Five years ago, the cloud computing discussion was in its relative infancy. Big companies recoiled in fear at the thought of giving up any precious data to nascent cloud services. Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud was just a twinkle in some developer's eye. Salesforce.com had yet to launch its cloud-based application development platform, Force.com.
Fast-forward to the present day. Corporate America is tapping the cloud for everything but the most sensitive mission-critical applications. Amazon's EC2 has become the dominant on-demand computing capacity resource for companies of all sizes. And many of Salesforce.com's customers are using Force.com to build just about every application they need.
So, what do the next five years hold? Industry analysts and IT decision-makers interviewed by CIO Insight expect cloud providers to offer an array of tools for governing their cloud services. These will make it possible for enterprise users to monitor cloud performance, manage cloud resources efficiently, comply with policies and regulations, and perform legal discovery, also known as "e-discovery."
Standards will evolve, enabling cloud services to communicate readily with each other, and making it efficient to transfer workloads between various clouds. And, perhaps most importantly, contracts with cloud providers will finally offer IT buyers the assurances they need that their data is safe, portable and accessible around the clock. (For more on how enterprises expect to use the cloud in the next five years, read our feature article Cloud Forecast 2015.)
These are things you're likely already demanding of your cloud providers. But, what else do you need to know? Here's a five-point checklist: