Most of the cloud predictions for 2013 are out now and I wondered if there was any consensus on cloud computing topics among people who make these kinds of predictions. After all, everyone seems to approach this process a bit differently and most of the time it’s difficult to compare the predictions to see what trends are cited by the most predictors. So I lined up several sources that provided the predictions of 24 people. The links to the web pages where their opinions originally appeared are at the bottom of this article. In short, they included members of the tech analyst community, C-level employees of tech companies, tech consultants, tech authors, VPs, subject matter experts, tech journalists and tech generalists.

This process was a bit daunting for a couple of reasons. First, not everyone who made a prediction came at the topics they chose to highlight in the same context, and certainly not from the same experience. That meant that one person making a prediction about Big Data, for example, might point out an overall industry trend, while someone else might home-in on a challenge to Big Data that will ultimately be a trend. The second challenge for me was categorizing responses that often used different terminologies. I had to face questions like, “Does ‘leveraging the cloud’ fit with ‘the year when a majority of businesses adopt the cloud’?” A spreadsheet helped me sort things out and I’m reasonably confident the results provide an accurate picture of those things these technologists believe will be cloud computing’s challenges and opportunities in 2013.

First up is…

— Big Data. Thirteen of 24 predictors mentioned Big Data in their predictions. Overall, Big Data is expected to gain momentum and investment, and one person went so far as to predict that 2013 would be the Year of Big Data. There was even mention of Big Data as a Service and that Big Data was on track to change the data paradigm we’ve lived under since the 1980s. Instead of enterprises running small data on big boxes, they’ll be running big data on many small boxes. The proliferation of mobile devices was cited as a reason why Big Data solutions were gaining priority and one person thought the model would include more large data warehouses and expanding investments in business intelligence software. The ‘democratization’ of Big Data was also forecast. But others who mentioned Big Data, did so with an eye toward the challenges. One person thought 2013 would either prove the hype about Big Data, or it would simply fade away, while another saw multiple solutions complicating its promises. Another challenge cited was the need to address ‘data-in-motion.’ Based upon the number of people who mentioned Big Data it’s clear at this point it will probably be a busy topic this year and in one person’s assessment it will be the companies that adopt it with the right speed and analysis tools to make the intelligence useful, who will gain marketplace advantages within their industries.

Number two was…

— the growth of hybrid clouds, and it appears that ‘hybrid’ means many things to many people. Besides public/private hybrids, others talked about ‘second’ clouds and hybrid SaaS, especially with increasing independent software vendor competition. Then too, 2013 was predicted as the year when enterprises would get serious about hybrid along with collocating their data centers with those of vendors, and expanding decentralization efforts.

Number three turned out to be…

— the cloud reaching critical scale as a majority of businesses either adopt it, or examine how they will use it. This will be especially true for enterprises that have taken wing to making architecturally realistic deployments to the cloud. The cloud will also be used to transform IT which is particularly urgent given the expected continued state of economic uncertainty and the need to offset investment risk.

Tied in the number three spot was…

— the blurring lines between PaaS and IaaS. Some predict the two will eventually merge as they watch what’s going on with Amazon Web Services. Another factor cited that makes this more real is the continuing movement of open source such as OpenStack and CloudStack and how they are allowing both PaaS and IaaS to share the  same infrastructure. Ultimately, one person claims that by 2014 PaaS and IaaS will have to be sold together and that foretells coming consolidations among vendors in that market.

Other 2013 predictions included

— The emergence of an Internet of Things – Remote sensors and smart-phone-connected door locks, utility meters, lawn sprinklers, security alarms and so much more will usher in an age where the user often isn’t a human being.

— It will be normal to work in the cloud.

— Rogue services will get reined in, including rogue development being put under security and support plans.

— Service level agreement changes could include an expansion in levels with different price points for different uptime guarantees.

With the clouds moving faster and faster, everyone can also expect the vendor landscape to be in flux, making it doubly important to do due diligence as you explore or tweak your cloud presence in 2013.


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