It seems clear that cloud computing in public, private and/or hybrid guise will become the norm for corporate IT over the course of 2015. However, to deliver the promised pricing and supply elasticity it will be critical for suppliers to have achieved scale. As a result it seems very likely that suppliers sometimes called the “hyper scale cloud players” will become an even more material presence in the corporate sector. The key three players of the “hyper scale cloud” club would seem to be AWS, Azure and Google.
However, scale alone will be insufficient as it will not just be all about lower cost per unit consumed. During 2014 it has become increasingly clear that management of cloud services, particularly integrated management of multiple cloud platforms is going to be a key differentiator for suppliers. The recent collaboration announcement by Accenture and Microsoft on their Hybrid Cloud Platform initiative is arguably recognition of this point. Many analysts are also rightly seeing the management imperative as being tightly linked to one of automation. Automation will be critical to deliver the essential real time monitoring and self-healing facilities as well as enabling the required cost economics to operate shared platforms at scale. Responding successfully to these imperatives will require bold investment strategies and the associated financial means to invest and await the returns in future years. To help manage the investment implications I also think we will see more partnerships announced as well as a willingness to enter into joint ventures.
In the software arena I think 2015 will see big winners in those with analytic tooling that can enable access to digital stores, increasingly across multiple data silos. The software architectures will have to accommodate the mobile device favoured by data consumers and deliver a highly contextualised interaction model. The key challenge is going to be how to make money quickly enough to fund the required software development in a way that matches the flexibility and fragmentation of the demand.
Pace will be a critical factor and it will continue to be one of the key threats to the enabling infrastructure both in terms of meeting the function demand but also in being able to iterate rapidly to remain current. This last point brings me to my first New Year’s resolution scarily early. At a recent CIO webinar the topic of DevOps came up as one of the key tactics technology providers will need to adopt to achieve the required flexibility and speed of action and reaction. My resolution is to address my feckless knowledge gap and educate myself on DevOps as I was somewhat embarrassed on the call to be largely uninformed on this topic. I will return to this topic to update on my progress or lack thereof in early 2015, but if useful to you too here is an excellent DevOps focused site!