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Cloud Computing - What's Next?
Irena Bojanova
FEB 03, 2014 01:38 AM
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It's the High-Tech Wild, Wild West out there!

The Cloud Computing marketplace is not so chaotic anymore, but it is still:

  • Exciting
  • Fast-growing
  • Full of opportunities

Last December, I had the honor of participating as a panelist on the “Future of Government" at the Federal Cloud Computing Summit, which attracted more than 100 government and business executives. Here is my presentation on the “Future of Cloud Computing”.

No Longer on the Horizon

Cloud computing is no longer on the horizon; it’s already here in a big way. Governments, business, industry, and individuals are increasingly using cloud computing for their information processing, and computational and developmental needs. They have begun to realize several benefits of cloud computing, including pay for the use, quick deployment of applications, variety of offerings from several cloud service providers, enhanced collaboration, agility, scalability, and availability.

Moving applications and storage capabilities, application development environments, and even infrastructure and security capabilities to the cloud offers more efficient use of IT hardware and software investments. However, the cloud possesses some risks and some key challenges, and they will remain key focus areas in the coming years.

Key Focus Areas

The focus of cloud computing now should be on evaluating initial risks, having true (multi-tenancy based) Cloud solutions, assuring integration, interoperability, and federation.

Initial Risks Evaluation

To evaluate initial cloud risks and inform security decisions, organizations and individuals could use the Cloud Security Alliance’s (CSA’s) Security Guidance Framework. Considerations should be on importance of data and applications/functions/processes to be moved to Cloud, risk tolerance of the organization, acceptable deployment and service model combinations, and potential exposure points for sensitive information and operations. For further information, see the earlier blog post “Evaluating Initial Cloud Risks”.

Multi-tenancy – the True Cloud Solution

Multi-tenancy is tightly related to resource pooling. When properly implemented it leads to significant economic efficiencies, achieved through resource sharing on the provider's side (but passed also to the consumer’s side). Running all customers on one instance of software and shared hardware really means big savings. In addition, the investments are on the newest technology and the latest versions of software (so, there is no version lock). So, it is important to communicate that logical separation is a suitable substitute for physical separation and that the main risks come from not knowing the architecture. For more details see the previous blog posts Understanding Multi-Tenancy I and  Understanding Multi-Tenancy II. One of the recommended top questions to ask, when evaluating cloud software, is multi-tenancy related: Is this a hosted or a true cloud solution?


Integration could be a major roadblock when moving applications en masse to the Cloud. Silos could emerge and applications and data may not interact with on-premise systems. But moving into the Cloud and losing enterprise context should not be an option.   Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) enable development, execution, and governance of integration flows. Connecting combinations of on-premise and cloud-based processes, services, applications, and data within an individual organization or across multiple organizations. Cloud-based SaaS applications are integrated with on-premise ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and legacy applications, where iPaaS supports cloud and on-premise deployment, and functions as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) gateways. As an example, Dell Boomi AtomSphere allows  integration of SaaS and on-premise applications with no appliances, no software, and no coding.

Portability, Interoperability, and Federation

Portability allows easy movement of data and applications between platforms and between providers. It includes software and hardware environments (physical & virtual). Interoperability between a Cloud and 3rd party Clouds is closely related to rapid elasticity and multi-tenancy. It allows scaling one service across disparate providers, while appearing and operating as one system. Cloud Federation is the practice of interconnecting cloud services (SPI) of different providers and from disparate networks. It is facilitated via network gateways, connecting public, private, and community clouds into a hybrid cloud environment. It requires providers to wholesale or rent computing resources to other providers to balance workloads and handle spikes in demand.  It also provides a standard, pre-negotiated set of contracts that recognizes identities issued by organizations. For more details see the previous blog posts Cloud Interoperability and Portability, Cloud Interoperability and Portability II, and Cloud Interoperability and Federation.

To fully gain the benefits of the cloud’s elastic environment, a cloud-implemented system should have interoperability and portability as its design goals, and this should be across IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS  (please see Table 1).

Table 1: Key Focus Areas and Considerations


Focus Area on



Initial Risks Evaluation

  • See CSA simple framework.
  • Importance of data and applications/functions/processes
  • Risk tolerance of organization
  • Acceptable deployment and service models combinations
  • Potential exposure points for sensitive information and operations.



