What's Next for Cloud Computing? Looking Back and Looking Ahead

This week, TechTarget released an infographic, called "Cloud Retrospective," tracing the origins, evolution, and adoption of cloud models beginning with the implosion of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s. While we encourage you to check out the infographic for yourself, there are some nuggets worth noting. One is the striking difference of opinion between industry experts as late as 2007 and 2008. While some were already heralding cloud as the technology of the future, others were outright dismissive. "Even if someone builds the Cadillac of cloud services, they'll be out of business within a year," said Windows expert Mark Minkasi in 2008.

Public Cloud Adoption Is Taking Off, Even If It's for Hybrid Solutions

At the time, Minkasi's dire prediction was not unfounded. Many organizations, deeply wary of moving data and applications to a public cloud, were looking into developing their own private clouds. In 2009, a database engineer at the Federal Reserve said, "There's no way we'll ever use a public cloud, but maybe we can adopt some of these concepts for a private cloud." In an attempt to remain competitive, vendors like Microsoft and Rackspace began positioning their offerings as private cloud.

As the concept of cloud became more familiar, however, the notion of a public or hybrid cloud quickly became more compelling to many organizations. In 2008, Harold Mann, co-founder and president of Mann Consulting, predicted, "[Organizations] will fight [cloud] at first, then wonder why you were gouging them for so many years prior to the cloud solution." By 2012, it was clear that Mann had it right all along.

Today, adoption is rapidly accelerating as stakeholders across organizations look to cloud solutions to deliver greater efficiency and cost savings. According to a recent Gartner survey, 80 percent of respondents stated that they plan to use cloud services in some form within the next 12 months, as compared to the 38 percent currently using cloud-based solutions.

The Final Test: Migrating Business-Critical Apps to the Cloud

Despite growing acceptance around the inevitability of cloud, however, significant concerns remain. While moving non-critical workloads to the cloud has proven a good way to test the waters, highly sensitive data and business critical apps are still a rarity in public clouds such as AWS and Windows Azure. This point was underscored in a report issued by 451 on CloudInsure, a company that helps insurers assess the insurability of cloud applications. According to the report, "the company aims to insure two types of corporate risk. First, the liability arising as the result of a privacy breach, and second, the losses incurred as a result of business interruption. Coverage is typically up to $500,000."

The demand for a solution like CloudInsure underscores the lingering concern about security, performance, and availability of data and workloads in hybrid and public clouds. While many IT organizations are cloud curious, they have yet to be cloud confident. Insurance is prudent, but organizations also need solutions that protect against the risk of breach or failure in the first place, rather than providing compensation after the fact. Only with visibility into how applications are performing and who is accessing them can IT teams really have the reassurance they need to sleep well at night.

Learn how you can safely migrate your business-critical applications to AWS in this webinar with ExtraHop and 451 Research Senior Analyst Dennis Callaghan. Watch the webinar: How to Get the Visibility You Need in AWS.

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