hurwitz, and Amy Wohl, as well as many others around the world came thick and fast—hundreds of tweets raining in during the hour-long session.

During the storm it was almost impossible to read, much less to ponder implications.  But I’ve had a few days now to digest the content a bit, and thought I’d share a few of these predictions, along with how they might apply to real-time cloud computing.  Here are some of the answers to the question:  Looking ahead into 2012, what predictions do you have for the industry?

Broad acceptance
Tweets like, “The cloud debate is over, it’s how do I get there now!“, “customers are no longer asking if cloud but when cloud,” and “Cloud is here to stay, evolution after distributed computing. No turning back,” make it clear that everyone was on the same page.  The common wisdom is that cloud computing will become widely accepted.  In fact, Judith Hurwitz went so far as to say, “companies that have ignored the cloud model might not figure out how to remain competitive,” and Srini Chari added, “no IT system except top secret installations can exist in isolation.

As you might expect, it was widely agreed that cloud computing will continue to grow.  Predictions included increased private cloud adoption, significant growth in hybrid cloud, and further adoption by small and medium-sized businesses.  This tweet from Tina Williams at IBM sums it up: “Everything as a service.

There is significant expectation that widespread acceptance and growth will lead to a greater number of cloud applications in both the business and consumer markets.  A number of tweets mentioned more mobile apps.  Amy Wohl pointed out that “Consumer applications will continue to push business applications to keep up.”  Another implication for general lifestyle change is that more and more people will be working and collaborating across the Internet.

A variety of challenges were mentioned, ranging from technical issues like data latency to business concerns like pricing.  Among these, you could sense an awareness of a need for expanding our vision.  “In 2012 people will finally realize that cloud is ‘not your parents IT infrastructure’ – new approaches for better outcomes,” tweeted Angel Luis Diaz, of IBM.

What about real-time cloud computing?
All of these predictions have strong implications for real-time cloud computing in 2012.  Widespread acceptance and growth of the cloud means that people working with industrial and embedded systems may start looking for cloud-based solutions.  We expect that with increased implementation of real-time industrial applications in the cloud, consumer apps using real-time data won’t be that far behind.  In fact, they may lead the pack.  Either way, any kind of real-time cloud system, industrial or consumer, will depend on an infrastructure that is neither your parents’ IT infrastructure, nor an industrial SCADA system, nor even what we typically see for cloud computing.  Real-time cloud computing will certainly require “a new approach for better outcomes.”