Gartner: Cloud technology needs seven years to mature

Cloud application infrastructure technology will not become mainstream for another seven years, despite early adoption amongst “trail-blazing” enterprises, according to analyst firm Gartner.

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Cloud application infrastructure technology will not become mainstream for another seven years, despite early adoption amongst “trail-blazing” enterprises, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner laid out a three-phase evolution of the cloud computing market.

The current phase one - from 2007 to 2011 - is a time for "pioneers and trailblazers". Gartner advises IT departments to use cloud computing, which it also calls "service-enabled application platforms" (SEAP), during phase one for "quick-hit" results with a return on investment in under two years. During this phase, suppliers would be likely to focus on systems that allowed rapid application development, Gartner said.

After 2011, a “surge” of new suppliers will enter the market, Gartner predicted. The market will become overcrowded and then begin to consolidate, it said, and firms will be happier to use SEAP for longer-term projects.

During phase three, between 2012 and 2015, cloud will become the preferred type of technology for businesses conducting simple application development, Gartner said. Standards will also develop at that time, the firm predicted. By 2015, after a wave of consolidation amongst suppliers, the technology will be a “commodity” in many application development projects.

Intra-cloud application programming interfaces would also develop, Gartner said, enabling firms to link cloud-based solutions across supplier platforms.

The firm also predicts that concerns over vendor ‘lock-in’ would lead to n industry-wide push for one or more open source cloud software stacks as an alternative to proprietary approaches.

Mark Driver, VP research at Gartner, said: “[Service enabled application platforms] are the foundation on which software-as-a-service solutions are built.

"As SEAP technologies mature during the next several years, Gartner foresees three distinct, but slightly overlapping, phases of evolution. The first phase, through 2011, will be that of the pioneers and trailblazers; the second, running from 2010 through 2013, will be all about market consolidation; while the third phase, from 2012 through 2015, will see mainstream critical mass and commoditisation."

But many firms still do not even understand cloud computing, according to a separate survey by cloud host firm Rackspace, which found 57 percent of British firms struggled with their knowledge in this area.

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