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Gentlemen, Start Your Cloud Predictions

by on December 29, 2009

Crystal-ball In keeping with our end-of-the-year-predictions theme, it’s time once again to crank up the crystal balls and make fearless predictions about what will happen in the coming year. This time we look at cloud computing.

With more than 2000 cloud providers, prognosticators are seeing consolidation in the industry’s future next year. As the market continues its rapid expansion, large players will accelerate their efforts to capture a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of smaller players. One way they’ll do that is by acquiring companies that can help them fill out their existing offerings to the cloud crowd. Companies in Pac-Man mode next year will be Salesforce.com, Google, IBM, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.

Another projection from soothsayers is that standards for the cloud will begin to emerge in 2010, although the forecasters are by no means unanimous on that subject. Some say standards, especially on interoperability, are needed to attract users who have been sitting on the pine waiting for such standards to emerge. Others, though, believe that the pace of innovation in the cloud is so heated, it’s too early to start talking about standards. Talk of standards, they maintain, is primarily coming from traditional vendors who want to slow innovation so they can catch up to it.

Speaking of innovation, the real big advances in cloud computing won’t be in the technology, but in business delivery, as prophesized by one pundit. Ryan Nichols, head of cloudsourcing and cloud strategy for Appirio, asserts that cloud providers in 2010 will be dramatically easier to do business with. In addition, new business models will emerge to make the cloud easier to digest for companies through features like cloud insurance, cloud auditing and cloud brokerages.

Meanwhile, a prediction made by one vaticinator (albeit slightly tongue-in-cheek) will make the guardians of the English language howl in anguish: 2010 will be the year that the word “cloud” becomes a verb.

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