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January 2, 2012
Volume XXXVII, Issue 11


Now just a week away, the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a must-attend mega-event with more than 2,700 exhibitors and over 140,000 attendees.

Now in its second year as a Conference within CES, CONTENT IN THE CLOUD, produced by the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), will take attendees on an insider's tour of the many ways cloud computing is revolutionizing entertainment delivery, and enable delegates to come away with a deeper understanding of the impact of this technology on all parties involved in content distribution.

Register for the event. Reserve a hotel room. See who will deliver a keynote address. Navigate through floor plans. Get a preview of the Conference Program. Get the skinny on the 2012 CES TechZones. Access the Exhibitor Directory. Get the Follow Me application for your mobile device. What will be The Last Gadget Standing? Find out who will be handing out CE awards. Get more information about MashBash.

Rackspace: SOPA Is a Deeply Flawed Piece of Legislation

Excerpted from ITProPortal Report by Ravi Mandalia

Cloud based hosting service provider Rackspace has joined the ever expanding list of companies that are opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

In a blog post, Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier, said that the controversial bill, which will get its final vote before the House Judiciary Committee, will do more harm than good, punishing innocent users in the process.

"The SOPA bill, as it stands, is a deeply flawed piece of legislation. It is bad for anyone who uses the Internet, including Rackspace, the more than 160,000 business customers that we serve, and the tens of millions of retail customers that they serve. It is bad for job creation and innovation," Napier wrote, echoing what other Internet companies and free speech supporters have been saying for weeks.

He said that the bill will require the Internet to censor its customers in such a way that it would go against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Rackspace said that it had studied the bill in its current form and had concluded that it would fail to achieve its purpose and harm the economy, because infringers will continue to break copyright laws at the expense of innocent users.

More Cloud, Web Companies Join SOPA Opposition

Excerpted from CRN Report by Andrew Hickey

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) gained more vocal opponents from the cloud computing and web community this week as DreamHost and Domain.com publicly denounced the bill.

DreamHost's and Domain.com's moral opposition to the proposed legislation, which is currently making its way through Congress, comes as rival GoDaddy faces a boycott and mass customer exodus over its support of the Hollywood-backed bill that, on the surface, seeks to stop online copyright infringement.

The companies also join a growing list of tech top dogs speaking out against SOPA. Some of the bill's most vocal opponents include Google, Twitter, Facebook, and AOL.

Earlier this week, cloud and hosting provider Rackspace came out in strong opposition against SOPA.

In its opposition, DreamHost, a Los Angeles, CA based cloud services and web hosting company said "SOPA was, and is, a raw deal for free speech on the Internet." The company added that SOPA would "take away rights enjoyed by millions of American web hosting customers, make enforcement of copyrights online a nightmare for the web hosting and domain industry, and fundamentally change the way American citizens would be permitted to use the Internet."

The bill allows copyright holders and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to go after websites that are unwittingly connected to offending sites. The SOPA bill, critics have said, pulls Internet service providers (ISPs) into the fold to block customers from accessing offending sites.

Much of the criticism against SOPA is that it would require companies to censor or block content and police customers and users. DreamHost, for example, said that sites like YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter, and other sites that rely heavily on user-generated content (UGC) could risk immediate shut down if SOPA becomes law.

Meanwhile, SOPA would make those website owners liable for content that users post and would impose strict punishment for "vague definitions of piracy." DreamHost added that the overhead costs to police the web under SOPA would be astronomical and make inexpensive web hosting a thing of the past.

Additionally, DreamHost said that rights-holders could demand the immediate shutdown of entire domain names based on claims of rights infringement. In a statement, DreamHost said rights-holders are not obligated to prove infringement took place, but can file a form letter and have content removed. And web hosting companies could be held liable as well.

"SOPA changes the way the Internet works, and not in a good way," DreamHost CEO Simon Anderson said. "It undermines the freedom of expression enjoyed by all Americans online, and removes the safe harbor protecting web hosts established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). SOPA will create uncertainty for American entrepreneurs and stifle innovation, hurting American jobs and investment at exactly the time when the economy needs a boost from small businesses. We're part of a coalition of leading web and Internet companies asking that Congress do the right thing and reject SOPA. It's a flawed concept that is not in line with American values."

Domain.com, another web hosting provider and a domain registrar, also joined in the fight against SOPA.

