1. Hybrid clouds mature. The nature of hybrid clouds – meaning parts of your infrastructure are running in both public and private data centers – is getting more mature and sophisticated. New providers are springing up frequently, which make evaluating them all that much harder.
Some are traditional hosting providers, other offer more virtualization expertise and some have built their own management tools around their services. One example: Terremark’s VMware-based computing as a service was acquired by Verizon for $1.4 billion, making them a major cloud provider. This move may prompt other carriers to have their own cloud marquee business.
And Amazon has been steadily beefing up its Web Services and dropping prices. “It is clear that people are now figuring out that they can do High-Performance Computing in the cloud,” as they posted recently on their blog.
And as hybrid clouds mature, there is more information on lessons learned, like this post from Netflix’s blog on how they made the transition from their own data centers to AWS, including cutting down on latency and learning how to scale up their operations.
2. Virtual firewalls still lag behind the physical ones. The protective technologies that are plentiful and commonplace in the physical world become few and far between when it comes to the cloud. And while few attacks have been observed in the wild that specifically target VMs, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect them.
However, traditional firewalls aren’t designed to inspect and filter the vast amount of traffic originating from a hypervisor running ten virtualized servers. VMs are so easily portable that tracking down a particular instance isn’t always something that a traditional intrusion detection device can do.
And because VMs can start, stop, and move from hypervisor to hypervisor at the click of a button, protective features have to be able to handle and recognize these movements and activities with ease. Finally, few hypervisors have the access controls that even the most basic file server has.
3. Cloud storage shakeout. Several major cloud storage players are either getting out of the business or will be by the end of this year, including Iron Mountain’s Virtual File Store (after two years), Valutscape (2009-2010) and EMC’s Atmos Online (2009-2010). Some of their competitors have stepped up to help migrate the existing clients. Clearly, this is a market in transition. Expect more of the same for the remainder of this year.