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The Cloud Hosting Ecosystem By @AtlanticNet | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Expect to see standardization on SSD-based storage solutions that accelerate deployment of applications

What The Year Will Look Like For Developers & The Cloud Hosting Ecosystem

With 2014 in the books, everyone is eyeing 2015 and wondering what happens next. With a fast moving environment like cloud hosting, it’s always difficult to pinpoint exactly what the big news will be.  But, I'll give it a try. Here are some of my predictions for 2015 that will make news and keep the momentum going for participants in the cloud-based economy.

Solid-state disks becomes the norm. In 2014, SSD-based storage was considering a high cost option with many cloud providers, similar to what Bluetooth in cars was several years ago. Expect to see standardization on SSD-based storage solutions that accelerate deployment of applications that need high IOPS (Input/Output Instructions per Second). Because no one wants to go back to traditional disks once they experience SSDs, they will become the default, not an optional upgrade. Backing this trend is the larger capacities, increased write endurance and lower cost of SSDs as the technology matures.

More geographic expansion by cloud providers. With international growth of cloud, it’s virtually impossible for it to continue to be a primarily US based phenomenon. Many larger, multi site data center operators have announced large wins to host the cloud operations of major providers. This can only foreshadow announcements by the providers themselves as they move into these markets. With concerns about data security (and NSA snooping), many major users of the cloud want to retain their data inside their home countries. Hot sites for international expansion will continue to be London, Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Sydney.

Compliance hosting continues to take off. HIPAA, FISMA, PCI, and Sarbanes-Oxley, you name it and there are compliance requirements for it. Expect continued growth in the compliance hosting segment as customers look to off-load these tasks to the cloud with providers who specialize in providing solutions that meet or exceed the regulatory requirements. Because specialized providers have focused on these compliance requirements, they are better able to handle and scale solutions that meet the criteria set forth in the compliance requirements. Individual companies generally don't have the resources or can’t justify dedicating resources to keeping up with compliance – making compliance hosting a growth industry for 2015.

More precise and clearer billing is coming in 2015. When the cloud industry started, the typical billing cycle was hourly. We then have migrated to lower and lower increments in time, concluding with per-second billing. Expect to continue to see providers move toward billing for precise usage, rather than “rounding up” to some larger time frame. Along with more accurate billing, expect to see easier access to the actual billing records and clearer, understandable billing from cloud providers. This is important because accounting departments may have to allocate different costs of cloud hosting, separately. For example, bandwidth costs might be allocated to different department, while actual storage costs might be billed to a parent company. In addition, this will make it easier for customers to understand what they are paying for, and what each resource actually cost, allowing better decision making on hosting packages.

Specialty infrastructure takes off in the cloud. While largely beneath the radar in 2014, I think specialty infrastructure providers are going to make real headway in 2015. As a new industry, specialty infrastructure goes beyond providing vanilla to packaging it with new cloud technologies such as Hadoop, Docker, or Ceph. By providing actual cloud technology solutions, already running on top of a cloud infrastructure, providers can target customers that want a fully baked solution – including speed, time and market – rather than assembling all the pieces and supporting them individually. It’s similar to buying the cake, versus buying the ingredients separately. Customers searching for specialty infrastructure providers who can handle not only managing the cloud, but the actual cloud services that run on top of it, will find a variety of new options in 2015. Expect to hear more about the new cloud-based industry, which is just starting to gain traction.

Certifications available for cloud integrators continue to ramp up quickly. With the scale and variety of cloud options and solutions, buyers are looking for certifications that can help them quickly ascertain if they are getting the right people for the job. Expect to see a large number of new certifications, specializing in a variety of cloud technologies that will allow companies to find the right people who are right fit for the projects they are working on. This should make it somewhat easier to locate people who can help cloud operators and integrators accomplish their hiring goals, lowering the time to ramp people up, and generally getting things done faster.

Expect to see the cloud market segment in 2015. Similar to restaurants, expect to see consumer focused cloud companies, as well as enterprise focused cloud offerings. More importantly, expect the providers to do a better job communicating the type of customer they are targeting. In 2015, customer seeking solutions are looking for providers who tailor their offerings to what the customers want. Companies trying to service the market as a one size fits all solution will fall by the wayside.

On the hardware size, expect everything to become faster and cheaper (as usual). Although, there may be one wild card with a hardware vendor that announces something that takes cloud to the next level. It may be a new form of storage density, higher throughput, or more CPU cores. With the rapid growth of cloud services, hardware vendors are keen to continue to invent solutions that are specifically designed for this growth segment, especially when enterprise spending is flattish.

Multi-lingual support will become another key driver of cloud operations in 2015. While it’s largely been English based so far, a global cloud customer community will demand localized language in control panels.  Similar to large on-line services, customers begin to expect cloud service in their native language, including support and billing. This will be yet another way for providers to differentiate themselves. Localized language, currencies, and time zones will become a bigger deal in 2015.

Providers will work together to help solve some of the common problems for all cloud providers, like fraud and anti-social behaviors such as phishing, DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and spamming. Since abuse tends all providers in the eco-system, it only makes sense that they come together to help mitigate some of the challenges presented by the abusive behavior of individuals or criminal groups. It only makes sense that providers would look at ways to work together for the benefit of the community as a whole. Expect to see trade groups form (or ones that are already formed expand) to help deal with some of the challenges facing all cloud & infrastructure operators.

There it is! Some of my predictions on what’s going to happen in 2015 for the cloud industry. As I said before, it’s difficult to be precise in an industry that is changing so fast, but I think most of these predictions will come true. Of course, time will tell. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting 2015, and I'm sure everyone involved in the cloud hosting industry is looking forward to how things will play out! As 2014 winds down, I hope you've accomplished your goals for the year and hope we all have a prosperous 2015!

More Stories By Marty Puranik

Marty Puranik is founder, president and CEO of Atlantic.Net, a profitable and growing Hosting Solutions Provider in Orlando. In 1994 Marty and a classmate founded Atlantic.Net from their dorm rooms at the University of Florida. Operating under the name ICC Computers, they quickly developed a reputation for quality and service and in 1995 launched one of the first commercial Internet services in North Florida. In 1996, ICC ceased retail operations to focus solely on Internet connectivity. Under Marty’s leadership Atlantic.Net became one of Florida’s largest privately-owned ISPs, providing Internet access in cities and small towns throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. Marty’s strengths as a leader and visionary have helped him lead a successful business for 17 years.