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My Top Five Cloud Predictions for 2011: Ellen Rubin

Looking forward, the Founder & VP Products at CloudSwitch shares her thoughts

"When you’re building a new company within a new industry and evolving market," says Ellen Rubin (pictured), the Founder & VP Products at CloudSwitch, "it’s never dull."

"Many things you envision and dream about turn out to be false starts or take a while to appear," she continues, "while others match your original plans on a white board exactly as you sketched them. The thrill is to watch the market unfold in sometimes unforeseen ways and enjoy being part of the early ride."

So as we head into 2011, how does the cloud look from where she sits at CloudSwitch, Cloud Computing Journal asked Rubin. Here are her thoughts.

1. Movement of applications between cloud environments will emerge as a critical requirement: Hybrid cloud, accepted as a new paradigm for enterprise cloud computing in 2010, requires the integration of data centers, private clouds and public clouds. To make this work, enterprises are just starting to realize the importance of VM mobility to be able to run workloads in the environment that best meets their specific needs (at a particular point in time, or on an ongoing basis). This is frequently cross-hypervisor (especially VMware to Xen), and always cross technology platforms.

2. Networking bandwidth will become the new bottleneck: We’ve been tracking network optimization as a key issue this past year, and in 2011, this will begin to edge out security as the key area that enterprises consider as they evaluate the risks of running larger and more production-oriented workloads in the cloud. There will also be many new requirements for network configurability and scaling within the cloud to match customers’ internal network topologies. See my blog post for more on this topic.

3. Security will remain a key concern, but no longer a show-stopper: We still discuss security requirements as part of every customer engagement, and the bar remains extremely high. However, since we’ve been able to address these requirements for some of the most security- conscious companies in the world, we’ve learned that there is a willingness to put specific types of workloads outside the firewall. The ability to span internal and external clouds also has alleviated some of the concerns, since sensitive or compliant data can stay inside while the “spiky” tiers of the application move out.

4. True “bang for the buck” analyses of the cloud will be conducted: Many of the TCO (total cost of ownership) analyses done in 2010 were back-of-the-envelope calculations. Many were done to justify either the initiation or prevention of cloud evaluations. Many lacked thorough assessments of current, internal costs (hint: it’s not just the cost of buying a new server). We’re starting to see customers want to analyze a range of cloud options based on $ spent per unit of compute performance. This is a much more meaningful way to assess cloud and helps determine which offerings should be used for which workloads, and when.

5. More clouds, more fun: Like those Six Flags commercials, I keep thinking about how much more exciting it will be with more viable cloud options out there. We’re working with several new offerings that will be coming online in 2011, providing more choice, flexibility, geographic locations and architectures. More competition is good for the industry, pushing providers to innovate and continue to drive cloud costs down. Of course, this will also lead to still more heterogeneity in the cloud provider market and the need to orchestrate across multiple

"The outlook for 2011 will certainly include many bumps and surprises along the way as enterprises make cloud a more serious part of their business," notes Rubin in conclusion."

"But that’s a sign of the market maturing, moving beyond the past few years of hype into a more rational, pragmatic phase," she says.

By the end of 2011, accolrding to Rubin, we can expect to see many large, well-known enterprises sharing their best practices and case studies of cloud deployments and presenting cloud providers and enablement vendors with lists of must-have features.

"We wouldn’t have it any other way," adds Rubin.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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