As cloud computing makes its way from testing to production environments, discussion around the real-world details of investing in cloud intensifies. We've pinpointed the rising cloud computing trends for the New Year. These keyword topics may not have been the hottest of the year, but as 2012 draws to a close, interest has been heating up -- signaling some of the cloud issues and themes we'll be facing in 2013.
'Big data analytics'
This year has established the power of crunching big data and the competitive advantages it can bring to companies. According to Gartner, and after research into Web searches, it seems that in 2013 big data's influence will only amplify.
Enterprises are beginning to see the benefits of using the cloud to harness the business intelligence (BI) in big data. And cloud computing offers scalability, which makes it a practical vehicle for big data analytics. Look for Hadoop, Cloudera and other big data tools and appliances to make headlines in 2013, and expect new angles on this cloud computing trend to arise, such as the ethical considerations of putting big data in the public cloud.
'Cloud computing standards'
In 2012, data security stood as a roadblock to enterprise cloud adoption, but as this concern dwindles, the lack of cloud computing standards and compliance issues take its place. According to Google Trends, search volume for the phrase "cloud computing standards" increased toward the end of the year, showing that it's at the forefront of people's minds.
IT pros were hopeful for a ceasefire in the cloud application programming interface (API) war in September with the formation of Cloud Application Management Platforms (CAMP), a Platform as a Service (PaaS) management API created by a group of seven cloud service providers. However, lines are still being drawn between Amazon Web Services' (AWS) API, which is an emerging standard, and its alternatives, from vendors such as OpenStack. Since many enterprises have yet to choose a side, cloud computing standards will likely be a contentious issue moving into 2013.
In Google Zeitgeist 2012, which features lists of the top keyword trends of the year by category, the "Consumer Electronics" top 10 list included the iPad mini, Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface and six other personal mobile devices. The only non-mobile device on the list was PlayStation at No. 6. Surprising no one, desktops were nowhere in sight. Neither were laptop computers.
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) era made waves this year, but next year companies will be looking to catch up to their end users with mobile devices by creating policies and protocols. BYOD is happening in enterprises and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) alike, whether IT departments know or like it. Next year will be the time when IT must acknowledge mobile devices in their companies and work to create security and other BYOD policies to keep company data protected, and even capitalize on the benefits and innovations the BYOD era can bring.
'IaaS cloud providers'
Fall was a busy time for the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market. Major IaaS vendors have been in a race to the bottom in terms of pricing, while smaller providers are turning heads. Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and other larger IaaS cloud providers have been slashing prices, hoping to end up on top of the market, stealing attention back from more economical, smaller vendors, such as ProfitBricks and CloudSigma.
While Gartner suggested that PaaS would be the service option that would pick up steam in 2012, many risk-averse companies worried about committing to IaaS. Moving in to the new year, with all the changes in the IaaS market, it'll be interesting to see what option and provider wins out.
IT admins worried about job retention with the advent of cloud computing in their place of work, and enterprises scouting cloud talent are all searching for cloud certification options. "Cloud training courses" have also seen an uptick in search volume toward the end of this year, according to Google Trends, showcasing a possible talent shortage in the cloud market as cloud implementations increase.
"A friend that used to be at Google talked about data scientists as 'pink unicorns,' and said that there's only about 120 pink unicorns in the world -- true data scientists that know how to manipulate and work with big data, delivering business value," said Brian Lent, co-founder and chief technology officer of Seattle-based Medio, in a Q&A with SearchCloudComputing.com.
Rackspace began an OpenStack certification course in October, with plans to launch other cloud training programs in the future. The company aims to help employers find qualified cloud professionals by giving them a standard to look for on resumes, Tony Campbell, director of training and certification at Rackspace said in a Q&A with SearchCloudComputing.com.
With cloud computing comes the need for specialized skills in many areas of IT. And existing IT pros worried about keeping their jobs in changing times are hoping to make themselves these "pink unicorns" and sought-after candidates -- or at least not expendable.
Rackspace took a swing at CloudStack in August by finally offering public cloud services based on OpenStack, throwing its weight behind the API. However, it's unclear whether other vendors will follow suit as we move into 2013. Meanwhile, other alternatives to CloudStack and OpenStack are vying for attention, including Eucalyptus, which has support from cloud bigwig AWS and OpenNebula. Even in the heat of this battle, it remains to be seen whether any of these open source options can shine enough to catch enterprise IT's attention.
Caitlin White is an associate site editor for SearchCloudComputing.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.