Top 5 Predictions on Cloud Computing for 2012

After finishing up my reflection of 2011 predictions , it’s time to make my predictions for 2012 as today is the last day of 2011. :-)

1. Virtualization war will be heated between VMware and Microsoft. The trigger will be the Hyper-V 3.0 which is expected to ship in the middle of 2012 with the Windows 8 server. According to many people, the 3.0 release will bring it on par or better than latest VMware hypervisor.

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Gartner predicted that by 2012 “Hyper-V will account for 27% of the market, up from 11% two years ago. Within that projected 27%, Gartner says Microsoft will have captured 85% of all businesses with less than 1,000 employees that use virtual servers.” The last 85% is a bit alarming because Microsoft is known for growing market share from small to big, and then to dominance.

The license change in vSphere 5 in 2011 also has a profound and lasting impact on the competition besides the improvements of Hyper-V. While the diversification continuing, VMware continues to lead in terms of technology and market shares. The coming 2012 will be a real test for VMware whether it can effectively defend against competition from Microsoft.

In longer term, I think the competition landscape of VMware and Microsoft in virtualization is probably like that of Oracle and Microsoft in database. Whatever tricks Oracle has used should work for VMware to defend its market share because they are all market leaders and target enterprise customers.

2. More Packaged Applications will be delivered as SaaS. Traditional software vendors simply cannot ignore cloud story even though it may cut into the current revenue of existing license sales. Embracing cloud model may also open doors to new customers and new market opportunities.

Technically, vendors don’t need to redesign software for the cloud but repackage it as a virtual machine or a set of virtual machines. For most ISVs, redesigning software for cloud doesn’t justify the extra cost of not sharing resources like databases, operating systems.

3. PaaS market will be flat. While PaaS made great progresses in 2011 and continues to appeal much to the developers, it won’t have significant growth in 2012.

I think that three factors limit the PaaS as a substantial business opportunity. First, developers like the convenience but still prefer the ultimate freedom to control underlying platforms, which is not only impossible but also somewhat against the PaaS ideology.

Second, most PaaS is not ready for real production systems, where the big money is today. Most production systems are so complicated and demanding that they are not feasible via PaaS model. Also, once a production is set up, it’s not likely needing a PaaS.

Thirdly, most enterprise is not yet ready to run business applications outside their premises due to various concerns like security, compliance, etc.

Generally speaking, the PaaS will largely remain as a testing and development platform in short term until the 3 factors are effectively resolved.

4. IT in a box is the private cloud for enterprises. It’s not about converged hardware infrastructure, but also the packaged software solutions. Integration and automation will be the main themes. With the cloud box, enterprises will enjoy the benefits of cloud computing while avert much of the conventional burdens of assembling hardware infrastructures and installing software stacks.

The enterprise job market will reflect these changes. When the networking, storage, and compute converge, so will the organizations and people’s skill sets.

5. The cross powering of mobile and cloud will continue. As I predicted last year, the cloud will be the ultimate power for mobile computing. The trend will continue in 2012. New mobile devices are widely supported by enterprises. There are more to do on syncing up the contents across them.

Also, mobile devices are not powerful for some sophisticated data processing that demands CPU/GPU powers. The cloud can definitely off help there. The mobile computing makes the cloud more accessible and more appealing to average users.

That is about it. Wish you all a great 2012! Please remember to come back for the review of these predictions by the end of 2012. :-)

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  1. Antone (thehyperadvisor)
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I would have to agree with #1. I am completely ready to start and get my hands on Hyper-V 3.0 based only on what I have heard and read about so far. The proof will be in the execution of the product and how well it performs and functions in reality. But if it works as claims suggests, I will definitely consider portioning out VMs to hyper-v 3 to save cost.

  2. Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks Antone! Please let us know what you find out with your first hand experience.


  3. Posted January 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for very useful article, things which I was not aware of.

    I would like to ask one silly question, do you see virtualization as a driving force for enterprise market in 2012 and it will be useful for lower level enterprises too?

  4. Posted January 18, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Pranav,
    Glad you raised the question. I think in the short term virtualization is still a driving force in modernizing enterprise IT because it hasn’t penetrate to the level it should. By saying lower level enterprise, did you mean SMB? If so, yes; otherwise Microsoft won’t invest in this market.

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