Cloud computing poised for major expansion

Next 18 months will see the rollout of major cloud projects in the public and private sectors

Cloud-based computing capabilities are on the verge of a massive expansion into the public and private sector markets. During the past five years, technological developments have laid the foundation for agencies to embrace cloud computing as fervently as they pushed to move to ubiquitous networks in the first half of the 2000s, Michael Capellas, chairman and CEO of the Virtual Computing Environment Co., said May 4 at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems conference in Detroit.

Capellas said that there will be a massive move to cloud-based technology over the next 18 months. This move is the end result of five to six years of evolution that has reached a critical point. “It is one of the great transitions of the last 18 years,” he said.

The move toward the cloud was brought about by several factors over the last decade, said Capellas. The first was the deployment of ubiquitous IP networks beginning in 2003 and 2004. Ubiquitous IP networks then led to massive growth of networked consumer devices such as smart phones and tablet computers. “We have not seen a more rapid explosion of consumer devices,” he said.

Other influences included the movement to unified communications; advanced, highly scalable, low-cost computing; converged networks, computing and storage; and a consumer appetite for new applications. These components represent the building blocks of the cloud, Capellas said.

One example of this ubiquity is text messages. About 60 billion instant messages are sent daily. Of these, about 40 percent are used for enterprise and cloud applications. He said that this represents the convergence of networking and computing system into a different model.

One of the components of the coming cloud environment is the growing ubiquity of blade servers. Capellas said that the global market for blades is growing by 40 percent annually. Such growth indicates that there will be no chance for an alternate infrastructure to challenge this model in the next few years, he said.

The appetite for new applications will also drive a number of changes. It will create new development frameworks, which Capellas predicts will take the world by storm. Development frameworks use segments of prewritten code to create new applications. This code can then be reused in other programs, which allows more applications to be written quickly. He said that within the next 12 months, several development clouds will emerge that will create large numbers of applications.

Capellas made several predictions about the near future of cloud-based computing.

  • A $50 billion market for converged information markets will develop by 2015.
  • Private clouds will lead to public-sector opportunities.
  • Organizations will rush to qualify for virtual infrastructure.
  • Virtual networks will lead to productivity gains of 50 percent or more.
  • Cloud mobility standards will emerge.

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