"While Domain.com respects the rights of intellectual property owners, the SOPA legislation is troubling in its restraint on free speech under the First Amendment. The uncertainty it would create for website owners and the resulting chilling effect on the tech industry is a serious issue the Internet community should not take lightly," said David Andrews, Marketing Director for Domain.com said.

Meanwhile, GoDaddy is under siege and one day last week was unofficially dubbed GoDaddy dump day, a day in which customers were urged to ditch the service due to its support of SOPA. GoDaddy had recently appeared on a list of official SOPA supports, which resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of domains. The oft-controversial company did an immediate about-face and denounced the proposed SOPA legislation, but was too late in its reversal.

And now, other domain players like Domain.com, Namecheap, and Hover are capitalizing on GoDaddy's misstep and offering discounts to customers who transfer to their services from the beleaguered registrar.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyWe strongly agree with the growing group of thought leaders - ranging from Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - who are urging the US Congress to change its behavior towards the Internet to the way professional physicians behave toward patients: first, do no harm.

Right now, in an ill-conceived and misguided attempt to reduce online copyright infringement, a goal that we totally support and are willing to actively pursue by more sensible means, lawmakers in the House Judiciary are seeking a cure that's worse than the disease. It's no wonder that eighty-four percent of Americans disapprove of Congress' performance.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would not achieve its purported objective, and infringers would find it a relatively simple matter to evade the poorly designed regime that it would put forth.

On the other hand, SOPA would require that Internet service providers (ISPs), web hosting services, and cloud computing providers interfere with traffic to their customers' websites with little in the way of due process and without any remedy for merely being accused by content rights-holders, whether rightly or mistakenly, of being indirectly associated with copyright infringement.

The prescribed remedy for correcting copyright infringement by Internet users provided for in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) would be eliminated under SOPA.

Under SOPA, content rights-holders would be empowered to attack vigilante-style allegedly offending Internet-based businesses, forcing credit card companies to stop dealing with websites without any court hearing.

Banks and other financial institutions would be ordered to suspend all dealings with websites in any way associated with an accused domain name.

Online advertisers would be ordered to cease providing advertising services to sites associated with the domain name. Search engine providers would be ordered to deny access and disable hyperlinks to the sites.

This would not only violate basic principles of due process by depriving persons of their property without a fair hearing and a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves, but it would also violate the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Even worse, SOPA would seriously disrupt the Domain Name Service (DNS) system that is so crucial to the fundamental operation of the web. DNS is a very basic protocol, which numerous other protocols and web applications rely upon to operate properly.

Removal of entries from the series of interlocking databases that reside in DNS servers and domain name registries worldwide would subvert the principle that all such servers, wherever located across the Internet, return the same answer when queried for the Internet address of a specific domain name.

Mandated DNS filtering would have potentially catastrophic consequences for the Internet's stability and security. It would also undermine efforts currently underway - and strongly supported by other branches of the US government - to build more robust security protections into DNS protocols.

SOPA would hurt job creation and technology investment, and stifle innovation by creating enormous uncertainty towards Internet-based businesses.

The United States should not join the ranks of repressive governments that prevent people from accessing portions of the Internet. Passage of SOPA would bring an end to free and unfettered communication among web users. It would represent one of the largest threats to the Internet in history.

Copyright infringement on the Internet is a very real problem, and we agree that content rights-holders owners need effective tools to combat it.

But SOPA is not the answer. For even more reasons why, please read Don't Break the Internet by Mark Lemley, David Levine, and David Post at the Stanford Law Review Online.

We urge DCINFO readers to join with us in respectfully asking Congress to set aside SOPA in 2012 and support the more reasonable alternatives presented in the OPEN Act proposed by Senator Ron Widen (D-OR)and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Share wisely, and take care.

Shouldn't There Be Significant Punishment for Bogus Copyright Claims?

Excerpted from Techdirt Report by Mike Masnick

We wrote a detailed post about the latest Veoh ruling, in which Universal Music lost (again) in claiming that Veoh violated copyright law with its YouTube-like service. 

Of course, as we pointed out, the "victory" for Veoh is pretty meaningless because Veoh is dead. The cost of the lawsuit itself killed it. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, when you see stories like the federal government shutting down Dajaz1 for over a year, without having an actual case for infringement, and the similar case in Japan, in which the developer of a software program, Winny, had to battle in courts for more than five years, before the court declared that he was totally innocent. 

