Cloud computing is hot - there's no denying that. However, as with all things in the information technology field, it isn't standing still. Even as you read these words, engineers are hard at work defining and refining just exactly what a cloud architecture looks like and how it behaves. Let's take a peek at what the future holds...
Where The New Ideas Are Being Born
Although cloud computing research is going on in a number of small start-ups as well as at universities world-wide, the work that is being followed the closest is that which is being done by the very large firms. Here's a quick run down of what they are doing:
* HP /Intel / Yahoo: These three powerhouses have come together to launch the Cloud Research Testbed. The goal is to allow academic researchers to have access to supercomputing resources in order to try out new ideas such as computing chips that have been designed for cloud computing.
* IBM Research: IBM has taken the global approach and launched its Research Compute Cloud. This cloud will be used to support business processes.
The 5-Year Plan
Something that has helped to propel cloud computing to the forefront of discussion in many IT departments is the simple fact that due to the economic downturn, there is no money left to design and build expensive computing architecture.
IT has for too long been seen as a department that simply maintains computing "boxes". This adds very little value to the rest of the firm. It's expected that small and midsized firms are going to be the ones jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon. The larger firms are expected to be setting up their own private clouds and only using public clouds when they temporarily need the extra capacity.
Improvements in cloud computing both this year and in the next few years should center around moving your applications from one cloud to another, have companies communicate better while in the cloud, and even sharing data in the cloud.
In the end, the best way to think about this is probably to view it as being yet another type of application deployment architecture. The real boon will be to software developers who will no longer be shackled by limited availability of computing hardware.
If the challenges that cloud computing is facing today, such as security, can be overcome then CIOs that discover how to best make use of this new resource will have found yet another way to enable the rest of the company to grow quicker, move faster, and do more.