What are some top cloud and mobile trends today in 2012?
[Cloud] is certainly taking on more [of traditional data center workloads] than it ever has, but it's not going to take it all over. That's something we have to remind clients of and be very clear with them on. Cloud is not the future of the data center; it's an alternative way of delivering apps.
The biggest mobile trend is no longer to create a mobile app. Now it's to mobilize your application and your business. What it actually requires is that mobile applications have what's called a mobile back end. More often than not, that mobile back end is in the cloud. It's in the cloud because you want scalability, you want to separate the mobile back end from the true back end -- all the stuff that's running in your data center. You want to design it in a very elastic fashion.
One thing we find true about mobile applications is that their use patterns for any application and resource are unpredictable. You may be the hot download -- 10 million downloads right away, and you have to have the capacity to handle all those downloads. The use of the application after it's downloaded, however, might not happen for a few days. It might be a little trickle, or it might become the number one app to use.
If you use traditional architectures or do traditional capacity planning, this is a really expensive proposition, and it scares a lot of companies. Cloud gives businesses the freedom and the flexibility to not have to worry about getting capacity planning wrong, but they do have to learn how to design an application that scales gracefully. That's very different from how we have scaled applications in the past.
Editor's Note: This answer about cloud and mobile trends is excerpted from an interview with James Staten, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, conducted by SearchSOA.com assistant site editor Stephanie Mann.
This was first published in November 2012