At Cloudscaling, we believe the future of IT platforms rests in the cloud. Predictions are always a gamble, but the following synthesis of insights from our interactions with customers, partners, analysts and our own prescient point of view, point the way to a compelling case for how cloud-enabled IT will continue its evolution in 2014.

(1) No More IT as Usual

The change that many of us have been talking about for 3+ years is finally coming. Enterprises are finally realizing that “cloud computing” does not mean server consolidation or automation. It’s a fundamental rethink of the IT stack, as well as the processes that deliver services to internal and external customers.

(2) OpenStack is Coming to an Enterprise IT Portfolio Near You

Related to the point above OpenStack will be the platform of choice that enterprises use to build their new IT infrastructure. It’s coming, whether centralized IT likes it or not.

(3) Public Cloud is No Longer the Enemy

2014 will be the year in which enterprise IT begins to figure out how to adopt the public cloud and use it to their advantage. Amazon Web Services’ myriad platform-as-a-service offerings for developers and higher value services for businesses will force traditional IT suppliers to rethink what they are doing. Google will join in the fight in earnest as it realizes the risk of being boxed out of a market where it should be vying for leadership.

(4) Public Cloud Becomes the Default Backbone for Enterprise IoT

The explosion of IoT activity in 2014 and beyond will be driven by the nexus of low cost sensors, connectivity networks, cloud computing, advanced data analytics and mobility. Aggregating this data and acting on its findings will best be achieved by capturing, analyzing and responding from the public cloud.

If you want to analyze billions of inputs in real-time or near real-time, you won’t want to drag the data all the way back to your data center. A longstanding mantra in business intelligence (BI) and data science has been that it’s easier to move the compute to the data, than the data to the compute. With cloud-based Hadoop and SaaS-based BI solutions proliferating, it’s becoming hard to justify bringing this data down to analyze it.

(5) Big Data Becomes the Leading Use Case for Hybrid Cloud

Related to the point above, the problems associated with moving large data sets make a compelling case for hybrid cloud in big data scenarios. Of course, we’re talking about hybrid clouds in which the public portion is AWS or GCE.

(6) Software Defined Everything Marches Forward

The steady progress of software defined everything (SDE) will continue. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when and how. The over-riding objective in the move to software-defined solutions is to run the infrastructure at higher levels of utilization and support faster changes to support a more agile business environment? Who doesn’t want that?

(7) Brands Become Open Platforms for Collaboration and Innovation

Across industries, businesses will be disrupted by open architectures. They will compete less on the features of their products and more on the breadth and quality of their connections. Increasingly the most successful brands will have open architectures that not only allow, but encourage active participation.

(8) Cloud spending will surge by 25%, reaching over $100B

According to IDC, the $100B figure includes software, services and cloud infrastructure. Workload specialized cloud infrastructure services will be the new form of differentiation among cloud service providers. A pitched battle will be joined for the developers that can create the cloud-based applications and solutions that will fuel the market’s growth. IDC predicts that by 2017, 80% of new cloud apps will be hosted on six PaaS platforms.

Where do we go from here? Tell us what you are prioritizing and which trends are top of mind.

Happy New Year !!!