Having listened to the merits of Cloud Computing for the majority of 2010, I believe that 2011 will see the height of the Cloud Computing hype. There is already a plethora of hosting companies offering Cloud based products, and to remain competitive and leading their field, innovative hosting companies will be looking to the next greatest thing.
Predicting the trends of 2011 is an interesting task as the market is becoming demanding for integration services as we see the rise of mobile computing. I think the following predictions fairly reflect the changes in the market we have seen in 2010, coupled with the emergence and market wide acceptance of new technologies and services being adopted by larger companies requiring an infrastructure solution.
Hardware as a feature?
The hardware infrastructure of hosting providers is becoming increasingly unimportant to the end user. Of course there are essential elements that will always be attractive to groups of users, such as Load Balancing, Service Separation and Scalability. However, as we continue to see the rise of clustered and Cloud Computing models, the specific hardware is appearing less and less as a desirable feature.
So how does this affect the services hosting companies will offer their customers? Cloud Computing has paved the way for a new attitude towards IT services. Out-sourcing to the Cloud not just for hosting but also for business services, such as the Google Apps services, is now the accepted norm. In 2011 I predict a similar attitude will be taken towards the hardware and infrastructure of the hosting platforms used by companies.
This is already becoming apparent if we look at the modular Data Centers such as the HP POD, similar to the modules Google have been using for years. There are the signs of similar solutions and products becoming available that offer entire modular Data Centers. These managed Data Centers provide every level of High Availability, Load Balanced hosting infrastructure, and are being sold as a commodity. This is a drastic move away from vendors supplying hardware for a hosting company or user to manage themselves.
As is the trend in the hosting sector, any innovative technologies adopted by large companies will filter down into web hosting products available to normal users. We have seen this with Cloud Computing and before that Virtual Dedicated hosting. Turn off; turn on Modular Data Centers will surely affect the market in 2011.
Linux and Mobile
Open Source is certainly a term and in fact ethos that has been heavily discussed for a few years. However an interesting twist in the story is the integration with mobile appliances.
Recent figures have shown that in the mobile phone war, open-source Android is making large claims on market share. According to Millennial Medias December report Android has grabbed 46% of the US mobile operating system market.
Whatever the reasons for Android's market share growth, there is no denying the fact that a Linux based, open-source OS is dominating the mobile market.
How does this affect the hosting sector? As smart phone use grows and the number of developers writing for smart phones grows, the demand for hosting providers to offer a solution that can solve the problems of scalability and growth will increase. Equally, I predict the demand for hosted web applications that can be used by mobile device and support mobile integration will also grow.
Linux based hosting solutions are built to scale and will easily integrate with the demands of an Android biased smart phone market. There are already server distributions of Linux that are tailor made to support the demands of scalability and growth made by mobile developers.
Cloud Linux is an example of such a distribution and is starting to be adopted by web hosting companies as a solution for scalable and flexible resource and billing systems. Using software such as Cloud Linux removes a lot of the clever network configuration required for elastic resource allocation, and reduces costs for the hosting vendor, leading to savings for the user.
This is especially important for low budget markets such as the budgets the majority of mobile developers face, and will encourage this type of client to adopt web-hosting services built on the features offered by Operating Systems such as Cloud Linux.
Hybrid hosting solutions have nothing to do with energy saving or electric cars. It is however a term that I believe will become increasingly common on the product pages of web hosting companies web sites in 2011. Hybrid hosting is, as the name suggests, the coming together of two hosting technologies. In particular, the hybrid that I think will become most prevalent is the Private Cloud.
A Private Cloud is built on the same principles of Cloud Computing, self-provisioning, elastic resources, geographic redundancy, utility billing (etc), but is hosted internally adding the security of a companies firewall, making it Private. This means no Amazon EC2 instances or storage buckets all over the world, but it does mean that these instances can be brought up on a companies own network infrastructure provided the resources are available.
A Private Cloud is an expensive infrastructure to setup and maintain, however Virtual Private Clouds offer the security of a Physical Private Cloud while using virtual server instances as infrastructure resources. This is a much less expensive option for business looking for a Private Cloud solution.
Amazon has continued its trend of innovation by producing the Virtual Private Cloud product, which is an on demand product similar to EC2. The product description sums up a Virtual Private Cloud nicely,
“Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) is a secure and seamless bridge between a company’s existing IT infrastructure and the AWS cloud. Amazon VPC enables enterprises to connect their existing infrastructure to a set of isolated AWS compute resources via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection, and to extend their existing management capabilities such as security services, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems to include their AWS resources.”
I am expecting this product to be a success and solution for businesses wanting to out source their IT without compromising on security.
A Private Cloud massively reduces the security concerns that have been raised about Cloud Hosting, and will surely become popular amongst users and businesses looking for the benefits of Cloud Hosting but with a greater level of control and security.
The hybrid market whether Private Cloud or not will surely see growth in 2011, with new hybrid hosting products emerging that are more suited, than a (Virtual) Private Cloud, to the standard web hosting consumer, instead of enterprise and large business clients.
About the Author
Joe started in team management and is now lucky enough to be Product Development Manager for CatN Hosting. He writes about Cloud Hosting, and in particular UK Government IT expenditure. He likes Guitar and Linux Mint. You can follow Joe on Twitter.