Crystal-ball gazing is always a fun pastime, and can make for some pithy punditry—and there’s no shortage of Monday morning quarterbacks in the tech world, from sage thought-leaders to naysaying curmudgeons.
When will Apple release the next iPhone? When will Google buy (fill in the blank)? When will Facebook dump Timeline? Predictions about The Cloud are especially fun to bandy about, as prognostications can take real flights of fancy.
Case in point: Ben Kepes—commentator, adviser, cloud computing analyst, blogger, and CloudU curator—got said crystal ball rolling at Focus.com when he asked, “What are the top 10 things about cloud we’ll all take for granted in three years?”
Let the soothsaying begin!
Sam Johnston, Equinix’s director of cloud and IT services, is putting his money on cloud ubiquity: “Cloud services will achieve ‘dial-tone’ availability by deploying global, geographically distributed, and redundant infrastructure,” he says.
FaxLogic CEO Eric Lenington, however, remains skeptical that “the overall impression of cloud services will reach ‘dial-tone reliability’ in the minds of the customer base.” The Cloud, everywhere, all the time, and as reliable as a dial tone? It sure has a nice ring to it.
Johnston dovetails his thoughts into another prediction: the disappearance of service-level agreements (SLAs). As he sees it, SLAs will be moot in three years. He sees SLAs as unnecessary for vendors with a proven track record, and besides, SLAs “are bad for customers, because they only cover a small fraction of the true cost of security—including availability—incidents, and [they are] bad for providers, because they strip them of what little income they earn from providing the service.”
Dan Young, lead technologist at Exponential-e, agreed that “the concept of SLAs will fade from the enterprise psyche. … Even today, SLAs have no practical purpose and yet they exist. Why? And if we don’t have SLAs, won’t sales and marketing departments just invent some other meaningless metric for customers to compare services?”
Some folks envision the hype factor surrounding The Cloud as having worn off in three years, and the buzzword disappearing as well. Jim Donovan, programmer and developer at JD-CPA, imagines a retronym coming into vogue that describes “the old way of storing data.” He likens it to the advent of “color TV” in the 1960s, which eventually morphed into simply “TV,” while “black-and-white TV” became the distinction for old-fashioned models. His vote? “Terrestrial data.”
Laura Schroeder, global talent specialist at Workday, sees the software upgrade as a potential candidate for Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine (a retronymic reference for SAP on the Cloud readers under 40). “It’ll be like 8-track tapes,” she proffers, and suggests those who remember upgrades “will sound like people who talk about punch cards, Neil Diamond, and cars that didn’t auto-lock” today.
Nick Hamm, cloud solutions architect, sees security becoming a non-issue for The Cloud in 36 months or so, as it “will no longer be the biggest objection about cloud solutions.” Reliability gets Paul Quickenden’s vote. A strategy manager at gen-I, Quickenden says that the “average CIO (not even the worker) won’t even know which applications and compute infrastructure are cloud-delivered and which aren’t.”
Finally, the market will shift in the next three years, according to our crowd of Kreskins. Patrick Adams, director of Adduce:360, predicts a cozy group of vendors will control the space, saying, “Sustainable cloud providers will number around just 10—including the likes of Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Apple.”
Johnston envisions lower prices, as resilience moves from hardware to software: “Cloud services will be far cheaper than legacy equivalents by deploying adequate (rather than excessive) redundancy (e.g. n+1 rather than 2n) and building resilience into software rather than hardware; most new software will be designed for cloud rather than legacy architectures.”
Where do you think The Cloud will be in three years? What will be different, how will it differ, and why? What about five years from now, or a decade? Share your thoughts and predictions in the comments.
About the Author
Alec Wagner is a writer, editor, custom content specialist, and content marketing professional. A former managing editor of infoworld.com, he has trained his eye on the enterprise technology space for more than a dozen years. A longtime digital nomad, he divides his time between San Francisco and the South of France. He remembers to thank The Cloud daily for enabling his globetrotting ways. Mr. Wagner expects that, in three years, The Cloud will be as ubiquitous as dial-tone. Or at least as common as IT pundits are today. He also predicts that this song will fade out (for readers under 50).