The harm done to legitimate businesses by totally bogus copyright claims seems like it should be a big deal. If the government is really concerned about jobs, rather than passing something like SOPA, shouldn't it be ramping up the punishment for bogus copyright claims that cause so much real harm to businesses? Eric Goldman, in discussing the Veoh ruling makes a similar point and puts forth an interesting suggestion for SOPA, to force companies filing such claims to put up a bond to pay, if they turn out to be wrong:

"A partial fix to SOPA would make rights owners bear the cost of their over-claiming. Make them put up a $1 billion bond for the privilege of sending cutoff notices; and pay liberally out of that bond if the rights owners get the law or facts wrong. Write checks to the investors and employees whose economic expectations are disrupted when rights owners get it wrong.

Write checks to the payment service providers and ad networks who turn down money from legally legit businesses based solely on rights owner accusations. Heck, write checks to the users of those legit services who are treated as inconsequential pawns in this chess match. 

Sure, a $1B bond obligation with liberal payouts would turn cutoff notices into a sport of kings that only the richest rights owners could afford, but perhaps that's the way it should be. A rights owner's decision to send a cutoff notice should be a Big Deal, the equivalent of going to Defcon 5, and not like sending holiday cards to distant relatives you last saw at Ethan's bar mitzvah."

The supporters of the bill, of course, would reject such a suggestion out of hand, noting that it would be unfair and would make it harder for them to "enforce their rights." But that ignores the other side of the equation. If enforcing their rights involves completely destroying someone else's company, then, as Goldman notes, shouldn't it be difficult? 

Of course, the chances of this happening are nil. During the SOPA markup, Congressman Jason Chaffetz actually put forth an amendment that didn't even go as far as Goldman's suggestion. It merely said that if you file a lawsuit under SOPA and it turns out that the site was legal, then the plaintiff should pay the legal fees of the defendant. 

This seems quite reasonable. And it was quickly shot down by SOPA supporters who complained that this was somehow unfair. I still can't figure out why only the copyright holders get to talk about "fairness," while the companies and websites completely destroyed by bogus claims apparently have no "fairness" on their behalf.

Cloud Activity to Explode in 2012

Excerpted from Network World Report by Tom Henderson

In testing cloud computing services and observing the growth of cloud activities, we've noticed that there are distinct phases that organizations go through in adopting cloud.

First, application developers fall in love with cloud-based disposable infrastructure and/or ready-built app development platforms that circumvent long purchasing cycles and capital asset growth limitations. Then other attractions, like commodity rentable infrastructure, or expansive platforms, become attractive. Sometimes applications are either extended to the cloud as private growth areas, or moved totally off premises.

In 2012, the number of cloud hosting service providers is likely to increase dramatically due to meet demand in these areas. But security and reliability/SLA worries must be assuaged, and that will continue to spawn not only management application makeovers, but also new, cloud-based services for both cloud and on-premise resources and assets.

Along with the standard cloud offering of infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, varieties and gradients of value-added services, especially services surrounding administration, active security and migration services will grow proportionately.

We tested products that perform security in a number of diverse ways, including personal identity management, the perennial one-click logon management, but also numerous applications that provide cloud-based monitoring of both cloud and on-premise resources. We expect the number of packages in these categories to climb. Products that add intelligence to security monitoring, such as syslog managers, will increase in number as well as products that monitor assets.

Asset monitoring has become more difficult because of the addition of more and diverse mobile assets, especially smart-phones - and tablets are right behind. We reviewed several mobile device management (MDM) applications, and found that the convenience of cloud-based controls seemed to trump on-premise asset tracking and policy application.

We see the trend toward cloud-based MDM growing meteorically, and users will interact with MDM applications in more direct ways as the trend toward organizationally sanctioned application stores or resources will grow. The rationale is the desire to vet the security and privacy compliance of applications used by employees on smart-phones and tablets, and to contain costs that are negotiated in bulk, rather than in retail quantities for users.

In the same vein, as MDM applications increase their dominion over mobile assets, the scope is likely to expand toward "internal" fixed-location assets, such as desktops, servers and peripherals. This means that best-of-breed applications now running in the cloud will connect with more assets for control, then offer overall audit responsibility for compliance and regulatory control. This segment explodes.

