The cloud computing market forecast for 2013: Experts predict what to expect

In this expert cloud computing market forecast for 2013, learn which vendors and technologies will prevail in the unpredictable cloud industry.

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We're a full month into 2013, and already, the gyms are empty and the donut shops are full. But the cloud computing market still has 11 months to unfold in all its glory. What will be the big technologies of 2013? And which cloud service providers will impress us most this year?

SearchCloudComputing.com staff asked our contributors to share their thoughts on the year ahead. In this round-up, we asked our cloud experts these three questions:

  1. What changes can we expect in the cloud computing market in 2013?
  2. Which cloud vendors will be the big winners of 2013 -- and why?
  3. What will be the hot technologies for 2013?

Here's what they predicted about the cloud computing market forecast for 2013.

Bill Claybrook, cloud expert

Bill Claybrook

Software as a Service (SaaS) will see heavy gains as more customers realize the value of renting software. Cloud computing technology will be used to solve problems that require centralized management and centralized security. Two areas where this will happen in 2013 include mobile computing and "big data."

VMware will be a big winner along with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is nothing new. Vendors such as Red Hat will fail to reach any markets outside their own installed bases. And vendors such as SUSE with SUSE Cloud and SUSE Manager could have an impact in the Linux cloud space.

Mobile cloud computing technology will be big for solving many of the problems of managing and securing multiple mobile devices, especially for corporations with bring your own device (BYOD) strategies. Big data with integrated cloud computing technologies will be helpful in solving some of the problems around managing big data and managing big data security.

Mark Eisenberg

I'm expecting Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to continue its march. The Platform as a Service (PaaS) conversation will continue to develop with a likely new round of "everyone has their definition of …." If enough people start doing big data in the cloud rather than talking about big data in the cloud, then 2013 will be the year it peaks.

Big winners? AWS, followed by AWS, followed lastly by AWS. Microsoft will continue to develop in its traditional manner whereupon it achieves respect. Microsoft will be able to show really nice revenue numbers, if that is how you measure a winner.

Big data and media services will be the big technologies of 2013. Everyone is busy with IaaS implementations, but that is not "hot" anymore.

Roger Jennings, Microsoft expert

Roger Jennings

I think 2013 will bring continued growth to all primary cloud services segments; SaaS, PaaS and IaaS combined will grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25%. PaaS and Iaas alone will grow from $964 million in 2010 to $3.9 billion in 2013, a CAGR of 60%, according to the 451 Group. Platform-agnostic IaaS will continue to amass the lion's share of revenues, but provider-specific PaaS will gain a larger split of the pie as developers become more comfortable making the transition from on-premises applications.

Amazon will retain its market-leading status by continued price-cutting and frequent introduction of incremental PaaS-like features. Deep-pocketed providers will meet Amazon prices, but firms with smaller-scale operations will be squeezed out, leading to market consolidation. Forrester Research cites Windows Azure's impressive growth; cloud offerings from IBM and HP don't even appear in the "Others" category of Forrester's survey of cloud developer. I'm placing my bets on Amazon and Microsoft as my "cloud providers of choice" for at least the next two years.

Business units' fixation on big data and developers' enthusiasm for high-performance computing (HPC) with Hadoop variants will lead to increasing revenue for IaaS and PaaS providers by renting server clusters. Amazon's Elastic MapReduce and Microsoft's HDInsight Services for Windows Azure probably will capture the majority of Hadoop-oriented customers. Apps for mobile platforms running iOS, Android and, to a much lesser degree, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8, will dominate the cloud client scene from 2013 onward. HTML5 promises OS-agnostic client apps, so HTML5 timesavers (tools), such as the Visual Studio LightSwitch HTML Client extension, will minimize development costs.

David Linthicum, CTO Blue Mountain Labs

David Linthicum

We'll see more cloud-based system implementations in 2013, thus more focus on what the technology can really do and the value it brings. We'll see some pretty visible failures and successes -- and some new best practices -- around the proper use of cloud computing.

We'll also see the continued rise of PaaS, and the integration of PaaS and IaaS systems, as we're seeing with players such as Google, AWS and Microsoft. This will lead to many new PaaS-based development projects, with many mid-sized enterprises leading the way.

Smaller players that provide service governance, management and identity-based security, such as Layer 7, Apigee, Enstratus and Ping Identity, will be the big winners. The need to manage and secure cloud application programming interfaces (APIs) and services will become apparent after initial cloud computing projects.

In addition to the technologies mentioned above, I would add cloud performance management to that list as well, with the focus on getting the best performance out of very distributed and complex systems that span public clouds, private clouds and traditional IT systems.

Tom Nolle, cloud computing expert

Tom Nolle

There will be an increased number of cloud players focusing on adding "services" to IaaS to create something evolving toward PaaS. More cloud providers will be targeting Windows Azure-like services, and software providers will begin to offer versions that are designed to be cloud-hosted.

Microsoft will gain more in percentage terms than others because its Azure platform is a natural fit for small- and medium-sized businesses and developers/integrators. It has also started taking the right steps to make it a serious cloud contender, and one of the biggest steps is to let other providers host Azure services. The Windows Service Bus is also a great hybrid cloud enabler.

Mobile cloud will be No. 1 and software-defined networking will be No. 2.

Dan Sullivan, cloud architect

Dan Sullivan

Cloud customers will have more options as Google Compute Engine, HP and others move from beta-mode offerings to full-scale providers. How well they do against Amazon and Microsoft is an open question.

More customers will have established their practices and procedures for using IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. There will be more emphasis on integrating workflows and streamlining integration. No one wants to see IT silos move from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. There will be more emphasis on supporting technologies, like single sign-on, cloud resource optimization and data integration.

Windows Azure's blending of IaaS and PaaS as well as its easy-to-administer platform will be a draw for some customers. The Azure SDK works with major programming languages and is not Microsoft-centric, so IT shops supporting multiple programming languages and using both Windows Server and Linux will find a good fit with Azure.

Still, Amazon shows no sign of slowing its introduction of new services while driving commodity prices down. If Amazon can sustain an ecosystem that allows for integration with other services, SaaS providers like Workday and Freshbooks will also continue to grow.

Consolidating access control is an important element to integrating workflows across providers and services. Companies like OneLogin will help on this front. Data analytics services are essential for extracting value from big data. As analytics services become more turnkey, users won't need to be experts in MapReduce programming or Hadoop administration.

This was first published in January 2013

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