Living in the cloud

Today many people in the world use a free email account. This service is provided from a so called “cloud” service.  Other free services in the cloud are search engines, agenda, document management, crm tools, social media, video communication platforms, backup / file storage, music and photo management. Examples of these services: ICloud, Soundcloud, Googledocs, Gmail,Hotmail,Facebook,Linkedin,Skype,etc.

There are also paid cloud services which purpose is mostly to serve and attract (business) clients who want to pay a premium to get: security, reliability (uptimes like 99,9%) and commercial banner free work environments. Examples of these services: Windows Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Spotify, Googleapps, etc.

Why use Cloud services ?

Pros 
1 Have your service anywhere, anytime, device,browser and platform independent.
2 Scalability
3 Different payment options possible (Pay for usage, Pay per day, Pay for license, Pay for data storage, pay for internet traffic usage )
4 No supplier / service provider lock-in
5 Maintenance is done globally and everyone can profit immediately from any updates.

Cons
1 Availability guarantees are only nice when you can proof that´s it’s not related to your internet connection.
2 Interfacing between different cloud services is still in the startup phase.
3 Your data will not stay in one country, but will be probably hosted from multiple low cost country locations.
4 Data migration from your current systems into the cloud services can be challenging.
5 Privacy and security risks, due to the data storage in multiple countries from where some of them could be influenced by political, economical situations.

Future of cloud services
Here are some statements from several suppliers and benchmark firms:

  • By 2013, 40% of small and medium firms will use cloud services. (Microsoft)
  • By 2015, 50% of “Integration as a Service” (IaaS) will be consumed as an embedded feature of other IT offerings. (Gartner)
  • More focus on Integration platform as a service” (iPaaS), an evolved form of integration as a service (IaaS) that delivers a hybrid combination of integration, governance, security and other interoperability capabilities delivered in the Cloud to link applications, SOA services and Cloud services. (Gartner)
  • The war between Google Apps vs Apple’s Icloud will be linked to their mobile devices.
  •  New business models will need to be developed as technology firms are offering free cloud services financed by their device sales.
  • Desktop as a service (DAAS) is a future service that may shake up the outsourcing business completely. (CITRIX)
  • In 2015, public cloud services will account for 46 percent of net new growth in overall IT spending in five key product categories – applications, application development and deployment, systems infrastructure software, basic storage, and servers (IDC)
  • In 2015 Software-oriented cloud services (SaaS) will account for roughly three quarters of all spending on public cloud IT services throughout the forecast. This includes all three software-oriented cloud categories, not just applications. Spending on hardware-oriented cloud services (servers and storage) will be largely driven by SaaS providers building out their infrastructure. (IDC)
  • Database a a service (DAAS) will be a mature service in 2013.
Now what?
The future of cloud services for consumers and business users is looking very bright. Almost all of the current business IT services will be in the cloud by 2015. Consumers who use mobile devices will all be working with cloud services by 2012. Big savings can be expected by early adaptors who are willing to take the cons and risks involved. This is where the highest hurdle stand and needs to be taken: data protection for large firms. Currently there are not many cloud service providers who offer a semi-private cloud service that is hosted from a location which the client demands. When the first top 500 company will take this cloud hurdle the sky will become free of clouds and a clear sky with many business opportunities opens up for innovative companies.
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