Similarly, we see a trend toward combinations of MDM as well as identity management in applications. Microsoft's System Center is an example of an unreleased but announced product meeting this trend, but it also has competition that's lighter on its feet on the horizon.

The cloud host providers, managed services organizations, will be an increasing broker of cloud "stack services" that allow rapid application development and deployment for persistent applications, while on the other hand offering stack allegiances with various industry initiatives, like OpenStack. Tools that leverage development frameworks and platforms also will increase, brokered by MSO/MSPs to deliver more comprehensive solutions.

These offerings will include desktop as a service, which lets especially tablet devices become "full members" in application deployment schemes. MSPs and other hosting organizations will offer an increasingly diverse set of Internet logons to walled-garden applications utilizing various administrative and management schemes. The DaaS goal will be to use any kind of device to access applications uniformly via the Internet. Smartcard and bio-authentication devices for multiple-factor authentication to DaaS services will also grow as dictionary attacks and sniffing tools become an onerous crack in security.

The final bit of growth in cloud in 2012 is likely to arrive in the form of education, and standardized education leading to credentialization for cloud implementations. Cloud is becoming a large enough concept with sufficiently different applications to become a discipline in and of itself - apart or augmented with data center principles.

Cloud Computing Trends to Watch in 2012

Excerpted from Data Center Knowledge Report by Rich Miller

What will be the hot trends in 2012? We asked our readers to share their predictions in several key areas, and as expected, the hottest topic is cloud computing. Now, on to the predictions for cloud computing trends to watch in 2012!

Vineet Jain, CEO at Egnyte

1. Hybrid is the new black - and we're not talking cars. The amorphous cloud has certainly laid its claim to our hearts and minds, but enterprises aren't going to just jump ship. Like the hybrid car strategy of marrying the known with the new, enterprises will adopt hybrid clouds that maintain the benefits of traditional servers with the accessibility of public cloud.

2. Tablet meet the other Jobs - the ones we go to everyday. 2012 is going to be all about how those slick devices we already use to read the news and watch movies will shift to become real business tools. And guess what, it's going to be executives, who by the way love them, who will drive their use in the workplace. When the person in charge sees how useful something can be, they'll make sure it gets accepted.

3. Offshoring is out, on-shoring is in - because the right people to do the job are often right here in the United States. With cloud commuting on the rise, employers are going to realize they can on-shore jobs in Iowa or Idaho instead of looking to India or Ireland. Pay an engineer the local wage, leave them at home, give them access to the tools of a cloud commuter and it's just like they're working from the corporate office.

4. Freemium isn't really free - because while the end user might not pay, there are enormous costs for businesses who have to support the patchwork of mediocre products designed only to solve one person's problem, not solve an organizational problem. Not to mention the fact that it isn't a sustainable business model - designed only to pump up the numbers and give the appearance of size. Didn't we learn from the first dot com bubble?

5. Cloud commuting. We dropped the "p" - because today's office doesn't have to be 4 walls and a water cooler. In fact, the cloud let's you sit in meetings, take calls, and read endless e-mail strings you've been cc'd on just like you're in your cube. Between cheaper tablets / mobile devices, better productivity apps, easy Internet access and acceptance of the cloud as a part of the corporate infrastructure, employers and employees can save corporations time, money and resources, with the added bonus of saving the world by staying off the roads.

Michael Crandell, CEO at RightScale

In the most transformative technology shift since the personal computer and the Internet, it's apparent that migrating business to the cloud reached a tipping point in 2011, where it is no longer a trend, but rather an absolute business requirement. As a leader in the cloud, RightScale has a identified a few of the top trends on the horizon for 2012:

1. Step 2 Is Visibility. In 2011, companies realized that virtualization is only the halfway point and that a true cloud is automated, scalable and most importantly, API-driven. In 2012, enterprises must gain visibility into the entire lifecycle of cloud-based applications, from development to deployment to operations - and across multiple cloud providers and resource pools. That's the true promise of cloud computing, and the only way to realize it is through multi-cloud management.

