26 December 2012

2013 Predictions

I never make predictions, preferring instead to develop likely scenarios. But this year I think I'll go for it. And in 12 months, we'll know just how wrong I've been!

My Predictions for 2013

1. People are going to learn how hard it is to run and operate cloud technologies

This prediction has two, independent, components within in. First, there are a lot of companies who will discover how hard it is to run fundamental cloud tech like PaaS at public cloud scale. It's no joke, and I'm guessing there are going to be a bunch of folks who are going to end the year with serious egg on their face. Secondly, there are also going to be a fair number of companies that are going to fail hard in private cloud as folks learn the challenges of operating in the semi-custom and often dated technology environments and highly political realities of the enterprise, not to mention the 99.99% realities of business critical systems. While the private cloud fails are likely to be less public in nature, they are going to be perhaps more damaging (for both the companies involved and the entire private cloud industry). The public cloud fails, meanwhile, will generate the usual hand-wringing and finger-pointing. This shaming is unlikely to fix the problems (as scaling cloud tech is, actually, hard). It is, however, likely to result in a new-found appreciation for AWS, and a fair amount of "perhaps we've been too hard on AWS in the past."

2. AWS will finally acknowledge issues with EBS

At this point the cat is out of the bag and the complaining has gone from behind closed doors, to within private groups and is now all over the internet. There are huge problems with EBS - and with the way many AWS services are architected with EBS as a single point of failure. At this point, AWS will have to accept that their is a problem and announce a planned solution. The alternative is to see a massive slow-down in adoption of all value-add AWS services that rely upon EBS.

3. Adoption of public cloud tech outside the US explodes

With the coming datacenters in various regions of the world (and in particular in Asia), the new frontier for customer adoption is likely to lie outside the US. This has profound implications for the industry as a whole.

4. Private cloud adoption will increase / stay flat

Let me explain what I mean.... Gartner etc reports will likely show dramatic increases in private cloud adoption in the Enterprise. And this is true. But this adoption is likely to be limited largely to Proofs of Concept and explorations rather than full, Enterprise-wide, adoption. As a result, while the percentage of large companies adopting core private cloud tech will increase significantly, the dollars will trail (but probably only by one year).

5. There will be a major security incident

This one is obvious, but it's going to be a bad one. I'm hoping for s simple hack of an IaaS provider or the like, rather than the discovery of a massive extra-national criminal syndicate leveraging cloud tech for their activities -- but only time will tell.

So now I guess I just cross my fingers and hope I'm right.


At 6:23 PM, Blogger Ken Fromm said...

It's a nice list, more detailed and in-depth than you'll see on most lists of predictions.

The private cloud is an interesting proposition. For all the talk of private clouds, I can't see it being all that easy. Most people thing run-time apps and data storage but when you add in other services like message queues and task queues, exception handlers, api servers, and a host of other services, then try to take it multi-zone AND add sufficient capacity for bursting and redundancy, you're talking huge capital outlay, setup, and management. It'll get there but it's as much as hardware/infrastructure issue as it is an issue around a software platform for deploying and managing run-time apps.

As for the international growth of public clouds, I think you're right on. Only thing though is that it'll be tough for these clouds to be as service complete as AWS in the near term. Look for major inroads, key acquisitions, and lots of development here though because I imagine most of the BRICs will want have a strong hand in selection of the hardware and services and drive hard to create their own IaaS infrastructure and ecosystem.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger chris said...


Agreed on the deeper challenges of running enterprise-class private cloud. And about the hardware and infrastructure hurdles ahead.

I think that there are likely to be major changes that result from folks trying to compete with AWS, and that these changes will incude acquisition and organic growth - but I'm not confident that most players are going to understand the hard road ahead. I think we'll likely see a few significant and high profile business failures (including from among the larger, established traditional companies).


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