Oracle to buy Salesforce.com, and other cloud predictions

From Oracle's cloud computing shopping spree to clouds turning on clouds, 2011 is going to be an interesting year

It's the time of the year when all the pundits put out predictions for 2011, and cloud computing will surely remain an interesting space to watch. Certainly, mobile computing will continue to expand, and more enterprises will move into the cloud, but here are my predictions for what else will occur in the cloud in 2011.

Oracle buys Salesforce.com. The two companies seem to be rather chummy lately, and Oracle and Salesforce.com can make some quick money if they combined. Oracle can provide additional channels for Salesforce.com, including its Force.com development platform. Oracle really needs a successful cloud offering to be relevant. The only trouble with this combination is having to take airbrush the "No Software" logo on all the Salesforce.com business cards.

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The cloud enables hackers. With the rise of high-end, on-demand supercomputing, those who need CPU power to break encryptions and hack into major players will learn to use clouds to attack other clouds. You can count on a few well-publicized incidents in 2011 where elastic clouds provide the horsepower required to break into government and enterprise systems and carry off other nastiness.

Subscription prices fall sharply. Cloud computing is not always the most cost-effective solution, and many cloud providers are getting pushed out of deals due to high subscription costs. That's why prices are beginning to fall, and I suspect that providers will drop prices by 30 percent by 2012, while at the same time increasing service and reliability.

The U.S. government gets its cloud act together. 2010 was not a stellar year for cloud computing within the government, aside from a few well-publicized deals. However, the General Services Administration (the government's contracting arm) has been working on a few programs such as FedRamp and has awarded new infrastructure cloud deals. Those arrangements should provide the foundation for more cloud computing uptake by the government in 2011. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), which brought you a widely used definition of cloud computing, will furnish additional guidance and thought leadership in 2011 as well.

This article, "Oracle to buy Salesforce.com, and other cloud predictions," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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