Happy 2011. May it bring you what you want most.
My predictions for 2011: It will be different, and not necessarily better.
- We will see significant changes in the economy, with the continuation of the uncertainty that, in my view, is a prime reason for the very slow economic recovery. We will continue to see companies reluctant to hire people, but we will see an increase in the use of independent contractors for traditional employee roles at all levels, including middle management. The “easy-come, easy-go” attribute of the independent contractor will look very good to most financial managers, and it puts the huge uncertainty of the cost of medical care on the backs of the contractors, not the company. (Insert evil laugh here.)
- We will see more and more vicious cyber attacks, putting your company at significant risk.
- We will see more government oversight and regulations in the security and privacy arenas. Companies in the US will be impacted by regulations from individual states, the federal government, foreign governments, and regional organizations like the EU. There will be little consistency among these rules. Since the rules cover information about the citizens of these governments and not the location of your data center, you will have a major headache in compliance. It is likely to be impossible to be compliant to every applicable regulation.
- These security rules will be complicated by expected, and unexpected, changes in the oversight and laws around the basic business infrastructure including the Internet and electricity.
- The Philadelphia Eagles will not win the Super Bowl.
New Years is the traditional time to stop, reflect, and plan for the next year. Individuals, and companies, make New Years Resolutions, sometimes called “budgets.” Most of an individual’s resolutions have a very short half-life. I define the “half-life” of a resolution as the length of time until you have really stopped working on it, even though the resolution is still on “the list.” There are, of course, exceptions. A few decades ago I resolved to not make New Years resolutions and have pretty much stuck to it.
However, many companies seem to think that we are still in the nineteenth century. They make an annual budget and stick to it, no matter what changes around them. We are 10% through the twenty-first century, and companies should have figured out that they need to be much more agile. Think about where your IT department was in January, 2001, and where it was going.
What do you think will happen in 2011 that will impact your IT department? Are your financial restrictions based on the truth of three months ago, or the expectations of early 2011? What could you do if you could save one third of your IT budget? Would that help? What if you didn’t have to spend your team’s hours and dollars keeping an aging infrastructure functioning in the face of new threats and requirements?
Gartner, Inc., a leading information technology research and advisory company, says:
- “By 2012, 80% of Fortune 1000 enterprises will be using some Cloud Computing services, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets.”
- “More than 25% of all IT will be delivered via non-traditional models such as the Cloud, grid or Utility Computing by 2012.”
Novell predicts that IT workloads in the Cloud will grow from 2% in 2010 to 20% in 2015. If you believe Novell’s prediction, only about one third of all IT will run in the traditional physical server environment by 2015.
Driving this rapid adoption of the Cloud are cost savings, reduced management hassles, and increased agility to react to change in your business.
The Cloud is real. The Cloud is here today. The Cloud is not yet ready for everything, so you do need to be careful in selecting what moves to the Cloud now. The biggest concern with the Cloud is security, and some workloads should not move to the Cloud today. Others will require special agreements with qualified Cloud Service Providers to be compliant. But the Cloud is evolving rapidly, and I expect that we will see compliance-specific offerings from some of the bigger Cloud Service Providers in 2011.
In the US Department of Defense, DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) is embracing the Cloud for the same reasons that any business would, except their business is supporting the US war fighters. They are looking for massively scaled and elastic IT provided over the Internet on a pay-for-use model. They expect better agility at a much lower cost.
The last word:
Even if you aren’t ready to start your move to the Cloud, you should start planning what workloads will make the most sense to move first. But more importantly, if you are still running in an un-virtualized environment, you should start moving to virtualization as quickly as possible. This will make your eventual transition to the Cloud easier. As a side effect, you should see some fairly significant savings just from that shift.
Happy 2011, possibly the year to start your move to the Cloud.
Keep your sense of humor.