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CIO Review >> Magazine >> April - 2013 issue

The Direction of Cloud Computing in 2013 and Beyond


One of the great pleasures I have had throughout my career is that I have been on the ground floor of the cloud evolution, or revolution as many see it today. In 1994, I co-founded Exodus Communications, which
quickly grew to become an industry defining internet hosting provider. At that time, very few established companies had any substantive web presence, and so we were fortunate enough to capitalize on this untapped opportunity by providing a comprehensive set of enabling services that allowed organizations to build and market themselves on the web.

But what was really exciting for me were all the startups that launched their businesses from Exodus data centers – Google, Yahoo, eBay and Hotmail are a few notable examples. The level of innovation that we saw was incredible, and what was very different was that these companies were completely internet-based. Exodus helped enable them, and in turn their growth helped fuel ours, which led to our IPO in 1998.

I left Exodus in 1999 to start my current
passion, Jamcracker, with a vision of creating a
central clearinghouse and distribution network
for what I viewed would be an explosive growth in the supply and demand of internet-based services. My view at that time, and as it stands today, is that these self-propagating
waves of internet-enabled services would continue to drive innovation on many different fronts. Our objective is to help these innovative services get access to market, and
more readily accessible and manageable by businesses. Jamcracker's Services Delivery Network (JSDN) now powers dozens of private-labeled cloud marketplaces that are operated globally by telecommunications and service
providers, IT distributors, enterprise and government IT organizations, and other "intermediaries" who are now referred to within the industry as Cloud Services Brokerages (CSB). So, similar to what happened in my earlier days at Exodus, again I am fortunate to be at a crossroads where I get to see a lot of new innovation happening on the supply and demand side of the cloud.

In my opinion, the next wave of the current cloud computing foundation that has been evolving over the past two decades will be less around the technology itself but rather the value it enables and its accessibility. Here are
just a few examples that come to mind:

• Cloud-based services, in conjunction with the rapid proliferation of network connectivity and computing devices (including mobile), will help emerging markets overcome many of their traditional infrastructure and economic barriers. As one example, the rapid adoption of mobile payments in Nigeria is being driven by the fact that many of its consumers have limited access to basic banking services.

• Small businesses around the world will increasingly leverage SaaS and other internet-based services to compete on the global stage. Achieving this previously would have been prohibitively expensive in a traditional on-premise licensing and operations model.

• Education will become much more accessible, as
evidenced by the rise of Massively Open Online Classes (MOOCs), advancing millions of people globally in a cost effective manner. Disruption
of many traditional sectors will be the norm going forward.

• Cloud computing's massive scalability will make "Big Data" a reality, which will drive real-time analytics to a whole new level. We
are already seeing this happening en masse in the retailing industry, and this trend will continue to accelerate and proliferate across many industries and governments.

I could go on and on, but my point is that cloud computing's future is all about being a catalyst that reduces barriers to innovation, and as a result will drive solutions that fundamentally change how we work, live and play.