With 2008 being the year that cloud computing dominated the headlines in the IT arena, some pundits are saying that 2009 will be the year of the cloud for enterprises.
I'll get back to that in a bit, but first I want to give credit to my former colleague Peter Coffee, who gave a multifaceted description of what it means to be in the cloud.
Coffee, who is now director of platform research at Salesforce.com, said, "I'm currently using a simple reference model for what a 'cloud computing' initiative should try to provide. I'm borrowing from the famous Zero-One-Infinity rule, canonically defined in The Jargon File..."
He continued, "It seems to me that a serious effort at delivering cloud benefits pursues the following ideals-perhaps never quite reaching them, but clearly having them as goals within theoretical possibility: Zero-On-premise[s] infrastructure, acquisition cost, adoption cost and support cost. One-Coherent software environment-not a 'stack' of multiple products from different providers. This avoids the chaos of uncoordinated release cycles or deferred upgrades. Infinity-Scalability in response to changing need, integratability/interoperability with legacy assets and other services, and customizability/programmability from data, through logic, up into the user interface without compromising robust multitenancy."
Sam Charrington and the folks at cloud software provider Appistry offered up a list of five predictions for the cloud space for 2009, and I have to say I am in agreement with most of them. Charrington is Appistry's vice president of product management and marketing.
The company's first prediction is that "2009 will herald the 'Year of the Cloud' for enterprises." Indeed, "Virtualization has matured; the economy is sinking while business costs are rising; and private clouds have already captured enterprise attention for their inherent security and reliability," said an Appistry release describing its predictions. "These factors and more have created an ideal environment for enterprise cloud computing to thrive in 2009."