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Cloud Computing Traffic - Projecting Growth Major Players in Cloud Computing Strategies

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Cloud Computing


Information technology is entering an age of compound and hybrid technologies. Cloud computing is a conglomeration of emerging computer technologies which provides access to computing, data storage, and communications:

Integrated Systems of
Hardware and Software
Open Standards, Performance,
and Shared Information
Open Source versus Commercial
Software Computing Models

On a global level, organizational enterprise and new entrants are evaluating system and application software in relation to their business model, the needs of clients, and the economics associated with going directly to the next generation of commercial and open source software technology. Within this operational reality, cloud computing is evolving from concept to a practical implementation. It is shifting the emphasis from locally managed server-client installations and information technology related services to externally located web-accessible computing centers consisting of thousands of servers. However, there is no single uniform precise definition of cloud computing and there are different types of clouds.

There are three standard models of cloud computing platform service: SaaS: Software as a Service, IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service, PaaS: Platform as a Service. There also is a IaaS/PaaS; a hybrid service in which applications can be developed on a cloud-based operating system and then hosted in a consolidated software environment: operating system, database, and application. When moving from traditional hardware to the cloud, the implementation will be to IaaS, Paas, or customer hardware options. Important considerations will be the complexity of the application and the amount of control required. Simple applications can be deployed on PaaS and more complex applications on IaaS. There will be a requirement to track, monitor, and visualize the necessary aspects of application. The right kind of management framework will be required in order to abstract away the low-level management into higher-level constructs, such as managing a single stack or services as one unit.

Cloud APIs are a software technology that allows for communication between applications or infrastructures in the cloud; they are a logical extension of SOA: service oriented architecture. Cloud application programming interfaces are driving the increase in application development and creating cloud interoperability. Effective APIs enable developers to reconfigure applications and integrate components without having to change or write new code. Cloud APIs commonly expose their features using REST: Representational State Transfer and SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol.

Cloud Computing Traffic - Projecting Growth

The growth of cloud services is being driven by:

  • Market demographics with one trillion and increasing Internet-connected devices.
  • User expectation to have 24 hour network access to applications and content with any device.
  • Cost savings based upon cloud-based data centers being able to support large number of virtual machines and workloads.
  • Inexpensive remote storage and technologies which consolidate data storage.

Forrester Research has forecast that the global cloud computing market will grow from $41 billion in 2011 to $241 billion in 2020.

The Cisco Systems Global Cloud index published in November 2011 has proven to be accurate: 1  Both global cloud data traffic and data center traffic overall has experienced a significant compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015. The data indicates that currently in the range of 50 percent of all workloads are being processed in the cloud and in 2016 -2017 there will continue to be an increase the cloud based data center traffic.

With 2010 as a baseline, Cisco Systems reported that global data traffic was in the range of 1.1 zettabyte. In 2015, the average data traffic was estimated to be 4.8 zettabytes. According to executives at Cisco Systems, most countries currently can support some level of cloud services based on average download and upload speeds and the time it takes for information to pass through the network for business and consumer connections. However, not all regions within a country are currently able to support the high-end advanced cloud apps such as high definition video conferencing. It will take time and investment in network expansion until networks around the world are ready to handle advanced cloud services.

Major Players in Cloud Computing

The major players have been developing cloud computing services based upon strategic interest and its business model.

  • is a web retailer and has the world's largest public cloud.

  • Google operates a computing cloud built upon open source software which is optimized for Internet search.

  • Hewlett-Packard provides business printers with the capability to scan and store information within pods in cloud computing systems that combine servers, data storage, and management software in a single integrated package.

  • IBM employs a hybrid commercial and open source cloud strategy developed from prototype projects with client companies and government agencies.

  • Microsoft has a commercial software centric infrastructure for delivering cloud computing services.

  • Oracle markets an engineered systems approach combining hardware and software it promotes as providing superior performance and security.

  • NetSuite provides financial and resource planning functions.

  • sells cloud-based e-mail, computer storage, and customer management and customer management software; it also has acquired other companies to offer social enterprise tools.

