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Six Things I Think I Think for IaaS in 2013

Another year, another dollar - or something like that

Another year, another dollar… or something like that.  It’s time for an update on the 6 things I think I think for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) in the coming year!

1. Hybrid Cloud Computing

2012 Perspective: Hybridization WAS key in 2011 and I’m doubling down in 2012.  If you’ve paid attention to the consolidation in the industry, you’d best do the same.  The big boys are snapping up anything that smells like bridging the enterprise to the multi-tenant host.  Look for this trend to intensify.

2013 Perspective: VMware buys DynamicOpsRed Hat buys ManageIQCisco buys Cloupia.  Consider the consolidation trend intensified.  The big question for 2013 is what the big boys have in mind for the cool technologies they’ve acquired in 2012. Whatever they might have in mind, the signal from the customer is clear.  Hybrid cloud computing is considered critically important to wide-scale adoption of cloud computing in general.  As I highlighted earlier this year, as big as the cloud computing market is becoming it still pales in comparison to private IT operations. Hybrid cloud computing is correctly viewed as a technology tap to this underlying market.

2. Cloud Federation & Interoperability

2012 Perspective: I’ve spoken with some pretty big names in the business and scale is an issue with their regional plays in the market.  The challenge in 2011 for cloud federation was the degree of difficulty associated with interoperability.  There was much progress on this front in 2011 but I think before broad based federation goes from concept to reality there needs to be more plumbing.  2012 will be the year real interoperability tracks are laid as a foundation for scalable cloud federation.

2013 Perspective: We as an industry had the opportunity to lay down tracks for real cloud federation and interoperability at this time last year.  What happened was rather disappointing.  Basically, industry titans from OpenStack, Amazon, Citrix, and others all postured. I remember sitting in the crowd at GigaOm Structure when the first official shots were fired on the subject of API standardization.  What could have been a wonderful opportunity to seize the moment and end vendor lock-in before it ever started in cloud computing, big vendors did what they do best.  They opened up their respective Kimonos and bragged about the size of their case studies.  What a (albeit entertaining) waste of time and opportunity.

Because we all anticipate the cloud market, particularly IaaS, growing at a serious CAGR in 2013 there will be growing customer pressure to allow the movement and billing transfer of workloads between independent cloud operators.  The opportunity for a new or existing company to emerge with a solution to this problem will become significant in the coming year.

3. Cloud Ecosystem Enablement

2012 Perspective: VMware unveiled its plans to stitch together Vcloud operators at its big VMworld shindig, but this wasn’t the only giant making big bets on the cloud ecosystem concept.  Equinix, one of the world’s largest data center operators, hatched is master plan for a ‘Marketplace’ of Platform Equinix Partners and Synnex, one of the most powerful IT Distributors in North America took a huge step with its Cloudsolv application and services portal.  Watch what these three companies do in 2012 to drive ecosystem growth.

2013 Perspective: Dell, HP, Cisco, Arrow, Avnet, Telefonica, Singtel…just to name a few. Billions in unstructured cloud business potential spanning distribution, hardware and telecoms just waiting to be harnessed.  The lure of these types of captive markets will push the envelope on cloud ecosystem enablement despite a big challenge encountered in 2012.  That big challenge was the relative learning curve incurred when you cross-pollinate large singularly focused business units.

4. Emerging Cloud Communities

2012 Update:  By the middle of the 2nd quarter I was beginning to worry about this prediction.  Was I going a bit too far out on a limb?  Then, bang!  VMware announces the big deal with the NYSE.  Wow.  Talk about going big or going home.  The NYSE community cloud has a lot of eyes on it.  A large number of other vertical deals are hanging in the balance, hoping to learn what not to do when details of the NYSE project become more public.  I think this VMware play will be a big success and in 2012, you will see many other big players follow suit.

2013 Perspective: Do you hear that sound?  No? I didn’t think so.  There’s no sound in a vacuum that is the lack of follow up from the big NYSE deal in 2011.  No big pharma cloud.  No big banking cloud.  No big offshore financial cloud.

How come?

Would-be community cloud enablers in 2012 figured out what they needed to figure out, which they are hoping to do in 2013.  What they need to figure out has nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with operational and contractual concerns.  The commonality of vertical market integration resolves certain compliance risks, but it doesn’t mean private IT operators are ready, suited or even capable of offering a legitimate outbound customer service. Ask any CFO or CEO of a publically traded company about the idea of taking on the liability risk created by a new service that, oh by the way, has nothing to do with existing strategy. At a minimum in 2013 look for new corporate structures to emerge in order to facilitate offering community clouds as a service.

5. Channelization

2012 Perspective: I am still a firm believer in the channel and I’m still banking my company’s future on it.  However, the Channel failed to capitalize on the cloud opportunity in 2011 the way I thought it would.  Don’t get me wrong, the needle definitely moved.  But the cloud operators and the broader channel are still separated by an expertise gulf that is limiting how much cloud money flows via the intermediary.  The investment from the IaaS providers continues to be there.  Find me one IaaS services or software provider that doesn’t showcase a channel program today.  2012 will see the gulf shrink and the channel heat up because Distribution will hit its stride and carry with it more evidence of the gold rush I saw last year.

2013 Perspective: The channel didn’t emerge as the boon of cloud computing adoption in 2012, but it continued to make significant progress.   Cloud Sherpas recently raised $40M on a bet that it had figured out the model to integrate cloud into the enterprise.  That’s not a small bet on the channel intermediary concept.  There were other big wins in the market too.

In 2013 you will see vendors get very serious about forcing channel intermediaries to declare their allegiance.  Programs are maturing and dollars are flowing inbound to support the intermediary to the customer.  This is a sure sign that we are on the cusp of growing the cloud wave in a big way.

6. IaaS Futures Market

2012 Perspective: Spot market concepts made progress in 2011 but as expected were not able to truly capture the imagination of the market.   However, the groundswell around commodity compute resource trading is gaining momentum.  And in 2012 look for general progress in this area with a few players coming out of the woodwork to surprise some.

2013 Perspective: Fact – trading compute contracts is going to happen.  If you trust nothing else I write, trust me on this.

As predicted, a few players came out of the woodwork on this.  Specifically, the Eurex and Zimory (via TSystems) in Europe announced that they had formed a partnership to build a trading platform in 2013.

What is unclear is exactly how this is going to happen.  How will the market be organized?  Look for clarity to emerge in 2013 on this subject.

Since last year’s 6.1 bonus prediction was such a hit (um, cloud brokerage, anyone?) I will keep with the new tradition.  Here’s my scoop:  Keep an eye on the fall of old empires.  The world economy is definitely not what it was two years ago, but neither are some of these tech titans of yesterday:


Dell stock chart


Microsoft stock chart


Oracle stock chart


HP stock chart

Cloud Computing – the agent of change – can mean rebirth or extinction for some of the biggest companies to dominate the tech landscape in the last 30 years.  Look for significant strategic moves by some of the giants as they posture for survival in the new era.

Have a great 2013!

The post 6 things I think I think for IaaS in 2013 appeared first on 6fusion.

More Stories By John Cowan

John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.

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