Cloud Development Instrumental in IT Recovery for 2010

IDC, the tech industry analysts, have come out with their predictions for 2010 – and it’s a model that heavily involves the development and growth of the Cloud.

First some general IT industry forecasts:

– growth is expected to return to the IT industry, and IDC is forecasting a more than 3% expansion for the year; the industry will see spending levels rise once again (but to 2008 levels) to $1.5 trillion;

– emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil will lead IT recovery, growing 8-13%, while mature markets like the U.S. and Europe are to remain relatively weak and vulnerable to risk factors;

– small and medium-sized businesses, another important form of “emerging market” for the IT industry, declined by about 3.5% this year…but expect this sector to grow in 2010 by 3.5%. Growth among SMBs will be higher than large enterprises.

What role the cloud will play:

– For the IT industry, 2010 will be a huge year for the continuing build-up and maturing of cloud services delivery and consumption, according to IDC. Look for “enterprise grade” cloud services to emerge in order to support the “more demanding security, availability, and manageability requirements of traditional IT” in cloud services.

– The year will be marked by seven distinct cloud trends:

Platform battles will accelerate. The field will get more crowded, and IDC expects IBM and Oracle to play new roles. And Google will make its own platform more attractive to large enterprises. Watch, too, for Amazon, to develop an application platform.

The next wave of hot public IT cloud services will rise and be centered around data/content (storage, distribution, and analytics), business applications (as adoption broadens for SaaS versions of enterprise applications), and personal productivity applications. These differ from today’s model of web hosting and collaboration services, for example, blogs, web conferencing and Twitter. Microsoft and IBM will play prominent roles in challenging today’s dominant player, Google Apps.

Security concerns will give rise to more private clouds – and from all major IT providers.
Along with private clouds, there will be an explosion of “cloud appliances” as a “very simple-to-adopt” packaging approach. IT companies like Dell, IBM, HP, Sun, Fujitsu, Hitachi — and chipmakers Intel and AMD — will partner with software vendors to create cloud appliance versions of traditional versions of software.

Hybrid solutions will grow. IT product and service suppliers will develop tools to help customers “more cohesively and dynamically” manage their IT assets across internal servers, private clouds and their appliances, as well as public clouds.

Just as there’s a hot market for accessories for the iPod (cases, headphones), expect a hot market for cloud accessories to develop. These will focus on overcoming adoption barriers and will deliver predictable network quality of service and security. Later, other functions such as data indexing and cloud asset management will be introduced. All will aim to make public and private cloud services faster, safer, more reliable, and more useful.

Cloud players – in infrastructure, platform, application, and management/optimization cloud services categories – will develop API-based partner/solution ecosystems. API partners will add value to cloud providers’ offerings.

From my perspective as an observer and service provider in the cloud industry, IDC is right on the mark with some of these predictions, especially the one that predicts the growth of private clouds due to security concerns among today’s businesses that are considering making a move to the cloud.

As the appeal of the cloud grows in 2010, companies will be seeking all kinds of assurances that their computing is safe and reliable. And I predict that, just as a homeowner would install an alarm system in their house to warn of intruders, more and more companies will seek an extra measure of security in cloud-based monitoring services.