  • Other major technology suppliers which have cloud-related hardware and software products include Cisco and Dell.



Key issues and areas of contention which have emerged are open standards, shared information, and performance.

Google, uses open standards, but also keeps many things proprietary. Engineers in the company have acknowledged that Google has developed specialized semiconductors for some of its in-house operations. Based upon reports from the online New York Times, it has selectively not been patenting products, as part of a competitive strategy and better service its customers. 2

Facebook has published specifications of almost everything in its data centers, from printed circuit boards to building cooling systems. The idea is that others can use parts of this technology themselves, or possibly contribute to its improvement.

The Oracle Corporation strategy is based upon the assumption that engineering hardware and software together will provide better performance, ease of use, and lower cost. The Oracle cloud has been developed based upon open source standards with data services, Java services, and security services built in. Large corporate databases can be moved from a company's machine into the Oracle cloud or created in the Oracle cloud and moved back and forth into the clouds run by Amazon, IBM or other computing service providers running in Java. The Oracle cloud places in it direct opposition with Salesforce.

The emergence of cloud computing has not been a unifying force in information technology. Rather than making the consumer and business technology increasingly similar, the computer world is splitting into two separate camps: consumer and enterprise. In the consumer camp are Apple, Google, and most of the Asian hardware makers. The enterprise camp will service large companies and government agencies; the major players will be IBM, Dell, Cisco, and Oracle. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard will straddle both markets. The 250 leading cloud organizations have established the CSCC: Cloud Standards Customer Council in order to collaborate and address the challenges associated with implementing cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Services

New companies are emerging which provide expertise in analyzing, developing, and integrating applications on the cloud and mobile devices. There can be thousands of different applications accessing the cloud of a data center's computer servers and storage devices. It no longer is straightforward to know where software initiates from and terminates. A typical application will be executed over multiple servers and pass through several layers of the software stack. Neither will the infrastructure processing the application be static. There are multiple layers of software which handle authentication, middleware to other applications and systems, retrieving and placing data, and communicating and responding with globally located systems.

Realtime products offer a way to monitor the performance of applications in the cloud; this can result in a significant improvement from the daily or random checks being performed at data centers. Equally as important, these services provide predictive descriptions where slowdowns can occur and how to achieve operational savings. Coding and development on public clouds will have applications being integrated from geographically dispersed data centers. Sound design and intelligent implementation will be required to optimize performance associated with the delivery and processing of the application and controlling costs.

Cloud Computing - Emerging

Applying the ideas and principles of cloud computing to information technology operations can offer organizations agility and cost savings. The huge explosion of data is driving a movement to design systems around workloads in order to deliver the required computation and service and become more energy efficient. For many enterprises, its information technology infrastructure is under stress and the data flood is accelerating. Storage, delivery, and processing of data now can be selected from or be a combination of cloud computing, traditional outsourcing, and in-house personnel.

The hardware and software languages, development platforms, and scalable databases being used in the emerging cloud reflect competitive and evolutionary forces of commercial software providers, open source software alternatives, intellectual property laws, anti-trust regulations, and international governing bodies. However, despite the benefits a cloud environment promises, there are issues that will need to be addressed regarding the security and privacy of mission critical and enterprise applications in the cloud. Unlike the investment in commercial information technology infrastructure which in many situations has been developed and implemented over a half century as part of the modern era of data processing, these cloud technologies, may not be categorically or immediately better than a web-enabling and retrofitting of an existing applications and system software.

SYS-ED staff and CETi technology partners are evaluating the combination of software that form the virtual infrastructure, trusted and encrypted infrastructures, and development tools required to set up both private and public cloud environments.

Footnote 1:
The forecast was based upon network data collected by Cisco Systems from 10 enterprise and Internet data centers over a 12 month period.

Footnote 2:
Online New York Times - Quentin Hardy - multiple reports.

Reuters as reported in the Online New York Times - November 29, 2011 Nicola Leske.

Forrester Research is a leading information technology market research company. Principals at SYS-ED have found it to be a reliable source of identifying emerging trends in hardware and software technology.