As we come to the close of 2010 I think it's interesting to look and see what state this thing called Cloud is in.
Firstly I think it's fair to say that the visibility of Cloud (which seems a bit of a strange thing to say, given it's nebulous nature, but you know what I mean) is higher today than it's ever been. Who'd have thought that we'd have adverts on mainstream TV at peak viewing times saying 'To the Cloud..', although how plausible those adverts are is another matter entirely, but if nothing else Microsoft has raised the profile of 'the Cloud'.
Similarly the rise of things such as on-demand streaming from Netflix, the exponential growth of Facebook and other cloud based services has driven the concept of utilizing services where I have no idea of the underlying infrastructure, and quite frankly as a consumer why should I care, to new high's.
That's all well and good for consumer type stuff you say, but what about real Business applications, both with a lower and upper case A! Earlier in the year I attended the CloudExpo conference in Santa Clara. This was my second year attending the conference and it was amazing to see the growth in scale from one year to the next. The number of attendee's (6,000), the number of sessions, the number of exhibitors were all way higher than the previous year, and listening to the organizers they're planning for over 10,000 attendee's at their next event in New York in the spring of 2011. So certainly the interest from the business community is there.
But interest is one thing, what about actual usage? The latest research from Saugatuck, http://goo.gl/pmXQD, states "by the end of 2014, an average of 50 percent of new software deployments worldwide will be made in the Cloud, marking a tipping point in business solution acquisition, implementation and deployment that will change the fundamental nature and roles of IT, as well as ISVs." 50%, that's a huge number, and so is the comment about fundamental change!
Ok, but what about the concerns of moving to the cloud, especially the #1 concern, security? At the CloudExpo conference I had a chance to talk to Steve Riley, an evangelist at Amazon who specializes in security. He has an interesting perspective about Cloud security, which to cut a long story short, boils down to the fact that the Cloud is in many ways more secure that your traditional server room. Just think how many of your employee's or colleagues can simply walk up to your servers today and potentially switch them off? Amazon won't even tell you where their data centers are located, let alone what machine your instance happens to be running on! It was also interesting to see that for a brief period, before government pressure, WikiLeaks moved onto Amazon to avoid DDoS attacks as Amazon is architected to handle any such attack.
The public cloud vendors such as Amazon have made huge strides in the past few months in the area of security. Recent press releases from Amazon tell of their ISO 27001 accreditation and SaaS70-Type II audits. But one of the big concerns, especially from many of our partners has been PCI. Any application that stores credit card info always raised a red card when it came to Cloud. Well, just in this past week Amazon announced that they've achieve PCI DSS Level 1 accreditation. http://goo.gl/4JwDH That large thud you hear, is just another barrier to Cloud adoption falling.
I think it's safe to say that in 2011 this phenomenon that is Cloud will continue to grow, in all aspects, the sheer number of vendors, it's adoption and relevance to the CxO level and below in businesses ranging from large corporations to start-ups (what other technology allows a start up to compete with the big guys when it comes to infrastructure). And OpenEdge will be there every step of the way, as we move forwards with Progress Arcade, OpenEdge 11 & OpenEdge BPM, you can bet we're working flat out to make sure that you are best positioned to take advantage of what can only be seen as a game changer.
Welcome to the new business reality!
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