Ringing in 2012 with Flexible Control

Recently, I was featured in VM Blog and Data Center Knowledge offering my predictions for cloud computing in 2012. One theme, in particular, resonated throughout both articles: flexibility. According to Gartner, the worldwide cloud IaaS market will grow from an estimated $3.7 billion in 2011 to $10.5 billion by 2014. In order for this tremendous growth to be sustained, however, cloud platforms must become more flexible, particularly in terms of user control, resources and deployments:

  • User Control – Today, most IaaS providers closely manage companies’ cloud deployments and data, locking them into agreements that limit their data access and placing restrictions on their software and networking. With flexibility demands on the rise, in 2012, providers will have to accommodate companies’ desire for complete data portability where they have access to and control over all of their data.
  • Resources – Unlike today’s typical bundled resources, in 2012, customers will increasingly demand the purchasing efficiencies of unbundled resources, allowing the purchasing of CPU, RAM and storage in the exact quantities required. With such a system in place, companies can customize their resource purchasing without concerns of over provisioning.
  • Deployments – Currently, when migrating to the cloud, many companies are forced to change their operating system or software to accommodate the provider’s restrictions. In 2012, lifting restrictions on operating systems and application deployments will be something many customers will look for as this will gives enterprises not only the flexibility, but the confidence to move away from their proprietary infrastructure and into the cloud.

The cloud was initially conceived to be a more flexible, scalable and accessible IT environment. In order to stay aligned with that model in 2012 and beyond, restrictive cloud providers will need to strip away their limitations on resources, deployments and user control. Achieving a completely customizable and flexible IaaS platform will be a necessity in order to remain a viable public cloud option and meet customer demand.

I’d be interested in hearing what you think! Will increased flexibility support the booming cloud computing market in 2012 or will a new trend take the cloud industry by storm?