Making predictions for web hosting in the coming year is a bit like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey – odds are if you do it enough, you will hit on something that will pertain to the masses. The two most often mentioned trends for 2010 are cloud computing and social media integration.
Cloud computing is a fairly new bit of web hosting technology that is still stretching its wings and trying to fly right. For those not in the know, cloud computing is basically the term for anything that involves the delivery of hosted services over the Internet. The most commonly used cloud computing service is SaaS or Software-as-a-Service. SaaS services include Web-based e-mail, database processing, and even inventory control (to name just a few).
At this point, cloud computing can only begin to climb upwards in the popularity contest. With this year’s fiasco with the T-Mobile Sidekick and customers losing all of their data, a bit of a black-eye has emerged on the face of cloud computing. The truth of the matter is this was not exactly a cloud computing issue but rather a matter of not following proper IT practices. A backup of data was supposed to have been performed and the ball was dropped. Unfortunately, the end result was a lot of finger-pointing and fist-shaking at cloud computing.
In the coming year, we can expect to see the rise of new technologies designed to improve cloud computing usage and its performance as well as improved security. 2010 should see an increase in third parties focusing on moving data center technologies and applications to cloud computing environments. More companies will be providing virtual systems to their customers for cloud computing usage as well. Security is a big issue with many would-be cloud computing users – the solution may be tougher SLAs (Service Level Agreements) with cloud providers that impose penalties should things go awry. Nothing says secure like knowing your reputation is on the line.
It may seem a bit redundant to say that social media integration will be a big trend in 2010 but the reality is this past year has only been the beginning. Companies such as Comcast, Starbucks, and Ford have paved the way and smoothed out the bumps in the utilization of social media and business. The new year should see plenty more big, mid-sized and small businesses jumping on the social media bandwagon and integrating the monsters of social networking into their company web sites. The name of the game is to sell your products and services – how better to do this than to connect with your customers on a more personal level?
Personally, I would love to see a combination of both cloud computing and social media integration into one neat, working and secure package in 2010. Perhaps there is already something in the works and it is merely a matter of the calendar turning over. If you know of a service that does exactly this, let me know!