Last week, the IT industry braced itself for one of the most important events of this year. As I arrived, there was a clear buzz on the event floor and as the show went on, it was evident that cloud computing had proven last year’s critics wrong and was more than simply ‘marketing hype’.
As expected, the event saw a number of major cloud services being launched with cloud infrastructure management software and services company 6fusion, announcing the release of its next generation UC6 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) federation platform; and secure cloud hosting company Firehost, revealing the launch of its European cloud. However, the real meat to the event was hearing IT experts approaching cloud computing as a maturing technology, demonstrating quality high-end and hybrid cloud services, and debating how it weighs up against competitive alternatives.
Moving beyond product and technical features, it finally feels like the ‘cloud haze’ for many vendors has cleared and they are refocusing on the real issues, the business benefits and what role cloud has as part of the wider business strategy. As with any trend, the issue for many vendors now is how they will differentiate themselves as aggressive competition rises. Unsurprisingly, the datacentre market was one that was out in force at the show, with key players Equinix, Interxion and Telehouse all launching new cloud offerings and initiatives.
Steep competition amongst datacentres has been spurred by advancements in virtualisation frameworks from VMware, Red Hat, Citrix and Microsoft. Those who attended the show with a clear objective to find a solution to make that transition to the cloud will have left with more questions than answers, due to the sheer number of new and sophisticated services now being made available in the cloud.
What last week confirmed for the IT industry is that as the cloud market matures, some aspects will become clearer but as cloud enters the phase of reality, competition from hybrid and traditional technologies will still place a vital role in business.