2. Multicloud Makes its Move: This year, true private clouds emerged as key complements to public clouds, and companies now have unprecedented choice among cloud infrastructure alternatives, including public, private and hybrid clouds. In fact, with RightScale, users have access to nine public clouds across the globe, and can also build private clouds with the help of RightScale's three leading private cloud partners. Looking ahead, enterprises need to have better control of this cloud usage, without limiting the ease-of-use of cloud consumption - and that means offering self-service for users.

3. Standardization without Standards. Today, the world of cloud workloads resembles the Wild West, where anything goes in terms of limitless builds and deployment options. In 2012, development and operations teams within companies need a shared management framework that both enables portability across APIs and provides dynamic configuration of standardized workloads in order to ensure that their cloud solutions will be easy to manage and maintain throughout their lifecycle.

Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies

Public Cloud 'Gets' Security. Sad but true - many (most?) enterprise decision-makers still do not trust public cloud. In 2012, it is essential that IT do a better job of deploying and explaining cloud security. Next year, CIOs will see security as less of a barrier to cloud adoption as organizations adopt more and better cloud-oriented security solutions - including solutions designed for complex hybrid cloud services, as well as solutions that are delivered through the cloud with easily-consumed Security SaaS options.

Public Cloud Adoption Will Slow. Despite anticipated progress in addressing public cloud security, there are other barriers (perceived or real) with compliance, service quality, skills, staffing, complexity, and good old politics that will put the brakes on public cloud adoption. Given the results of this year's Longhaus research from Australia - an early adopter market and a bellwether for business technology - I suspect the world is in for a slowdown. It is unsure whether 'cloud stall' will be as pronounced as 'virtual stall' but I predict that in the coming year, we will generally see slower adoption rates.

Cloud Gets Heterogeneous. My last prediction is that the cloud will get heterogeneous. Not only will mainframe become part of the cloud landscape, but public cloud providers will also start to offer UNIX and maybe even other non-x86 platforms. I have recently seen this in action (CA did it internally years ago), and most large enterprises are heavily dependent on heterogeneous systems for their mission-critical applications. Despite the common myth that cloud = commodity servers, heterogeneous servers will start to become more available for large enterprise deployments.

Robert Jenkins, CTO at CloudSigma

There's no doubt that the cloud has come a long way since it first became a viable form of computing. However, there is tremendous room for improvement in terms of flexibility in the cloud, particularly in terms of user control, resources and deployments:

User Control - Today, most IaaS providers closely manage companies' cloud deployments and data, locking them into agreements that limit their data access, or even charge them a fee to remove their data. With flexibility demands on the rise, in 2012, providers will have to accommodate companies' desire for complete data portability where they have access to and control over all of their data.

Resources - Unlike today's typical bundled resources, in 2012, many cloud providers should come to realize the efficiencies of unbundled resources, allowing users to buy CPU, RAM and storage in the exact quantities they need. With such a system in place, companies can customize their resource purchasing without concerns of over provisioning.

Deployments - Currently, when migrating to the cloud, many companies are forced to change their operating system or software to accommodate the provider's restrictions. In 2012, lifting restrictions on operating systems and application deployments will be something many providers will need to adopt as this will give enterprises not only the flexibility, but the confidence to move away from their proprietary infrastructure and into the cloud.

The cloud was initially conceived to be a more flexible, scalable and accessible IT environment. In order to stay aligned with that model in 2012 and beyond, restrictive cloud providers will need to strip away their limitations on resources, deployments and user control. Achieving a completely customizable and flexible IaaS platform will be a necessity in order to remain a viable public cloud option and meet customer demand.

Michael Keen, VP of PreSales at ASG Software Solutions

In 2011, we saw countless articles on cloud computing, describing what it is, what it isn't, its explosive growth, and its shortcomings and benefits. Having been able to digest all that information, CIOs in 2012 will finally come to realize that cloud computing goes well beyond the technology behind it. The cloud will become a new operational model for IT and a new resource for driving customer service, attaining faster time-to-market and gaining a competitive advantage in the overcrowded marketplace.

We'll also see IT organizations begin to review cloud delivery models and conduct a thorough business impact analysis of those models to determine which one fits best in their company's overall IT strategy. This will go hand-in-hand with a review of IT skill sets, since new technologies require different types of IT staff. With this new operational model, it is imperative that management get a good handle on the right people and processes.

