2012: The Year of Cloud and SDNs

By Erin Harrison December 26, 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, we look back on the year that was in technology, which was, by many accounts, a year of reinvention for some of the biggest players in the space.

Household names such as Microsoft and Amazon are two iconic brands that stand out. Microsoft overhauled several of its key product lines – most notably Windows, according to a recent Network World report, in addition to “boldly” entering the hardware market with its Surface tablet.

While cloud computing continued unprecedented growth, many companies either started to transform to becoming software-defined network (SDN) providers, or appeared to be snatching up SDN outfits left and right.

“Enterprise IT pros have been hard-pressed to avoid OpenFlow and SDN in 2012. The OpenFlow-focused Open Networking Summit sold out in April, fueled by interest in technology promising a more flexible and programmable network architecture,” the report said.

In addition, startups such as Big Switch Networks, Plexxi, PLUMgrid, Insieme and Nicira were also focal points, securing huge chunks of venture funding, got bought out or rolled out products.

“Meanwhile, established vendors such as Brocade, Cisco, Juniper, HP and Alcatel-Lucent aired their SDN plans, such as Cisco ONE,” the report said.

As for cloud, it would appear that, for now, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a market leader in cloud computing, but the high-profile outages this past year have given competitors like Rackspace, Google, Microsoft and Terremark, leverage in what has become a very crowded market.

“The disruptions continue to raise questions about how trustworthy the cloud is, and whether companies can really afford to put mission-critical data into it,” the report added.

And finally 2012 was a busy year for OpenStack, with VMware’s addition to the open source project and the launch of an independent foundation.

“The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) markets further matured, and increased attention went to the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market to provide a service for building applications in the cloud,” Network World said.

While the cloud has moved into mainstream awareness, many vendors are frustrated with the pace of cloud adoption. That said, the cloud computing trends of 2012 will come to life even more so in 2013, according to Bernard Golden, vice president of enterprise solutions at cloud management software company enStratus Networks.

Check out his predictions here.

Edited by Braden Becker

Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

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