Jack Clark, a reporter for ZDNet, recently pulled together opinions from industry experts to create a vision of cloud computing in 2020 in an article, entitled “Cloud Computing: 10 Ways It Will Change by 2020.”
So what will cloud computing look like eight or ten years down the road? What will influence the evolutionary path it takes? And how important will it be to an enterprise computing infrastructure?
According to the article, Forrester Research states the global cloud computing market will grow from $35 billion in 2011 to $150 billion in 2020 and it will be a key part of IT infrastructures.
Driven by data such as that, here is what the experts says is coming in 2020 for cloud computing.
Software – agnostic, larger, and more social. The first three ways cloud computing is changing in the future relate to software. Firstly, software – in particular front-end applications or ones built on top of a platform-as-a-service – will become truly hardware agnostic and reside in a “highly abstracted space” that helps render computing invisible.
In point #2, the industry pundits discuss how software applications will become larger because of the availability of more hardware in the cloud. This will drive a need for modular applications that can be modified independently of the program itself.
The third evolution for software and cloud computing is social software, where future enterprise applications may take on traits found in applications like Facebook, with programs automatically forming associations with hardware and software as needed.
Cheaper and more commoditized computing. By 2020, the experts see hardware becoming even more commoditized, with predictions that the fastest-growing segment of the market will be cloud service providers – following in the footsteps of Facebook’s Open Compute Project. (Note, however, that according to another expert opinion in a point further down in the article, there may be a consolidation of cloud service providers by 2020 as competition heats up.)
And by 2020, experts say that processors will be lower cost with, with Clark noting that, “it’s likely that low power chips will be everywhere.” This, in turn, will help the clouds themselves become cheaper.
A different kind of data center. The next two points on Clark’s list revolve around the data center – first that communications in the data center will be running much faster, with speeds “in the low hundreds of gigabits per second.” Experts also think cloud data centers will become more like a “biological system,” with an over-arching system governing the data center like an ecosystem or a living, breathing organism.
A new cloud-biased generation at the helm. Clark points out that by 2020, there will be a new generation of CIOs that grew up mainly in the cloud. And that’s the kind of environments that they are expected to build.
Specialization leads to stratification. The last point Clark discusses is that we will start to see cloud specialization, with an ecosystem of cloud providers that will handle what typically would be considered very specific and often expensive on-premise applications. This will allow companies to shift workloads off to the cloud in ways that are not conceivable today.
Clark and his industry experts provide more insight into each of the above points, painting a vision for cloud computing that includes low-power processors, highly automated data centers, massively federated, scalable software. All of which makes cloud projects a lot more mainstream and a whole lot cheaper than today.
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