Another big word for next year is data - both structured and unstructured. IT organizations will put a concerted effort in getting a handle on the data they own. In fact, we've already seen this trend start to gain momentum with the rapid rise of companies like Hadoop. The companies that are able to get a handle on this and leverage it to their advantage will be the leaders in their respective industries. IT organizations will work hard over the next year to use these new operational models and business intelligence to finally become a strategic partner to the business and not an inhibitor to innovation.

Roy Sanford, Chief Marking Officer at Stratus Technologies

Though still in its infancy, cloud computing is already one of today's biggest technology buzzwords. For countless Web sites, businesses and platforms, the cloud has become the enabler of our online experience. In 2012, cloud computing will be one of the most important and fast-paced technologies, and one particular area that will receive increased attention is inconsistency in quality of service in the cloud.

A common notion is that cloud service providers offer better uptime assurance than can be achieved internally. While this is probably true in some cases, "better" uptime assurance isn't what businesses should strive for; they should work towards continuous uptime. Most companies and all cloud service providers that I've come across assume that failure in the cloud is inevitable, and their message to users is to get used to it. In reality, it's inevitable that things do break, but failure is preventable. Building an infrastructure for failure recovery versus failure prevention is a complete mind-set change (like cloud computing) and a different approach to application support and infrastructure investment.

In 2011 we saw a major cloud provider experience a prolonged outage that severely hurt its customers' businesses. Expectations for continuous uptime will continue to increase in 2012 as more applications are delivered this way. Businesses relying on the cloud will be forced to examine the technology they have in place to ensure that they can deliver uptime to their customers. With everything relying on servers, from smart-phones to emergency rooms, 2012 will be the year in which scrutiny is turned on quality of service in the cloud and server uptime assurance.

Ed Laczynski, Vice President of Cloud Architecture and Strategy at Datapipe

Mainstream adoption has established cloud computing as a vital part of Enterprise IT strategic planning. As the model evolves, the ability to meet the developing governance and security requirements of global businesses will be crucial in 2012. Datapipe predicts the following three trends will appear in 2012 as companies continue to turn to the cloud to safeguard valuable information:

Mainstreaming Continues - Everything "As a Service" The movement toward mainstreaming the cloud has been validated by popular services from major consumer players and continues to grow the cloud share of technology spend. The need to qualify technology as "cloud" will start to disappear and be implicit in how quality services are sold and delivered to savvy customers.

Asian Markets To See Massive Expansion in Cloud Adoption Regional businesses will leverage service providers with experience in mission critical IT services at scale, while businesses seeking to gain global market share will benefit from providers that have US and UK based operations to provide governance in this new frontier.

Cloud Security Will Be in the Forefront Effective security services and vigilant governance will be required to avoid an eventual concentration of intentional - and unintentional - security breaches.

Antonio Piraino, CTO at ScienceLogic

Cloud management moves up the priority list: Management always seems to be a secondary concern when hot new technologies come to the fore. Cloud computing is no different. This is not just about managing cloud resources but managing service delivery across both data center and cloud infrastructures. Harnessing these expansive, decentralized and fluid virtual environments to gain visibility and control is challenging but critical. Both cloud service providers and enterprise IT pros will be looking to separate fact from fiction among the management vendors' claims in 2012.

Operational Business Intelligence expands: A popular use of cloud computing resources today is Big Data and business analytics, but the IT infrastructure itself can also be a great source of business intelligence if cultivated properly. This largely untapped resource will become one of the true differentiators of business operations in 2012, especially as the underlying infrastructure continues to become less and less differentiated in terms of baseline functionality. Correlating the right data points, especially around IT operations, can help organizations make more informed decisions about human resource needs, capacity planning, future spending and ability to increase business productivity.

New topologies rise: While data center and server consolidation is a big endeavor of the federal government and many large organizations, there is ironically a parallel trend at work for data to follow the applications, and applications to follow the users of those applications. The reason is so that compute cycles can be consumed as logically close to the users as possible (akin to content delivery networks). This is driving a hub-and-spoke style topology of compute power, where some applications and databases will reside centrally, and more agile applications reside in a more dispersed environment. Understanding the topology needed will help organizations make more informed decisions about where to host their applications in 2012.

