The world is becoming a massive computational machine. Soon we will have 10 billion connected devices on this planet - phones, pads, laptops, servers, GPSs and vehicles, medical devices, meters and recorders, and so on. And then there will be more. These connected devices, which are advancing the speed and quality of our communication and access to information at an extraordinary rate, are also democratizing the use of technology - between humans and among the devices themselves! The only way to effectively handle the varied, unpredictable and massive workload resulting from this expanding connected world is with compute clouds. We must rapidly build public clouds, private (on-premise) clouds, and hybrid clouds. If we don't, we'll quickly run into a number of walls: lack of compute resources, lack of space for the computers, and lack of energy to power them.
We are barely into the beginning of cloud computing, so any prediction of what its future will be prone to error. Massive shifts in IT, such as the shift away from client/server into cloud architectures, are a function not only of winning technologies but also of users' behavioral patterns and of leading vendors' strategic decisions. That's one reason why prediction is so difficult. The biggest shifts in IT so far have been characterized by a technological break-through yielding a 10x improvement in efficiency or reduction in overall cost.
What a difference time makes! Back in 2001 when I took the job as CEO of MySQL AB, free and open source software (FOSS) was an exciting escapade for the brave ones only. The FOSS movement had been around for some time already, and the communities were not insignificant. But from a perspective of industry, business and common citizens, open source was the brave new thing that many people admired but few were ready to support.
Today Canonical and Dell made an important announcement: Dell is shipping servers with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) pre-installed. This is great news for any business interested in private cloud computing. UEC consists of the Ubuntu Linux distro combined with the Eucalyptus open source cloud platform. UEC is a robust and production-ready software product that has been shipping for over a year now, with a huge number of deployments all over the world. Now, all of that is available in the USA as a simple and single purchase from Dell.