If you get the sense that we've entered a period of pregnant pause as it relates to cloud computing in the enterprise, it might have something to do with virtualization standards.
Right now, there are two standards that many cloud computing advocates are tracking with keen interest. The first is the Open Virtual Format, which will make it a whole lot easier for application workloads to dynamically run on top of multiple virtualization solutions. The second is a set of virtualization management interfaces that is to be shepherded by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)
According to Alex Rigaldo, head of the cloud computing program for Orange Business Services, virtualization standards will make it easier to both manage heterogeneous virtualization environments while simultaneously making it easier to move application workloads across them. Without these standards in place, Rigaldo says IT organizations are going to be hesitant about embracing cloud computing for mission-critical applications for fear of getting locked into a single provider.
But once these standards are widely deployed, Rigaldo says that Orange Business Services expects demand for cloud computing services to expand exponentially compared with most of the application development workloads that typically characterize cloud computing today. And even then, if an IT organization opts to develop an application in the cloud, it wants to have confidence that it can easily move the application back to an on-premise application should the organization so choose.
Most of these standards are expected to be in place before the end of the year, which means that while 2011 will be a year where IT organizations spend a lot of time talking about cloud computing, next year appears to be the year they will finally begin living on a cloud.