Meghe Dhaka Tara

Exactly fifty years ago, a seminal Bengali movie by Ritwik Ghatak was released. It was called Meghe Dhaka Tara which roughly translates to a star hidden by a cloud. The offbeat movie was declared one of the worlds all-time greatest films by a poll of critics and directors by Sight&Sound, a film magazine published by the British Film Institute since 1932.

This column is not about movies or about Britain. It is about cloud computing and whether the hype is hiding some key technologies behind the cloud. Here are three views, from major organizations.

The first is from DeveloperWorks, a unit of IBM which recently polled 2,000 IT professionals in eighty-seven countries. The results reported that 90% of IT professionals are betting that cloud computing will overtake on-premise computing by 2015 as the primary way organizations acquire IT. DeveloperWorks has been in operation since 1999 as a global web based professional network and technical resource for software developers, IT professionals and students.

The second is from Gartner that has just examined the maturity of 1,800 technologies and trends. The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is Gartners longest-running annual Hype Cycle and provides a cross-industry perspective on ICT technologies and trends. Gartner includes private cloud computing under its high-impact technologies at the peak of inflated expectations.

The third is from IDC Corporation which says the global cloud computing market will grow from $17.4 bn in 2008 to $44.2 bn by 2013. Of the $27 bn in net new IT revenue in 2013, 27% will come from cloud services. A recent report from IDC says that spending on cloud services will jump fourfold in the Asia-Pacific region, reaching $4.6 bn by 2014.

Aimee Dean, DeveloperWorks editor says there are forty groups on its forum about the aspects of cloud computing. Interest in cloud computing is not geography or vertical industry specific but covers all sectors, Dean notes, This year we have launched a new dedicated cloud computing zone. Were on pace to more than double our cloud-related materials. We also added dozens of new DeveloperWorks groups and discussion forums focused on cloud computing.

Jackie Fenn, a Gartner Fellow, says that the adoption and impact of cloud computing continues to rise. Cloud computing overall appears just topping the peak, and private cloud computing is still rising in the Hype Cycle, Fenn says, Cloud/web platforms have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users.

Chris Morris, IDCs director of IT services research for the Asia-Pacific says that spending on cloud computing will gallop at a 40% annual clip across the Asia-Pacific from 2010 to 2014. The recent uncertain economic conditions have also accelerated interest in cloud delivery models because of their ability to deliver IT and business services at a much lower capital outlay, he says, This is the key factor because of which cloud services are now being evaluated.

One boost comes from smartphones, mobile devices like tablet PCs and the surge in new OS like Android, BlackBerry and Apple iOS. With the proliferation of these mobile devices, mobile apps sales will see a massive growth over the next three years, Dean says, Mobile app revenues are set to expand from $6.2 bn in 2010 to $30 bn by 2013.

Three questions arise from these studies:

  • One, is cloud computing really ripe, or is it still a lot of hype?
  • Two, will cloud computing take off first in the West, or will countries like India and China be best?
  • Three, is the haze surrounding cloud computing hiding some star technologies that have yet to be exploited?

The third seems to be the case. For example, the idea behind an eCRM engine came from and Facebook. That idea gave birth to In 1999, founders Marc Benioff and Parker Harris looked at Amazon and wondered why businesses couldnt manage and get insight into their customers with the same ease as they interact with their favorite website. And, why enterprise software should not be as simple to learn and use as

Cloud will also get there, as soon as some of the haze behind the hype is lifted.

Raju Chellam
The writer is a former Dataquest editor & currently MD of TechTrenders Asia, based in Singapore

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