  • Data and applications of different consumers share platforms, storage, and networks
  • Consider for all deployment models
  • Leads to significant economic efficiencies
  • Investment on newest technology and latest software versions
  • Logical separation is a suitable substitute for physical separation
  • Main risks come from not knowing the architecture.

Cloud-Based Integration


  • Connecting on-premise and cloud-based processes, services, applications, and data within individual or across multiple organizations.
  • Silos –- applications and data cannot interact with on-premise systems.
  • Moving into Cloud by losing enterprise context should not be option
  • iPaaS –- development, execution and governance of integration flows.


  • Applications and data are easily moved between platforms and providers
  • Scaling one service across disparate providers , while appearing and operating as one system
  • Interconnecting cloud services of different providers and from disparate networks.
  • Benefits for Consumers

- Choose best provider by flexibility, cost, availability of services
- Use most appropriate infrastructure environment
- Distribute workloads around globe; move data between disparate networks.

  • Benefits for Providers

- Earn revenue from idle or underutilized resources
- Expand geographic footprints without building new points of presence.


New Trends

While the evolving Cloud is impacting many other emerging technologies, in turn it is also getting impacted by them. New trends to consider in 2014 are the Nexus of Forces combination with the Internet of Everything (IoE), Personal Clouds and the evolution of Hybrid Clouds, and Cloud Mobility.                                                                                                                            

The Nexus of Forces and IoE

Cloud computing does not exist by itself. A Nexus of Forces is evolving through the convergence and mutual reinforcement of social, mobile, cloud, and information. Social and mobile provide the platform for effective interactions, while Cloud offers the computational and information delivery infrastructure.

New digital industrial economy is being built upon this Nexus in combination with IoE, unlocking an incredible opportunity to connect everything together. The gap between ideas and actions is being rapidly reduced through near-global connectivity, pervasive mobility, industrial-strength compute services, and access to vast amounts of information. Cloud computing has a key role in this Nexus, as without Cloud social interactions would have no place to happen at scale, mobile would fail to connect to variety of data and functions, and information would be still stuck inside internal systems.

Personal Clouds and Evolved Hybrid Clouds

The idea of everybody having their own personal computer is being reborn as having their own Personal Cloud, personally deciding what data to put there and with whom to share it, what applications to run on it, and what the terms of service will be. This is driving a power shift away from personal devices towards personal services, where no device is a primary hub. The personal cloud takes on the role of managing and securing data storage and access, through a self-hosted (running own server), provider-hosted, or hybrid approach.  The personal clouds will be interoperable and addressable via a common protocol for semantic data interchange (XDI). Peep-to-peer (p2p) networks will allow people to find and engage (in communication or commerce) with anyone else with a personal cloud, having considered the reputation of that cloud and whether they trust that cloud.

Hybrid clouds are evolving from integration between internal private clouds and public cloud services towards bringing together personal clouds and external private services. They should be designed with interoperability and federation in mind. Private clouds in turn will have to be designed with a hybrid future in mind to be able to handle future aggregation, integration, interoperability, and customization of services. Organizations implementing such private clouds will be dealing with overdrafting and cloudbursting, and  eventually taking the role of cloud service brokers.

Cloud Mobility

Another key trend is the move from Cloud and Mobile to Cloud-Based Mobile Augmentation (CMA) and Cloud Mobility. CMA employs resource-rich clouds to increase, enhance, and optimize computing capabilities of mobile devices.  Cloud Mobility assures that low-end mobile devices will be able to access diverse and scalable CC resources and globally connected mobile enabled resources.

These new trends will be discussed in the upcoming posts.

Please share your thoughts on the future of cloud computing.

Irena BojanovaIrena Bojanova, Ph.D., is a General Chair of IT Professional Conference, Editor of Encyclopedia of Cloud Computing, Wiley (to be published 2014), and the Founding Chair of IEEE CS Cloud Computing STC. She is also an Associate Editor in Chief and the Editor of the Trends Department of IEEE IT Professional, an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, and an Associate Editor of International Journal of Big Data Intelligence (IJBDI). Dr. Bojanova is a professor and program director, Information and Technology Systems, at University of Maryland University College, managed academic programs at Johns Hopkins University and PIsoft Ltd., and co-started OBS Ltd., (now CSC Bulgaria). She is a senior member of IEEE and can be reached at



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