Where will cloud computing take us in five-years time?

Cloud computing has a problem. The problem is that people, companies, programmers and (god forbid) bloggers and technology journalists all talk about it an awful lot. With issues such as security and migration challenges to discuss, we pretty much have an endless stream of material to debate over.

The problem (it seems to me) is that we’re all spending so much time talking about the here and now of making cloud computing happen, that we’re not looking to the future.

Distant futures for the cloud may bring many things and mega malicious cloud-networked malware could be one of them. Personally I think there will always be a lot of ‘data exchange’ challenges, as mobile devices are deployed for corporate use and so need secure synchronisation channels. More positively, we might start talking about Rapid Application Development (RAD) for the cloud.

The logic here is as follows: as we learn to fully embrace cloud computing methodologies, the movement to rapid application development to adapt to fast-changing commercial market needs increases.

Now there are a few (i.e. not that many) of approaches out there designed to deliver RAD in the cloud and Tibco and SAP come up as prime suspects in this area. I’m going to pick Israeli outfit Magic Software whose uniPaaS product is not a programming language, or even a software platform – it is an application platform.

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Designed to eliminate low level coding processes, Magic says that its application development tool provides business applications with optimised business logic and processes. This pre-compiled functionality, or essentially, pre-written code, can also be called ‘metadata‘. The theory is that this will allow developers to concentrate more heavily on the business needs of their rapidly developed software rather than spending too much time worrying about the mechanics of already well-established software components.

According to Magic Software, “Using the uniPaaS platform, it’s possible to develop both desktop and cloud applications such as RIA, SaaS and mobile applications using a single development and deployment environment. The same skill-set the developer uses to build desktop applications can now also be used to build a modern cloud offering.”

Gartner recently predicted that only 20% of business applications will be off-premise (i.e. in the cloud) by 2013. The list of challenges ahead in terms of scalability, integration, asset management, security and other core technology considerations is immense.

So we may be ready for RAD in the cloud, but let’s not run before we can walk right?

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Good article and you're right there is a LOT of talk at the moment however I believe the here and now of cloud is just as as important as the future. There is no doubt that in the future concepts like RAD will become more and more previlent and so could the malware issue. Today we do have potential security and compliance issues that organsations need to address or be aware of when embarking on their cloud journey - a journey most have all ready started. For me RAD is some way off for most enterprises but there are still benefits to be had from the cloud today, regardless of the potential pitfalls. Organisations looking to develop a cloud strategy need to focus on how they can benefit today from cloud based solutions whilst considering how future models may futher enhance services or enable the transition to the cloud based application services.
Thanks very much for your reply - I think there should be altogether more talk of the timelines and challenges we all face on our journey to the clouds!AdrianB
Thanks for a good ground-level article. Indeed, Cloud and Web technologies help businesses become more efficient and grow, helping entire business ecosystems to work better together. And beyond the hype, there are real cases. It might not come as a surprise that those projects use uniPaaS technology which you refered to - it simply renders such projects feasible and accessible.I described a couple of projects in The Extended Enterprise – from vision to reality with Rich Internet Application technology, and I find a consensus with many industry analysts that these types of implementations are well part of what they observe as Cloud implementations.I do not care much about how it is named, and if people prefer to reserve “Cloud” for a more restrictive checklisted definition that’s fine with me – but what I describe above is a very tangible reality of an application architecture that leverages internet based technologies - hosting resources, communications and clients.I was able to get additional details about one of these cases - Applying RIA and Web to the Extended Supply Chain).The Cloud “phenomenon” is firming up the business nature of the Web on the IT side, paving the way for Enterprises to exploit the Web not only for communication related aspects (from email to ecommerce and marketing) but also for the deployment of core applications. I am presently involved in such a project that brings the notion of “play list” to a composite application for financial brokers and portfolio managers in a global financial institution, incorporating most of the “bells and whistles” of Web2.0 user experience and a hybrid Cloud and Legacy backend. That is what I consider as Convergence – but the main converging domains here are Web and traditional Enterprise IT.
Thanks for your comment on this story.I've taken a look at your blog and it looks like you have a good perspective on things.AdrianB