Cloud computing in 2015 – and what is on the horizon for 2016

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As we wave goodbye to 2015 and say hello to 2016, it has again been an interesting, mostly successful year for cloud. According to research from Synergy, public cloud generates over $20 billion (£12.9bn) in quarterly revenues for IT firms. With the usual mix of mergers and acquisitions, security scares, and a few surprises, here are the highlights from 2015.

2015 review

February: Box files for IPO, enjoys initial uplift. The on-again, off-again story of enterprise cloud storage provider Box going public was finally resolved in February, with the company raising $175 million in its IPO and mostly confounding the critics. Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora and a long time advocate of Box’s business model, wrote in this publication that the storage firm’s opportunities were “limitless.”
Read more: Box raises $175m with IPO, but what is next?

July: Microsoft shuts down Windows Server 2003, companies try to cling on. July 14 2015 was a date etched firmly into scores of businesses and IT execs worldwide. The shutdown of WS2003 was supposed to mark a watershed in corporate IT – but naturally, businesses reluctant to change had other ideas. Research from the Cloud Industry Forum showed almost three quarters of firms with more than 200 employees were still on the server despite support having expired.
Read more: Windows Server 2003 end of life upgrade: Why many companies are leaving it “quite late”

August: Wuala announces it is to shut down its service. Wuala, the Switzerland based cloud storage service owned by Seagate, announced in August customers would have until November 15 to transfer their data before the service disappeared. The company offered up Tresorit as a potential new home. Even though Tresorit chief exec Istvan Lam welcomed Wuala customers, he added: “You can’t build your business on storage”.
Read more: Wuala cloud storage to shut down, offers Tresorit as potential new home

October: Dell coughs up $67bn for EMC. In the biggest tech deal in history, Dell parted with an eye-watering $67 billion (£43.7bn) to acquire EMC and create what was described by the companies as “the world’s largest privately-controlled, integrated technology company.” VMware would remain an independent, publicly traded company. Some analysts strongly supported the deal, but others were less convinced.
Read more: Dell agrees $67bn EMC deal: An “enterprise powerhouse” or “the walking dead”?

November: Microsoft turns off the tap on unlimited OneDrive. As it transpired, unlimited doesn’t really mean unlimited, as Microsoft said it was no longer offering limitless OneDrive storage. The reason: a minority of users who were just too greedy for their own good, backing up numerous PCs and storing entire movie collections on the service. Brian Taptich, CEO at developer-focused storage provider Bitcasa, told this publication that while it was “definitely not a failure” on Microsoft’s part, but added that competing against Microsoft, Google, Amazon et al on their own terms was akin to a “suicide mission.”
Read more: Microsoft turns off unlimited OneDrive for Office 365, blames greedy users

2016 predictions

Unified communications will become the “true connective tissue” in organisations: That’s the view of Mike Nessler, executive vice president at InterCall, who argues: “We’ll see organisations identifying new ways to drive UC value and ROI by giving IT managers and end users metrics and data to improve their communications.” The key for UC is also around getting tools in the right hands, says Nessler. “2016 will be a year for reassessment as CIOs not only take a look at what UC software they bought, but how end users are putting it to use.”

Amazon to ride out more competition in storage: Michael Tso, CEO and co-founder of Cloudian, argues co-location and data centre providers could provide stiffer competition to Amazon in 2016 as a best bet for cloud storage. “To differentiate themselves, they will start to offer more high-end targeted solutions for a new part of the market, for example disaster recovery, continuity, and regulatory compliance services,” he explains, adding: “As a result of this Amazon growth, S3 will become the de facto storage interface for all new applications and will replace CIFS/NFS as the access protocol for files and content storage.”

2016 will be the year of cloud security and cloud ROI: This is the view of Yorgen Edholm, CEO and president of Accellion. “Businesses are finally recognising the ROI gains of using a public cloud for non-critical content storage don’t have to be discarded in order to retain the security [and] compliance benefits offered by on-premise and private solutions,” he said. 

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