Predicting Tech: Is This The True Rush To The Cloud?

A few thoughts on cloud with an hour left at work on a Friday.

Hosted services aren’t new. Virtualization isn’t new. The practice of hosting applications grew out of advancements in virtualization technology. Remember it was mainframes that began offering “virtualized partitions” – what we know of today as logical partitions, or what were called LPARs in the 1960s. This technology eventually moved to the distributed world and allowed single physical boxes to host multiple, isolated environments or clients. Thus was born the first hosted applications, or what we can consider early cloud solutions.

Today the technology has advanced far beyond these simple examples. Hardware’s virtualized. So are applications. Memory, IO and network connectivity are not only virtualized, but now also managed (either by the hardware, the operating system or third-party software) to involve real-time redundancy and failover to produce nearly 100% uptime availability.

Thus we see old factory buildings and warehouses being repurposed as datacenters. Add in some redundant power, cooling and network connections and anyone can set up and host a cloud server farm. Seems like the rush has arrived, right?

Not so fast. There is a bullrush to move everything possible into the cloud. For the public at large, it’s a great way to store and access music, share photos, run productivity applications like Salesforce and Word and stream video. For a business, it’s a great way to add functionality without increased overhead. You don’t need a cross-company hardware upgrade or extra seat to support a new bit of enterprise software. The software is hosted, it runs through a browser and the cloud services provider handles backup, availability and most support (which you’ll want to confirm and evaluate, of course).

Yet for all the hype, the true rush-to-cloud hasn’t yet begun. Remember, when you move any portion of business or functionality into the cloud, you’re inevitably going to face bandwidth issues like massive upload queues, taxed servers, partial data loss or decay and all the other headaches that come from relying on someone else to deliver functionality that used to reside in-house. Total solutions have not yet arrived, but are on the way.

That’s why I argue that the true cloud rush probably won’t come until sometime in late-2015/early-2016.

What do you think? And why? Sound off in the comments section below.

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