The path couldn't be clearer for cloud computing
2012 Cloud Predictions - the real-time data shift and subsequent New Year hangover
Microsoft moves into IaaS from PaaS
In what would initially appear to be a step backwards, Microsoft will launch a cloud IaaS offering akin to Amazon Web Services, in contrast with the existing design of Azure as a PaaS platform.
However, this is not as illogical as it might sound. Azure missed the mark for a lot of cloud users because the consumption and deployment models didn't match the mechanics of AWS. So, Microsoft will launch some kind of VM/machine image based additions to Azure that will match the existing AWS model and then over time show users how PaaS can make their lives easier.
Cloud operations will move towards real-time data
Just as we've come to expect to see real-time updates in search results, Twitter and Facebook feeds, operations staff will expect to see the same things in their metrics. From basics like state change in memory usage to marketing operations that show when users follow a lead flow, more and more processes will move to real-time.
The flood of real-time data will overwhelm everyone
While there is no doubt that users want to see data, what they really want is to have that data filtered and put into thresholds that help them make sense of the volumes of information. This will introduce a whole new camp of startups and products focused on reducing noise and increasing meaning in the data.
Hybrid cloud will become a real thing
To date there has been a lot of talk about hybrid clouds (those that cross borders between public cloud providers and behind-the-firewall clouds) that hasn't resulted in many real deployments. This is arguably due to the lack of management tools that let users monitor and manipulate systems across these borders.
Much of the reason I think this will happen is because there are a number of on-premise solutions that have implemented existing APIs from Amazon and Rackspace but haven't yet hit the mainstream. The new software will make hybrid clouds a much more likely scenario.
Marketing will continue to exceed the reality of the cloud
Cloud-washing in all its forms will continue to be both a blessing and a curse for the industry. Marketing messages from legacy IT vendors will confuse the market even more about what cloud means, and why people should care about it.
The upside is that developers are fairly immune to marketing nonsense and should be able to see the realities of what they are being pitched.