Darryl Brown, Director of Cloud, SaaS, and Media at Telx

In 2012, we will see the accelerated deployment of dedicated, hosted clouds in colocation facilities. We'll see more enterprises turn to off-site data centers for storage of heavily used data, such as business intelligence data, or enterprise data resources that are leveraged by both on-site and mobile employees. Within these colocation sites, enterprises will gain access into private cloud environments, reducing the costs associated with the continuous backhauling of that data. These enterprise data center customers will want the most choice in cloud providers and even more choices in how to connect with them.

We will also see these third-party colocation facilities leveraged more as WAN hubs and gateways. There is going to be an ongoing evolution from private hosting to private cloud, in order to deliver privately hosted services for better utilization of the existing hardware assets. I think medium to large enterprises will be early adopters, and then smaller enterprises will follow suit.

What will be key for the widespread adoption of this model will be the evolution of "shrink wrap," turnkey, private clouds - essentially, making the enterprise hardware/software mere appliances. Think of this as the Apple approach to enterprise cloud computing - simple, easy to use, easy to manage - packaged hardware and software together to deliver a fully integrated cloud at a cost-effective price point. In 2012, cloud will become a commodity: an integrated "business in a box" that will accelerate adoption, increase time to value with internal IT. Cloud computing will be a technology and methodology, not a product.

Jelle Frank van der Zwet, Cloud Marketing Manager at Interxion

2011 marked a significant year for cloud computing, and with half of Gartner's top predictions for IT organizations and users for 2012 and beyond centered on the cloud, it's certain that next year will be another critical year for the cloud industry. Although well-known IT providers offer public clouds and have moved some companies to the cloud, it is time for a more focused group to lead cloud deployment, giving companies a more individualized solution that works for them.

Because of their deep experience in infrastructure optimization and the trust they have already established with many organizations, system integrators (SIs) have the power to be the real cloud migrations agents in 2012, enabling significant uptake in the cloud. SIs are known for their personalized customer service and tailored service-level agreements (SLAs), which many public cloud providers simply can't offer. While some organizations may believe these big-name IT vendors are the right companies to assist them in their transition to the cloud, they may not be the answer for organizations moving to the cloud, as they tend to be a one-size-fits-all solution.

SIs are likely already working with organizations that will be targeting to achieve costs and efficiency benefits of migrating to the cloud. So, it's a natural fit for them to drive next year's movement. For SIs that would like to offer cloud services but may not be ready to build and roll out their own underlying platforms, they can test the cloud in a data center testing lab environment, which allows them to develop services before fully transitioning their customers to the cloud.

2012 will be an important year for cloud computing, and with their experience, flexibility and long-standing relationships, SIs can lead the way.

Treb Ryan, CEO at OpSource

Managed Private Cloud. 2011 brought wide-scale growth in adoption of public cloud services, not to mention an explosion in providers. Enterprises found public cloud models especially beneficial in test and development environments, where the pay-as-you-go model realizes cost savings quickly. These initial deployments whetted IT departments' appetites for larger, enterprise-wide adoption in 2012, with a managed private cloud at the core.

CIOs desire a turnkey, automated private cloud from which they can service the cloud computing needs of the entire organization, while maintaining data sovereignty on-premise. Moving forward, they'll quickly find that the complexity of creating and managing such an infrastructure is more demanding than expected. To launch an internal private cloud, enterprises will look to private cloud service providers to assist them with maintaining the benefits of the cloud model by managing the infrastructure for them. Data will remain on-premise, reducing risk and addressing compliance concerns, while outsourced management keeps costs low.

Business Continuity: Moving Disaster Recovery to the Cloud. IT system downtime costs North American businesses $26.5b annually, however most organizations have not developed a disaster recovery plan capable of handling catastrophic events. CIOs have found DR plans can be costly, time consuming and built to address only specific situations. As more enterprise applications and development tools move to the cloud, so will the need to develop a secure mechanism for preventing disruption in business. As companies evaluate their cloud spend for 2012, disaster recovery will be at the top of the list for many.

By placing DR in the cloud, organizations can scale cloud computing resources on the fly, only paying for computing resources consumed. With cloud-based solutions, organizations could build a second site managed separately and with all the cost benefits of the cloud. In 2012, it will be critical for cloud offerings to include security, performance and operational components necessary to be true enterprise-class solutions. This enables IT to experience dramatic cost savings while maintaining stringent business continuity objectives.

