Gartner: The cloud according to Daryl

Orlando -- Gartner Managing Vice President Daryl Plummer, the master of the concise, astute observation,  delivered his annual 'state of the cloud' report Wednesday at the company's Symposium. Here are his six key points:

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1. ``If you have to know how it works, it's not cloud.''

In other words, throw away all of the other, more convoluted definitions. If the customer has to know anything about how the cloud service works, how it's built, how it's configured, then it's not cloud.

2. ``There is no such thing as a cloud--there are only cloud services.''

Plummer says customers should not think of a single cloud they should take each application or each workload and seek out the best service provider for that individual service. Companies should have multiple providers for multiple services.

3. ``Don't put your eggs in one cloud basket because that's the road to disaster.''

He recommends that companies start by putting applications like email, application development and testing, Web servers, collaboration, social, productivity apps and consumer centric apps in the cloud. But he recommends doing one cloud application at a time and going with the best vendor for that service.

4. ``Private cloud is a great first step to the public cloud, but not a great last step.''

Plummer argues that, despite some legitimate concerns about security, compliance and data loss, public cloud offers the greatest potential benefit for enterprises. Most companies tend to start with a private cloud implementation. Plummer says that's fine, but don't stop there.

While the biggest percentage of cloud spending is still in the private cloud arena, from a strategic standpoint, companies should look to the public cloud first, then back away if you have to.

5. ``IaaS is easy, but not the best value.''

Plummer says infrastructure-as-a-service is growing at a significant rate, but he cautions that the growth is ``a temporary phenomenon.'' Customers are discovering that platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service offer greater benefits to the business than what can be gained by simply renting compute cycles. ``We're going to be spending more on PaaS and SaaS,'' he says.

6. ``Cloud computing will be just computing by 2018.''

Plummer predicts that 2016 will be ``the defining year of the cloud.'' Just like personal clouds became popular in 2013, the convergence of the Internet of Everything, smart machines and advances like 3D printing will propel the cloud in 2016. ``Cloud is the place where big data really happens,'' he says.

And just like we no longer use the term e-business, because it's now just plain old business, cloud computing, by 2018, will be just plain old computing.