What will 'cloud computing' mean in 10 years?

In a decade, cloud computing will encompass pervasive services, public and private data -- but will be rarely discussed

It's 2023, and you're going to lunch with a former colleague in your new flying car. The two of you wonder, "Whatever happened to cloud computing?"

As a buzzword, like buzzwords of the past, cloud computing will eventually be baked into all our technology and barely discussed as a concept. Cloud computing in 10 years will have gone off in various directions, all systemic to how we handle enterprise computing in the future. Here are just two paths:

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In 10 years, pervasive cloud services will be the standard for assembling business solutions. We will leverage core services that either exist within our enterprise or from public cloud providers to assemble and reassemble business solutions. These services will be utility-based, perhaps primitive storage and compute or security and governance or more sophisticated business uses, such as market forecasting services.

While services certainly reside in the clouds today, in 10 years, they should be built around the same set of standards and thus be more compatible, no matter which public provider you leverage. Moreover, they should be dynamically discoverable and self-healing, and they may exist as private services you own and maintain. Alternatively, they could be public services you leverage from any public cloud provider.

In 10 years, cloud-based data will include context to better understand that data. Data today exists largely in siloed systems, which makes it difficult to access and difficult to gather for business intelligence. As more data moves to the cloud, enterprises will understand how to holistically leverage this information, using the ability to instantly query petabytes of private business findings using data services (see previous prediction). We're already on this path today with the big data movement.

Of course, some business data is meaningless unless it's mashed up with external intelligence that provides good context. In 10 years, public data services will include information such as key economic indicators, average sales trends within verticals, or other points that will supply a framework to make sense of your data. You simply mash up that data with your own business information to realize the potential for powerful insights. Again, aspects of this exist today, but this notion is beyond the reach of most IT shops.

These are only two aspects of computing that will change as the cloud becomes more embedded in our lives. I'm sure many other derivative concepts based on cloud computing will linger as well. The core message is that we're on a healthy path to better technology and computing practices. However, I wouldn't count on flying cars.

This article, "What will 'cloud computing' mean in 10 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.

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