When we brought you Forrester’s Top 15 Technology Trends to watch, it was briefly mentioned, “IaaS finds a broader audience.” Well, today we examine just exactly what’s going to happen.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Trends for 2011

First, by IaaS we mean infrastructure as a service. Moving applications from on-premise data centers to the cloud can help save companies money while relinquishing them from the challenges of storing data.

While the cloud provides many benefits for businesses, it may not be the best solution for all. The more companies learn about what the cloud entails, the better prepared they will be for what’s to come. Here are just a few of the trends Forrester will be keeping an eye on in 2011.

  1. Empowered employees lead by example. Since Forrester released its newest book, Empowered, more attention is being paid to employees who feel empowered to embrace and employ new technologies all in the name of productivity. In order to implement company-wide initiatives, executives are urged to learn what solutions are needed to solve problems rather than create more.
  2. Privatizing the cloud doesn’t work. But it does provide valuable opportunities for companies to learn what it takes to operate in a cloud environment. The quicker you fail, the faster you can learn, re-group and do it right.
  3. Community clouds get more support. Companies within specific industries are joining forces and creating community clouds. Not only does this provide safety in numbers, industries that face stricter security and compliance standards will find it easier to enforce and comply.
  4. Don’t look for standardization. The cloud is not expected to adopt standards anytime soon, but that shouldn’t slow you down. Existing security, web services, networking and protocol standards are all in use by clouds, and 2011 is bound to bring more specifications.
  5. Security is shared. Now that your data is in the cloud, whose responsibility is it anyway? As more and more cloud providers seek to bring HIPAA, PCI and other compliance standards to the cloud, not only will we learn that security is a shared responsibility, but we’ll also see more best practices developed.

The appeal of the cloud is very strong, but companies should make strategic decisions. The best places to start are with test and development of new applications, web applications, and high-performance computing. Companies are advised to test the waters with these application classes, but plan to move on to more advanced uses before progressing to cloud-native services.