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2012 was the year cloud computing took off, and went mainstream. Some startups like dinCloud recorded exceptional growth, and won numerous awards and recognition. But for some service providers 2012 was a pretty tough year with a number of outages, affecting millions of users and some even causing permanent data loss to its customers. This still didn’t put a damper on the acquisition spree we saw during 2012 as cloud computing’s value continued to shine.

Let’s look at what were the key developments and challenges for enterprise cloud computing in 2012

The evolution of the cloud, however, was much greater than what was expected. Cloud computing helped IT in many organizations become more dynamic – spending grew to over $109 billion, up 20% over last year. And that’s not all. Gartner predicts that the total outlay for cloud computing services could nearly double, to $207 billion, by 2016. Install-and-upgrade software and infrastructure is becoming less popular by the day, it appears.

We also noticed many vendors doing some variations to their service catalogs. And there were also some further developments on the horizon. For example, some hosters like GoDaddy decided to rationalize their Cloud Server offering. Meanwhile, there were also some new cloud products launched by startups like dinCloud, who expanded its portfolio by launching cloud hosted servers and NetApp-based cloud backup and storage solutions.

Some vendors continued their rapid restructuring to an on-demand cloud computing model enhancing their portfolios with cloud acquisitions. Some high level acquisitions in 2012 include Dell-Wyse acquisition for virtual desktops, followed by Oracle acquiring network virtualization technology firm Xsigo to boost cloud prowess. VMware paid top dollar for Nicera, a software-defined-networking vendor.

Along with these developments, there were some setbacks too. In 2012, despite many precautions taken by cloud computing service providers – we saw outages on a regularly basis caused by human error, quality issues, technical glitches and natural disasters. The major cloud computing outages in 2012 were Google Gmail, Amazon Web Services, Apple iCloud and GoDaddy outages ranging from 2-4 hours affecting millions of users and companies like Quora, DropBox, Pinterest, Heroku, and NetFlix.

Though outages like this can make a company apprehensive about the cloud, the benefits associated with being in the cloud such as 50% savings on IT spend and agility has to outweigh the risks associated with downtime.  The scale to weigh this decision will be different for every customer, but if the benefits outweigh the potential risk, then we can see more mainstream adoption in 2013.

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