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2012 Cloud Data Trends – Year in Review

A look back at how our 2012 predictions fared

It was nearly a year ago that I authored a post predicting ten hot trends in cloud data for 2012. While there’s a strong temptation to cast old predictions into ancient history and dive into ten predictions for 2013, I felt it more appropriate to first glance back and reflect on how those past predictions fared.

After all, much can transpire over the course of 12 months — hot technologies cool off, fads pass, buzzwords vanish — and, of course, some technologies really stick. So let’s take this opportunity to revel in our success or eat our humble pie. Without much ado, here are the predicted 2012 trends and how they fared:

  1. Hybrid data storage environments which integrate cloud storage into on-premise IT. 2012 brought key validations by cloud service providers of hybrid storage environments via product roll-outs and acquisitions. These included the introduction of the AWS storage gateway and the acquisition of StorSimple by Microsoft. Verdict? Needless to say, you’ll hear a lot from us at TwinStrata after the end of this year regarding hybrid cloud storage adoption, so stay tuned…
  2. Private cloud environments within enterprise companies. While managed private cloud solutions such as Nirvanix have demonstrated continued success, open source clouds for the enterprise do-it-yourselfers have not quite emerged as viable alternatives. Moreover, factions have emerged between OpenStack and CloudStack for supremacy in the open source cloud space, perhaps complicating decisions. Verdict? The jury is still out. Keep an eye on this space to see how 2013 shakes out.
  3. Disaster recovery to the cloud as a viable option. Demand for DR as a service in the cloud has not waned. In fact, there has been more business and enterprise adoption of cloud DRaaS requiring no dedicated infrastructure — though buyers should beware of dedicated hosted DR parading as cloud DR. Verdict? Progress, but the best is likely yet to come.
  4. Disaster recovery from the cloud as a new need. Not surprisingly, 2012 brought its share of cloud outages. In spite of these, cloud-to-cloud disaster recovery and off-cloud disaster recovery remained the exception rather than the norm. Verdict? Maybe 2013.
  5. Simplified on-boarding of applications to the cloud. With vendors like VMware, DynamicOps, Citrix, VMTurbo and others extending virtual on-premise workloads to the cloud and vendors like Racemi and RiverMeadow pulling on-premise workloads to the cloud, the option to migrate apps to the cloud has become more viable. According to a recent Cloud Expo survey from November, the majority of respondents outsource less than a third of their infrastructure to the cloud. Verdict? The cloud move is happening, but on-premise infrastructure still comprises the vast majority.
  6. Non-relational databases for big data. With Oracle entering the fray of NoSQL databases in 2011, it was a safe assumption that the technology was making early strides. A few successful deployments, and the funding of DataStax are indicative of burgeoning interest. Verdict? Still early, but another technology to watch in 2013.
  7. Use of the cloud for analytics. With Google BigQuery joining Amazon Elastic MapReduce to help companies analyze their Big Data in the cloud, offerings including those from specialized analytics vendors are proliferating. According to Forrester research, 38% of all companies from a survey are planning a business intelligence SaaS project before the end of 2013. Verdict? It’s on the way.
  8. SSD tiers of storage in the cloud.  During the summer, Amazon launched larger AWS instances employing SSD. Also in October, Rackspace launched a tier of high-performance block storage using SSD. Verdict? SSD storage tiers are now available. Watch for the uptake in 2013.
  9. Improvements in data reduction technology to address large rich media files. While deduplication has surfaced in a range of primary and backup storage products, the struggle still remains with rich media (video and images) which typically do not reduce well. To be fair, companies such as SeaChange have added deduplication to their media-centric products. Verdict? Capacity and bandwidth remain the kings of media for now.
  10. “Cloud-envy” from cloud laggards. I predicted that some of the laggards will likely seek ways to leverage cloud methodologies that improve IT efficiency. I also predicted some will fall prey to cloudwashing by purchasing traditional IT infrastructure named “cloud” in an attempt to satisfy their “cloud-envy.” Verdict? Watch for cloud poseurs abusing a new buzzword: “software-defined.”

So how do you think we fared overall? Were we a little ahead of our time sometimes? Are we on the right track? You bet.

Up next: bold predictions for 2013.

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More Stories By Nicos Vekiarides

Nicos Vekiarides is the Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of TwinStrata. He has spent over 20 years in enterprise data storage, both as a business manager and as an entrepreneur and founder in startup companies.

Prior to TwinStrata, he served as VP of Product Strategy and Technology at Incipient, Inc., where he helped deliver the industry's first storage virtualization solution embedded in a switch. Prior to Incipient, he was General Manager of the storage virtualization business at Hewlett-Packard. Vekiarides came to HP with the acquisition of StorageApps where he was the founding VP of Engineering. At StorageApps, he built a team that brought to market the industry's first storage virtualization appliance. Prior to StorageApps, he spent a number of years in the data storage industry working at Sun Microsystems and Encore Computer. At Encore, he architected and delivered Encore Computer's SP data replication products that were a key factor in the acquisition of Encore's storage division by Sun Microsystems.