Eric Webster, Chief Revenue Officer at Doyenz

As the cloud move towards the disaster recovery market, organizations will have greater expectations around application availability and intuitive web-based management. In 2012 we can expect to see the following shifts take place:

1. The Demise of Cloud Storage. Many businesses think of cloud storage as a hard disk in the sky, when in fact the only functionality cloud storage provides is data backup and retrieval. We believe companies will look beyond cloud-based storage solutions to a new generation of recovery as-a-service technologies, focusing on replication and recovery of production environments in the cloud.

2. Companies Will Demand Availability of Applications, Not Just Data. As we all know, companies are increasingly relying on software applications to run their business. While this increased dependency on apps seems like a simple concept, it is making them more vulnerable than ever. With this shift in mind, it's important that organizations demand not only data recovery capabilities, but full application recovery.

3. Access to Recovery Environments from Any Device, Anytime, Anywhere Becomes Critical Requirement. In the cloud, it's all about instant and scalable access to your data. We believe that these consumerized cloud computing expectations will influence requirements of service providers. In 2012, organizations will require vendors to provide intuitive web management that enables instant access to production applications from any device.

Bruce Tolley, VP of Solutions Marketing at Solarflare

In 2011, the world was abuzz about Big Data. During 2012, we will see Big Data re-invent itself to become ready for prime time deployment in Fortune 500 enterprise IT shops. What's the reason behind our thinking? Data center and storage professionals do not have the leisure to integrate 20 different open source technologies to deploy one data mining application. These IT managers will increasing look to the vendors to deliver appliances that integrate well with existing data infrastructure and whose systems are certified, pre-configured and optimized to scale from small two to four node proof of concepts to racks of 20 to 1000 servers.

On that note, with the growth of Big Data applications, there inevitably comes an increase in network traffic. Technologies like MapReduce attempt to collocate the data to be processed close to the network nodes doing the processing, thereby conserving network bandwidth and making access faster because it is local. Compute nodes can become idle though when network I/O becomes a bottleneck. To overcome this, we'll see an increase in paired solutions, such as 10GbE networking combined with data decentralization. Such integrated solutions enable decreased latency, increased application performance and faster message rates. This collaboration will also help customers more effectively install and run Big Data applications, moving them closer to the network, where the best performance happens.

We have only touched the tip of the iceberg in the growth of Big Data technology. The amount of data in our world is expanding daily, as seen in the continuous growth of social networking, Internet search, financial trading and similar, data-intensive applications. 2012 will not only bring an increase in Big Data in the enterprise, but in networking technology that helps alleviate the problems associated with the influx of data.

Coming Events of Interest

2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - January 10th-13th in Las Vegas, NV. With more than four decades of success, the International CES reaches across global markets, connects the industry and enables CE innovations to grow and thrive. This is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow. 

CONTENT IN THE CLOUD at CES - January 11th in Las Vegas, NV. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of cloud-delivered content on specific segments and industries, including consumers, telecom, media, and CE manufacturers.

State of the Net Conference - January 17th-18th in Washington, DC. Unparalleled opportunities to network and engage on key policy issues at the largest information technology (IT) policy conference in the US and the only tech policy conference routinely recognized for its balanced blend of academics, consumer groups, industry, and government. 

Social Media Insider Summit - January 22nd-25th in Key Largo, FL. Attendees will hear case studies from leading brands who have been able to turn social media campaigns into results.

Cloud Connect - February 13th-16th in Santa Clara, CA. The premier technology event for cloud computing, features the latest technologies, platforms, strategies, and innovations within cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Imperative 2012 - March 12th-13th in Dubai, UAE. Strategies to implement IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and XaaS. Plan the shift of IT responsibilities, get fresh perspective on managing project budgets, build a strong ROI for cloud computing, understand the shift from managed services to the cloud, master the cloud infrastructure and see cloud security from a hacker's perspective.

2012 NAB Show - April 14th-19th in Las Vegas, NV. From Broadcasting to Broader-casting, the NAB Show has evolved over the last eight decades to continually lead this ever-changing industry. From creation to consumption, the NAB Show has proudly served as the incubator for excellence - helping to breathe life into content everywhere. 

CLOUD COMPUTING CONFERENCE at NAB - April 16th in Las Vegas, NV. Don't miss this full-day conference focusing on the impact of cloud computing solutions on all aspects of production, storage, and delivery of television programming and video.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated January 7, 2012
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