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2013 Predictions: Rackspace

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12/21/2012
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SAN ANTONIO -- Rackspace CTO John Engates presents his top predictions for cloud computing for 2013:

Year of Big Data
This is the year when Big Data makes its way into enterprise conversations. Gartner predicts that Big Data will drive $232 million in IT spending through 2016. Companies will begin looking for ways to leverage Big Data solutions to create business value and a competitive advantage. For example, more companies will implement Big Data solutions to help analyze website traffic and to gain a deeper understanding of their customer base by identifying key trends in online viewing and purchasing behaviors. As the interest in Big Data increases, so too will the realization that these solutions are complicated and difficult to deploy. As a result, there will be a big initial focus on looking for ways to take the time and complexity out of Big Data implementations.

Internet of Things
The PC used to be the center of the universe. But now there are myriad devices and the PC is only one of many. In fact, now it's becoming more of an Internet of things as opposed to an Internet of people. How many of our devices will have no screen and automatically do things on behalf of humans? The vast majority is my guess. These devices will include electric meters, sensors, surveillance cameras, cars, etc. Everything we have will be connected. The power meter in your home that's connected to the smart grid will constantly stream and store data in the cloud. The camera with Wi-Fi that streams photos will be connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi or 4G. Everything will have a connection to cloud services, as the cloud is the backend that makes it all possible.

This Internet of things also means the cloud is more important than ever. The cloud provides the central hub for all of these devices, as well as context about the user that can be tapped into and shared to make the product or service better. The cloud is also where the analytical data from all of these "things" is processed and stored, which again speaks to how important Big Data solutions will be in the year ahead.

Disaster Recovery Gets Cloudy
Whether it's the catastrophic Tsunami in Japan, the deadly tornado outbreaks throughout the midwest or the devastating hurricane that just hit the East Coast, companies are being challenged to figure out how to maintain business operations in the midst of natural disasters. It's happening more frequently and it's a trend that will likely continue in the year ahead. The cloud will help these companies respond more quickly. The frictionless nature of moving workloads between clouds in the face of a disaster is huge, as it gives companies the flexibility they need to adapt. The cloud will be a key component of disaster recovery plans moving forward.

SSD Comes to the Cloud
We started to see this trend evolve in late 2012, but in 2013 companies will use SSDs for their cloud storage needs at an increasing rate. SSDs will be embedded into more devices, laptops and data centers. While standard drives for storage will continue to be used, SSDs will offer a higher performance option that is fast, super low energy and contain no moving parts. As more SSDs are used, costs will come down and create a virtuous cycle. This cycle will kick off in 2013, as we will begin to see many more options for SSD in the cloud.

Broader IT Skill Sets Required
As the tech industry continues its shift towards cloud computing and companies continue to implement public, private and hybrid clouds at an increasing rate, the typical IT manager, system administrator and even the CIO will soon be forced to develop a much broader skill set. This trend will help create a new job market that is ripe for those who have a generalized skill set vs. deep experience within one specialized area.

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