2011 is coming to its end and now is a good time to start planning for 2012. I thought that a good start would be too look at my 2011 predictions and if my previous (and first) attempt to predict someting in that turbulent environment held any water...so, here is a quick recap of 2011.
Recap of 2011
Private vs. Public Cloud - As I noted in my recent post Public vs. Private Clouds I felt that during 2011 the debate around public vs. public cloud would become less interesting, as most of the industry has started to accept the fact that there is a need for both environments, and the important issue would become how to make them work well together. The most interesting development in that regard was Rackspace’s recent announcement about their plan to support OpenStack based private clouds, which shows that even public cloud providers have fully embraced this idea.
OpenStack is evolving from a movement into a viable reality - the momentum around OpenStack has gone through ups and downs throughout the year as happens with every new technology. However looking back, it appears that 2011 was a fairly successful year for OpenStack with its first public cloud available already in the market. Dell and HP have started to offer the OpenStack based cloud to their customers, as has Citrix. Rackspace announced their plan to provide official support including for those who want to build their own OpenStack environment…that's quite big considering the short timeframe from when the technology was first introduced…still there is a long way to go but the future looks promising - check out this survey in that regard.
PaaS adoption has been happening at a slower pace than expected, despite the fact that the trend remains consistent. For PaaS startups 2011 was a fairly significant year with the acquisition of Heroku by Salesforce. Amazon Redhat and VMware joined the PaaS arena; Amazon with Elastic Beanstalk, Redhat with their OpenShift initiative, VMware with CloudFoundry, adding to its previous acquisition of SpringSource vFabric. This was a fairly significant year for us at GigaSpaces as we launched a new product in this same domain that aims to completely change the way PaaS is being taught today (stay tuned…).
Google App Engine have no doubt been the disappointment of the year by literally killing GAE as we knew it (amongst many other things) with their new pricing model.
Big Data has gone real time. Facebook made a big announcement on how they moved their batch-oriented analytics system to real time analytics (See my previous posts on this subject here and here). Twitter announced a launch of a new Real Time Analytics dashboard; while both join Google and Yahoo who have already started to make this shift. Google has also been transforming their web analytics framework into real time. As I noted in my 2011 predictions, the entire debate around NoSQL and SQL didn't make sense, and indeed we’ve seen quite a few announcements both from Cassandra and Couchbase on their support for SQL-like query support.
In Memory Data Grids have also taken a similar approach where, with GigaSpaces, we’ve launched our JPA support, other Data Grid implementations such as Infinispan and Gemfire seems to be heading in that same direction each adding different levels of SQL support. The interesting development in this regard is that we were able to prove that you could actually mix and match Document/Schemaless APIs with SQL APIs and have the flexibility to choose the right language for the job (See online demo Same Data Any API).
All in all I think that I came fairly close - don't you think…?
Ok that gives me enough confidence to try the same thing for 2012.
iCloud everywhere - IMO the biggest shift in Cloud is the fact that it’s going to become pretty much invisible to many of the end users as new mobile devices, operating systems and applications start to be designed with cloud support in mind. Apple iCloud and DropBox mark the beginning of this trend. Using cloud for collaboration and synchronization is definitely a killer app for many of the consumer based apps. I expect that in 2012 we’re going to continue to see a big push of many SaaS-based offerings in that space toward rich client support that uses the cloud as a backend and leverages the power of the new generation of advanced mobile devices. The difference is that those clients won’t be just another frontend for the same web UI, but something that will run almost entirely on the mobile device and will use more generic cloud services for synchronization and collaboration. This will create the need for more generic cloud services such as database as a service and other middleware services that can interact directly from mobile applications.
Moving from Amazon-centric clouds to Cloud Mashups – In 2011 we started to see new kinds of clouds starting to pop up. Literally every hardware vendor (IBM, Dell, HP,..), telco (ATT, Verizon, KT), and software provider (Oracle, Microsoft) are either developing or already offer something in this space. Each one tries to maintain a unique position to compete with Amazon either through SLAs, locality, security, or being more open through the support of OpenStack. In 2012, this movement is going to become even stronger as many of the players that have been making the investment during 2011 will come out full speed ahead in 2012.
Microsoft finally gets it with Azure - Microsoft has been around for a while with Azure with somewhat marginal success mostly around its .NET user base, an approach that is too narrow a play when it comes to cloud. Their cloud strategy is coming into focus with the offering of a more ubiquitous cloud supporting technologies that were previously unheard of on a MSFT cloud platform - such as Java, PHP and it wouldn't be too far to assume that they will be supporting Linux applications in the cloud as well.
Cost-driven Application Management - One of the things that is still fairly hard to measure in the cloud is cost, and more specifically how each component of our application and architecture contribute to cost. This is specifically true during current market conditions which are going to put even more pressure on cost savings. Cost-driven application design patterns will start to emerge, and will become an integral part of any design for cloud applications just as scalability and performance are today. A new form of Cost Driven Application Management (CDA) will start to emerge to provide better insight on how our application behaves from a cost analysis perspective - Newvem is a new startup in that space that already launched their private beta.
Mission Critical Apps move into the Cloud - As the industry matures there is no reason why we should draw the line for cloud adoption at simple apps. The challenge will be mostly around performance, latency, and ensuring continuous availability. A new class of middleware and application platforms that are designed specifically for cloud environments will become more popular to help in that transition. On the other hand, Java and JEE specifically will finally become more cloud ready as I noted in an earlier post - Java and the Center Stage.
Network Gets into Cloud API Stack - While compute and storage have become virtualized to fit into the cloud, we haven't seen much advancement on the network layer. Many of the networking providers are now launching APIs to enable better control over the cloud network. Alcatel recently announced an interesting cloud proposition in this domain specifically targeting telcos. The idea is to use the network as a vehicle for making distributed data centers look like one big cloud, making it possible to better leverage existing assets and offer SLA driven compute resources based on latency, location etc. Other cloud providers are also starting to open their network APIs starting from the Load Balancer down to the core switch. This opens up a new set of opportunities for integrating these network APIs with the upper layer of the application stack.
More OpenStack Clouds - 2011 was the just the beginning of that trend, 2012 will see more public and private cloud providers offering support for OpenStack APIs with RackSpace, Dell, and HP already making public announcements in this area. The interesting question in this regard would be how Citrix will play out their CloudStack acquisition with its OpenStack strategy.
DevOps and PaaS Converge into App DevOps PaaS - One of the topics that drew a lot of my personal interest last year was the DevOps movement. For odd reasons, most of that movement was driven by Ops and less by Devs. In 2012, we’ll see many of the DevOps tools such as Chef and Puppet integrated into application platforms making it easier to deploy complex applications onto the cloud. In the same way, we’re going to see more Application Platforms adopting the automation and recipe model from the DevOps world into the application platform. The latter have the potential to transform the opinionated PaaS offerings as we know them today, with Heroku and GAE leading that trend, into a more open PaaS offering that better fits into the way users develop apps today and giving more freedom to choose your own stack, cloud, and application blueprint.
Beyond Google App Engine, Heroku - Heroku established itself as a one of the early PaaS providers in the market and is now expanding their offering to Java. CloudFoundry, DotCloud and others are slightly different but still follow the same path. In 2012 you should expect more choices for completely different PaaS platforms starting with JEE PaaS offerings from Redhat, IBM, and Oracle, to private PaaS offerings which essentially are frameworks to build your own PaaS, DevOps PaaS offerings (see note above), as well as vertical PaaS for specific industries. Magento announced their plan to provide PaaS for eComm and it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that others will follow that same path.
Not only Hadoop Centric - During 2010 and to a lesser degree 2011 Big Data discussions were pretty much centered around Hadoop. NoSQL solutions such as Cassandra and Mongo are gaining fast adoption mainly due to the operational and development complexity that comes with Hadoop. That movement is going to continue at an even greater pace, as Hadoop gets fragmented between many vendors and frameworks such as EMC, MapR, Cloudera, Yahoo, IBM each claiming to own their own Hadoop distro. With new funding in the hands of many of the NoSQL startups I’d expect to see more complete solution stacks targeted at Big Data.
In Memory Data-Grid and NoSQL Become Integrated - During the early days of the NoSQL movement it wasn't clear how the two technologies fit together. As I noted in my previous post here, it actually makes more sense to integrate the two technologies in a context of real time analytics for Big Data or real time data processing for Big Data. Indeed during 2011 I started to see more case studies showing the use of the two technologies as with Facebook and Twitter. MemBase is also a good example for that approach with their announcment earlier this year about their integration of Memcached and CouchDB together into a single product. At GigaSpaces we added built-in integration for Cassandra and MongoDB, as noted here, and plan to invest more in that direction during 2012.
A New Class of Big Data Application Platforms will Address the Development and Operational Complexity of Big Data Applications - As Big Data application become more mainstream we start to hit the next level of complexity, development, and operational complexity. Clearly plugging NoSQL into your architecture may address your scalability requirements but at the same time it’s going to make your development and management experience more complex. Not because the products themselves are complex, but mostly it’s because it is less obvious how to build and design the application around these new technologies. As in previous years, the goal of application platforms is to ease that task by putting together an integrated stack that makes it easier to develop Big Data applications as I noted in my post on Big Data Application Platforms.
- The Future of Cloud Computing: Industry Predictions for 2012 | Cloud Computing Journal
- NoSQL Consolidation: CouchOne and Membase Merge to Form Couchbase
- 10 Predictions About Cloud Computing
- 2011 Cloud, PaaS, NoSQL Predictions
- Public vs Private clouds (Again!)- it's not about the cost
- Introducing Magento Go and the Magento Go Developer Platform. The Next Evolution in eCommerce
- Real Time Analytics for Big Data: An Alternative Approach
- Big Data Application Platform
- Java and the Center Stage.
- Same Data Any API