Cloud Services – My Top 3 Predictions for 2011

I am a firm believer that cloud services are a huge benefit for all customers. I’ve spent the last couple years talking with customers, meeting with technology providers, and speaking at various industry events and I believe 2011 is the year where we’ll see a real shift to cloud services start to emerge.

With that said, here are my Top 3 predictions for Cloud Services in 2011:

  1. The question moves from “What is the Cloud?” to “How can we use the Cloud?” In the last months of 2010 I saw the conversation start to change. No longer was I having conversations with customers about the “definitions” of cloud. We were talking real world business use cases. How could the cloud help them transform IT delivery models? How could the cloud help them accelerate their delivery of new services to internal or external customers? ROI is becoming easier to prove as more and more of the applications that customers use and deploy are leveraging a cloud-based infrastructure behind the scenes.
  2. For companies large and small looking to make the final leap into cloud services, Migration-“as a service” becomes an expectation. There are a number of players already emerging, but I believe we’ll see a lot more activity in this space, especially from existing cloud service providers looking for ways to get new customers onto their cloud solutions as quickly as possible.
  3. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) makes an impact. As more companies look to leverage the cloud, PaaS is the next logical progression. PaaS means no longer having to focus on the infrastructure, as is the case with IaaS solutions. Essentially having an operating system delivered via the cloud allows developers to focus 100 percent of their efforts around the application. As I always say, it’s not the servers, switches, security, or storage that drives revenue to a business – it’s the applications they deliver to end users. PaaS will accelerate the delivery of these applications – for the better.

Many C-Level executives are all but over hearing the statement: “The cloud will solve all your problems.” I understand their frustration. They want to see real world examples of how the cloud is being used by organizations similar to theirs. 2011 will be the year these examples finally start to play out. As they do, we’ll see a real shift to cloud services in the enterprise. In the coming weeks, I’ll share some of those use cases.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts?
Are there any use case scenarios you’re seeing?
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