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Cloud service providers unveil product plans for the coming year

C-level cloud service provider execs talk big data, cloud performance and more cloud computing trends in 2013.

Big data will get even bigger, cloud performance monitoring will be a top priority, and cloud computing pros should beware of further government regulation in 2013, according to the heads of three cloud computing service providers.

While it's been a hot topic in 2012, big data still hasn't fully hit its stride outside of startups and early adopters. But more vendors will come out of the woodwork to address this growing trend.

Companies including Austin, Texas-based hosting and cloud service provider Rackspace Inc. will do this in 2013 by wrapping products and services around open source tools such as Hadoop, according to John Engates, CTO of Rackspace.

Ultimately, this also means cloud computing service providers will need to ingest more of their customers' data to make big data analytics viable in the cloud.

"It has to be offered in conjunction with other cloud services that enable the business across the board, or else it's going to be done on-premises, where the data already is," Engates said.

Meanwhile, IT pros have stated that monitoring and management tools for the cloud need to dig deeper to increase cloud computing adoption in 2013. Miami-headquartered Verizon Terremark will be among the cloud service providers that offer application programming interface (API) access to all levels of the cloud infrastructure, according to CTO John Considine.

"We, too, have heard from our customer base and the market that there is great interest in having access to more of the intrinsic data of the cloud, because it helps with things like automation and performance management," Considine said.

"We'll have some of the monitoring services you'd expect, but also provide data feeds to the customers so if they want to do their own thing in that space or use third-party tools, they'll have access to the data," he added.

Cloud customers should also expect cloud computing performance to be a hot topic in 2013, both CTOs said.

Rackspace will offer more access to solid-state drives within its infrastructure, Engates said. In 2013, overbuilt infrastructures that inhibit the number of workloads that can be run in the cloud will become a thing of the past, Considine said, as cloud computing customers and service providers gain more experience.

CloudBees CEO: Expect more government regulation of the cloud in 2013

As Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the cloud computing market, expect governments around the world to start trying to rein in the "oligopoly" of other vendors rising up to compete with it, said Sacha Labourey, CEO of public cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider CloudBees, based in Woburn, Mass.

For more information on cloud service providers' 2013 plans:

Read our full Q&As with Rackspace CTO John Engates and Verizon Terremark's John Considine.

"Much like a lot of utilities, you're going to see a lot of buyers but very few sellers," Labourey said.  "So you're going to see buyers unable to really negotiate balanced terms with providers. That's where government can step up and provide more balance and make sure the economy is well-served by those cloud providers."

Governments must define a typical, minimal service-level agreement (SLA) for a cloud provider. And if they don't back these SLAs and don't provide a good enough SLA, governments will have to pay penalties to their customers. Increased regulations began with Canada and Europe in 2012, and other governments, especially those in small countries where service providers don't build dedicated data centers, will follow in 2013.

The United States will probably trail those countries in regulating cloud computing, Labourey said.

Will public cloud gain popularity in 2013?

Overall, in contrast to the two CTOs who foresee hybrid cloud ruling the cloud computing landscape in 2013, Labourey predicts a strong move to the public cloud.

"In 2011 everything with companies was about private cloud," Labourey said. "If you followed up in 2012, not many of those proof-of-concepts had been successful."

Technically, politically and in terms of economies of scale, private cloud plans can't compete with public cloud infrastructures, Labourey said.

Shadow IT has also put public cloud projects outside the control of IT so far, but that's going to change in 2013, he said, as more public cloud computing projects become officially sanctioned by enterprises.

This will also lead to enterprises increasingly coming out about public cloud use where they've been silent to date, he said.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for and Write to her at or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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