The Year of the Cloud - why it wasn't 2012 and won't be 2013

Last year saw cloud make its way into the enterprise but talk of a year of the cloud may be misguided

It’s almost obligatory within the media to use the end of the year as an excuse to look back on the previous one and sum up what it’s been like.  It’s a chance to weigh up the good points and the bad points of the previous year and look ahead to what the new year might bring.

For the last three or four years, there’s been a belief that we’re on the precipice of “The Year of the Cloud”. It’s not something that’s easily defined: is this when the majority of workloads are running in the cloud? We’re clearly nowhere near there. Is it that the majority of new workloads are running in the cloud? We’re not near there either. Is it that cloud is now something considered by every CIO? No, not there yet either, but make it most CIOs and we’re getting somewhere.

Looking back on 2012, it’s not true to say that we finally reached The Year of the Cloud but we certainly saw a sea-change in the attitude of many companies. There are still lots of organisations out there with major concerns about public cloud, with nagging security worries, but there are also organisations who are willing to look at cloud as an option and that there are many companies who have started looking at cloud.

Looking back on 2012, it’s not true to say that we finally reached The Year of the Cloud 

It’s a phenomenon that’s been noticed. In his end of the year summary, Forrester cloud guru James Staten says that “As the end of 2012 approaches there is one clear takeaway about the cloud computing market — enterprise use has arrived.”

Of course, this was heralded a few years back. In a famous prediction, Gartner said that by the end of 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets and rely entirely on IT from the cloud. We’ve not reached that stage yet but according to Gartner, the public cloud services market will have grown 19.6 percent by the end of 2012 to be worth $109 billion worldwide,

One problem that has bedeviled 2012  - as it did in 2011 is that of cloudwashing. There are too many companies who define what they're doing as cloud even though it's not – it works in reverse too. According to one cloud provider, selling to southern Europe requires a completely different philosophy as there’s resistance to the term in that neck of the woods.

While we’re still waiting for cloud to be the dominant delivery mechanism in most modern businesses – officially at least, there’s plenty of evidence that cloud computing is making its presence felt in other parts of the business. In fact, if 2012 proved to the year of anything it’s the year of the shadow cloud – the use of cloud computing outside the purlieu of the IT department.

No-one really has any grasp of how much cloud is being used by large organisations that has been provisioned outside the IT department, by its very definition, shadow IT is shadowy, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that most large organisations now have some sort of IT instances that the CIO does not yet know about.

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