What the cloud will look like in 3 years

Perennial management, security, and data issues will remain key, but they will look different than they do today

Although many people are calling for a cloud revolution in which everyone simultaneously migrates their systems to the cloud, that's not going to happen. Instead, the adoption of cloud computing will be largely around the opportunistic use of this technology.

While there will be no mass migration, there will be many one-off cloud migration projects that improve the functionality of systems, as well as cloud-based depoyments of new systems. This means that cloud computing's growth will follow the same patterns of adoption we saw for the PC and the Web. We won't notice many of the changes as they occur, but the changes will indeed come.

[ From Amazon Web Services to Windows Azure, see how the elite 8 public clouds compare in the InfoWorld Test Center's review. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

If you could jump forward three years, I believe the changes would be more obvious. Here are the key issues a time traveler from today would notice that those who live through it might not see as clearly.

1. Governance and management will be major focuses
The use of the cloud creates the need to manage hundreds, perhaps thousands of services and APIs. Enterprises will have reached the tipping point long before in terms of trying to manually manage these services. In three years, they will have cloud service/resource systems to manage the complexity.

2. Security will be better and more baked in
Security will continue to be a concern three years from now, even though there will be significant strides made to improve cloud security. Large cloud providers will provide security features right in their cloud, although in many cases third-party providers will offer the best solution, including those dealing with distributed and federated identity management. "Centralized trust" will be the new buzz phrase, and hopefully the standards will be in place to allow for interoperability.

3. Tiered data will be a major focus
In the tiered-data approach, some data will be on premise, such as those where performance or legal concerns require it be local. As time goes on, the data will move from the local tiers to the remote tiers due to cost issues. Most data will be in the cloud, though we'll see the emergence of private and community clouds that will house data that is semi-private and needs some control. As part of that cloud-centered storage reality, back-end public cloud-based databases will handle massive data stores with an eye to analytics use -- in the petabyte scale.

I plan to be writing this blog three years from now, so let me know then if I'm right or wrong.

This article, "What the cloud will look like in 3 years," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies