Cloud keys an era of new IT responsiveness and efficiency

James Statenand I wrote this vision of the future of cloud computing. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook to advise CIOs on productive use of cloud computing and is relevant to application development and delivery leaders as well.  

This research charts the shifts taking place in the market as indicated by the most advanced cloud developers and consumers. In the future, look for the popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models to become much more flexible by allowing greater customisation and integration. 

Look for more pragmatic cloud development platforms that cross the traditional cloud service boundaries of SaaS, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and IaaS. And look for good private and public cloud options — and simpler ways of integrating private-public hybrids.

The key takeaways from this research are:

A key finding of our research is emergence of a new model for cloud platforms. We call this model IaaS-Plus and cite Amazon Web Services as the primary example. There are now two major kinds of cloud platforms: IaaS-Plus and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).  

In the IaaS-Plus model, developers have greater operating system, middleware, and database choice than they do with PaaS, greater ability to configure IaaS resources, as well as OS, middleware, and database than they have with PaaS, as well as access to mix-and-match application services. 

Amazon Web Services is by far the most popular cloud platform, and we expect high adoption of other IaaS-Plus offerings as other vendors join the category. Microsoft and Google, for example, recently added IaaS-Plus options to their cloud platforms, which previously were PaaS only. Will PaaS die? No, but neither will the PaaS model dominate. 

The table below briefly compares IaaS-Plus and PaaS.


Other key findings:

What it means: It is time for CIOs to assemble their plans to consume, manage, offer, and secure cloud services and platforms - with the emphasis on public services. This means creating new career paths for your key IT leaders, getting them the experience and training they need to make this transition successfully, and embracing the services that will be the foundation for this new, more diverse portfolio now.

Our research incorporates findings from Forrester’s Q3 2012 Global Cloud Developer Online Survey. Find a summary of that survey’s findings here.

Posted by John R. Rymer

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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