Forrester hails the rise of the App Internet… and the death of the cloud?

The rise of smartphones and the surrounding app ecosystem could spell the end for cloud computing, says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins.

Hopkins was speaking at this week’s Digital London conference and while his comments about the death of cloud computer were certainly headline-grabbing they were also slightly tongue-in-cheek.

However, there was a serious message behind what he said. The rise in smartphone and other smart device adoption, driven by the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Android devices, and the surrounding application ecosystem means that in some cases services can bypass the data centre. Hopkins calls this the App Internet.

"Our founder, George Colony, likes to say the cloud is dead, and everyone says ‘what?!?’" he said. "The cloud is about powering the data centre. The app internet is about the fact that all these powerful devices are now not in the data centre; they are out at the edge, on the periphery, where business happens, where people buy things."

Devices operating "at the edge" are creating what Hopkins called a new architecture. "What we know how to do today is app communication through cloud services that connect back to the data centre. But we’re seeing a rise in applications that can use all the devices in one place to create local networks and share information," he said.

But despite these comments, Hopkins said Forrester’s own research shows business are benefiting from cloud computing, and its death may not be near after all.

"Cloud is giving users new options to acquire IT services and what that’s doing is applying pressure on centralised IT shops," he said. "That pressure is applying downward cost pressure. Half the companies we surveyed reported that costs are actually lower by using as-a-Service technology."

However Hopkins’ comments on the death of the cloud were not well received by other analysts at the event. R Ray Wang, founder and CEO of Constellation Research, tweeted: "Most of us outside of #forrester find this silly," followed by "Hybrid IT will be here for quite some time. We’re moving quickly to People2People networks not App Internet."

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