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Top five cloud computing news stories in 2012

With increased cloud adoption in 2012, the cloud news scene was hot. Stories about new roles in enterprise IT, vendor plans and BYOD topped our list.

If we've learned anything since the emergence of cloud computing, it's that cloud is not going away. And news from 2012 is proof of that.

Discussions sprung up around cloud computing, from how it's transforming enterprise IT -- both easing admin's workloads and raising concerns about security and data privacy -- to how cloud services are attracting the eyes of other industry sectors with money to spend. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend was hotly debated, and the future of cloud service providers such as OpenStack and Oracle was thoroughly scrutinized.

This top-five list of cloud computing 2012 news stories features our most popular articles covering the cloud market in 2012, as chosen by our readers.

5. BYOD and cloud services cause -- and ease -- IT security concerns

BYOD -- and related security concerns -- was one of the main causes of IT pros' headaches. And one sticking point with BYOD in the enterprise often comes down to standards; Google Android smartphones or Apple devices may not have the appropriate management tools to meet enterprise standards. However, cloud computing offers a silver lining, as it helps mitigate risks associated with corporate data in the BYOD era.

Security as a Service (SaaS) products and automated security procedures could help enterprise IT deal with these issues. Using cloud-based anti-malware services to scan data is also a solution. But BYOD is a two-way street. End users have to respect and follow enterprise-set BYOD policies, and IT pros needs to enforce them.

4. Is OpenStack the great cloud hope or just hype?

Public cloud services based on OpenStack became available in October, with VMware as a gold member. But doubts remain as to whether OpenStack can compare to commercial cloud service providers, despite its fast evolution and associated buzz. Further, many enterprises remain reluctant to adopt an open source cloud management platform, knowing it is dominated by vendor interests from giants such as Rackspace, Red Hat and now VMware.

3. How cloud computing is transforming the IT department

As enterprises move from building on-premises IT infrastructures and opt for cloud computing, IT teams need learn to adapt to changes in the IT microcosm. Steve Schoener, vice president of technology at Eze Castle Integration, discussed how cloud computing is changing roles in IT departments.

Schoener shared insight on who drives the decision to adopt cloud computing, what a modern IT department looks like in medium to large enterprises, and the primary reasons for pushing the financial services industry to adopt cloud. He also talked about emerging roles in IT and how IT managers have to adjust their day-to-day operations in light of the cloud.

2. Cloud infrastructure providers remain hot commodities

In 2011, various companies with money to invest spent $15 billion acquiring companies specializing in cloud computing infrastructure technologies. Virtualization software, or the enterprises' tendency to buy subscription-based cloud offerings instead of licensed software, is one trend pushing investors toward companies specializing in cloud computing infrastructures. Two other reasons include bandwidth and security.

Telecom providers with an interest in buying their way into the cloud services market gave other vendors a run for their money.

1. Cloud experts puzzled by Oracle's approach to cloud computing

When Oracle re-introduced its cloud platform this June, observers weren't overjoyed. The company's circumscribed approach still left experts skeptical about its cloud strategy. It seemed that Oracle Cloud only would appeal to Oracle customers, as others could not see the value in its proprietary cloud offering.

When it came to lowering IT costs, Oracle's approach is based on a subscription model, which could actually increase prices. And other unknowns, such as when Oracle Cloud would actually become available, didn't help its already shaky reputation in the cloud computing market.

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