After a brief hiatus, we were glad to restart #cloudtalk in January and discuss 2012 predictions – what’s next in the cloud. Co-hosted with VMware’s very own vCloud Architects, Chris Colotti and Massimo Re Ferre’, participants sounded off on everything from hybrid cloud to production workloads in the cloud. For those who missed it, here are some highlights from last Tuesday’s chat.

We kicked off the chat by asking participants if they agreed with the buzz that 2012 is the year of the hybrid cloud.

@mreferre agreed but added that tools need to deliver on the promise of hybrid cloud. @cxi chimed in that 2012 will really be about enabling those realities. On the other hand, @tier3 and @gazzar_rj both thought that 2012 was more of the year for PaaS. @wholmes responded, “If you are an Enterprise, this is the year of Hybrid Cloud. If you are a startup, this is the year of PaaS Cloud,” to which both @Virtacore and @mreferre agreed. However, @jakerobison noted that he sees PaaS playing a big role for new development in the enterprise as well, with @tier3 also adding that as PaaS begins to support more traditional enterprise languages such as .NET, it will be adopted more among larger organizations. 

@bgracely then asked what would happen faster in the enterprise this year – PaaS investigations or the virtualization of mission-critical apps. @mreferre, @mikefoley, and @maishsk all believed that the virtualization of mission-critical apps would happen faster, with @mreferre adding that even though we talk a lot about cloud PaaS and IaaS, many organizations have not even started to virtualize their infrastructures yet.

We then asked if participants believed that 2012 would see more SMBs making the transition to the cloud.

The vast majority of respondents agreed that yes, more SMBs will transition or at least start seriously looking into the cloud, with @Stratustician pointing out that there are many great benefits to incentivize SMBs to make the move, from standardization and automation to security. @rob_rutherford also noted that the cloud is often the best fit in the SME market.

From there the chat moved into the consumerization of IT in 2012 and whether participants have seen more organizations adopting BYOD policies.

@ccolotti believed that BYOD is a good idea with a lot of bad implementations around the concept. @Stratustician recommended that companies should either adopt BYOD or hire more security folks to keep up with the increase in second policy violators, with @daviottenheimer suggesting that organizations could also extend responsibility for security to everyone. @Stratustician also added that the key is to allow BYOD under agreement that security needs to be used, ie. IDM, VPN, content management, and forceover from 4G to Wifi.

To round off the chat, we asked @ccolotti and @mreferre what most of their customers want to see in the cloud in 2012.

@mreferre responded that his customers want vCO most definitely, with @maishsk commenting on his surprise that it took so long for vCO to become such a major component. @mikefoley then added that good automation and orchestration will become important not just to IT but also security in vCloud implementations, a comment which both @jakerobinson and @joerglew agreed. 

@ccolotti responded that his customers want to see production workloads in the cloud, and that it was time to move out of test/dev cloud, which many agreed with, including @mreferre, @tier3, @wholmes, and @ZertoCorp. @bgracely then asked why @ccolotti believed that 2012 is the year of productions workloads in the cloud, to which he responded that people have spent enough time “playing” with cloud and that it’s time to move forward. @DuncanYB also added that people are getting used to the technology and have started seeing it as a proven solution.

Finally @cxi commented that cloud cannot be adopted mainstream without Executive Leadership buy-in, but that 2012 will see an increase of that, which @wholmes, @Virtacore, and @heidigro all agreed with.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in last month’s #cloudtalk, and special thanks to @mreferre and @ccolotti for co-hosting it with us! We'll be at the #PEXTweetup tomorrow from 4:30-630pm in the VMware Community Lounge, and we encourage both PEX attendees and other cloud enthusiasts to join in the discussion. We’ll be highlighting key cloud conversations using the #cloudtalk hashtag, so be sure to follow us at @VMwareSP and @vCloud to catch live content from the meetup!