Feds Drive Cloud Momentum
by Tony Kontzer
Some recent developments in cloud computing that caught my eye:
-Government business consultancy INPUT reports that federal IT spending will reach $90 billion by 2014, driven in part by an expected 30% growth in cloud computing investments. Of course, Gartner has been a shameless cheerleader for the cloud market, predicting that it could exceed $150 billion by 2013. I don't quite share that level of optimism, but a surge in cloud computing investments by the Feds wouldn't surprise anyone who's been paying attention--either to President Obama's stated IT goals, or to the numerous cloud computing advances that federal agencies have been making.
-Gartner issued a healthy forecast for the growing market of third-party "cloud brokerage services" that act as intermediaries in the relationships between cloud service providers and their customers. The thinking is that companies looking to build full-blown cloud computing environments will need help managing all of the relationships, as well as the numerous integrations needed to make all the pieces of a cloud work together. But when I think about cloud brokerages, little alarm bells go off in my head. I mean, isn't one of the tenets of cloud computing that it promises to reduce computing complexity by creating a universe of standard, web-based technologies and allowing users to simply order up the computing resources they need with nothing more than a browser and a credit card? And doesn't a world in which IT executives have to work with cloud brokerages sound like an additional layer of complexity?
-Cloud computing is expected to turn the mobile applications market on its head, according to a report from ABI Research. ABI Senior Analyst Mark Beccue argues that it's only logical for the mobile applications market to redefine itself around a cloud computing model. Not only would this prevent developers from having to write their applications to numerous device formats, it would also greatly reduce the requirements for mobile handsets, which would no longer have to store and run applications natively. Given the efficiencies that would result, if I had influence in the mobile communications industry, I'd be pushing to make this happen sooner rather than later.
-I could only chuckle when I read that Richard Sarwal, Oracle's senior VP of product development, will deliver a keynote address at Sys-Con's Cloud Computing Conference & Expo in Santa Clara in November. Sarwal's speech, entitled "Cloud Computing: Separating Hype From Reality," will explore how companies are expected to adopt private and public clouds. Funny, but didn't Sarwal's boss, CEO Larry Ellison, pretty much dismiss the notion of cloud computing, calling it "gibberish" and "idiocy" just a few short months ago? Something tells me the lure of a $150 billion market, with the Feds as a major player, might have changed his mind.