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I attended the Cloud Computing World Forum at Olympia on Tuesday. It was good size show and reasonably well attended for what is an Enterprise topic. The keynote speakers were all heavyweight and gave good talks.

The show was themed A,B,C = approach, build and communicate (social) and this worked well.

What was odd is that the biggest players in cloud were not there; no Amazon, Rackspace or Google. This was not a developer’s show, rather it was for CIOs who are planning strategy for the next few years.

Well, since I have been a CIO, I found it very interesting and here are a few takeaways:

Mobile is the new desktop

This year more smartphones will be sold than PCs. You know all that stuff you have to do for desktops and laptops? You will now need to do it for smartphones as well.

People will use their own kit

The battle is lost. Users will use their own kit, so rather than supporting just Windows XP Service pack 2. You will need to support n smartphone OS. I look forward to the first user telling support he can’t open a PDF on a MeeGo handset.

There will be viruses

85% (say) of malware is distributed by organised crime. They want your data and I think they will probably get it.

Every organisation that says it does not put data on the cloud, does.

Check your employees’ company card statements for “Dropbox”. Likewise your firewall logs.

The EU will enforce interoperability

I believe that Amazon has shown us that utility computing is here and it works. Utilities of any sort are natural monopolies because of economy of scale. For once the EU is ahead of the game and anti-monopoly (called anti-trust in the USA) regulations will appear soon.

Microsoft is very strong

Microsoft has a reputation for getting things right… the second time. Windows Phone 7 is very slick and matched with Nokia’s marketing muscle and Microsoft’s dev tools it will become a strong player in Q3 2012.

Why Q3 2012? Well, Microsoft is also releasing Office 360; this is the online version of office and it is very cool. Even Mac and Linux users will have good support for web access to documents. Unfortunately Linux users still won’t be able to use the voice and video conferencing (Lync). If only Microsoft had bought Skype. Oh, they did…

There will be a great synergy between Microsoft’s online, mobile and gaming strategies. Suits like me will want Windows 7 Phone + Office online, young adults will want Windows Phone 7 + Xbox 360 games. This effect will take some time to kick in hence my prediction for late 2012 success.

There are too many cloud management companies

There will be consolidation and lots of it. Good time to be a lawyer.

SaaS pricing will become more complex

Companies such as Saleforce (and me when Keyapt launches!) who offer SaaS typically start off with simple pricing. This leaves money on the table. Salesforce now have more than 5 plans and expect that to increase. If you are interested in this topic I have posted on it before.

If you are confused about cloudy acronyms here is a handy guide;

  • IaaS; Infrastructure as a Service, think Amazon EC2 or Rackspace Cloud
  • PaaS; Platform as a Service, think Google AppEngine or Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
  • SaaS; Software as a Service, think SalesForce or Microsoft Office 360

If you are a small business and need advice on software development and deployment I am always pleased to help.