2011 will be the Year of the X. Next year, Technology Y will kill Technology Z. Something will "die."
These sorts of predictions are commonplace as we approach the end of the year. They have a satisfying finality to them. They're dramatic. They're also, with few exceptions, rarely correct--certainly not in any literal sense.
That's because IT rarely advances in a way that invokes mass extinctions and spontaneous generation. Rather it's a more evolutionary process. There's lots of change but even when rapid the new stuff often doesn't displace the old--and overnight replacements are rare indeed. For example, proclamations about the death of Bluetooth were wildly premature even though that technology didn't live up to early promises.
This is especially true of cloud computing, given that it refers as much to the way the industry is moving to implement IT as the technology it uses to do so. Will those changes lead to broad shifts in where and how computing is done? Certainly, that's what makes cloud computing of so much interest after all. But we're mostly talking about transitions rather than sharp inflection points.
Within that context though, cloud computing is a rapidly developing set of trends that's generating lots of interest and discussion. And those discussions suggest to me some things that are going to be qualitatively different next year compared to this past one and some that will remain elusive.
Less focus on definitions (and dare we say hype?). If we were to do a survey of presentations, articles, and analyst research reports throughout this past year, we'd find that many of them spent a lot of time defining and categorizing cloud computing. I myself wrote a Cloud 101 white paper earlier this year. This sort of content may be old hat to the analysts and vendors who have been writing about or implementing cloud strategies over the past few years. But, as I've discovered to only partial surprise, themes that some of us consider well-worn are still fresh to many mainstream audiences. That said, in 2011, we can collectively start to move on from talking about the big picture while remembering that the future doesn't happen everywhere at the same time.… Read more