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The Cloud still has hills to climb before it hits maturity, IBM says

The hardware is getting there but software will be the real sweet spot, experts sayIBM says the Cloud still has a few challenges to overcome before reaching its maturity. Core business applications will start to appear in the cloud over the next 18 months, but even then the market will still be a long way off maturity, according to IBM cloud experts. In an interview with DatacenterDynamics, IBM Cloud Strategy Leader for the UK and Ireland Laura Colvine and Cloud Leader Doug Clark said that while in 2011 cloud computing appeared to move towards critical mass, it would be a “misunderstanding” to think the Cloud has matured. “There may be some ticks in boxes that are done, and some organizations that are starting to put cloud computing on the agenda and shifting some components to virtual provisioning but the true pay-as-you-go provisioning in the true cloud environment, whether public, private or hybrid, is not anywhere near maturity,” Colvine said. Colvine said despite this, the message from many vendors that are saying “the cloud is here” is accurate in regards to much of the hardware required for cloud provisioning. She said vendors have reached high levels of stability with offerings that make a move to the Cloud much easier for companies but challenges still exist with the software, and networking and storage components. “If you are going up the stack, from infrastructure to platform and beyond, some of the products and offerings in the services space are more resilient and robust and steady,” Colvine said. “But the new environment for cloud comes from consumption models from a cloud perspective – the demand side is shifting in a very different way to the supply side. The technical components of cloud itself are not new but connecting them together in a very flexible, agile consumer-based way, that is something new and different.” Regarding the network, companies still need to understand more about the data they use and how they use it, and how this affects storage requirements, according to both Colvine and Clark. Much of these developments are placing a growing emphasis on software in the hardware market, which according to Colvine will be where much of the technological differentiators will lie in future in regards to cloud deployment. “It is where we would expect profit drivers for cloud to really start to kick in – the way you construct your application environment is very important as it enables you to connect together in different ways. I think you will see some interesting shifts happen here in the future,” Colvine said. Clark and Colvine said at IBM, the Cloud is proving the growing importance of the SMB market, which in some areas is starting to grind away at traditional vertical barriers. “Medium-sized businesses are connecting together in very different ways that don’t necessarily conform to traditional industry verticals,” Colvine said. One example is in the retail space, where SMBs are connecting to each other and suppliers, but are heavily regulated in how they do business.
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