The foundations for cloud computing were firmly laid in 2010, paving the way for what will likely be a landmark year for the technology, a Forrester analyst has predicted.

In a blog, Forrester analyst James Staten, made 10 predictions for cloud computing in 2011 which build on the gains made over the past year. He said the stage is set for cloud computing to develop into a “vibrant, steady market” rather than a field where just a handful of players like Amazon.com, have made inroads.

“Not all moves that show promise today will result in a sustainable harvest come 12 months, but a few trends are likely to play out,” he stated. Here are Staten’s top predictions:

  1. The Empowered Shall Lead Us. In a recent book published by Forrester, titled Empowered, a new type of leader is profiled. Forrester describes this leader as a person who is leveraging technologies at the edge of the business to change relationships, improve customer support, design new products, and deliver value in ways not previously foreseen. And, they are turning to cloud services to make this change happen.
  2. You will build a private cloud, and it will fail. This is a good thing, Staten says, because through failure you will learn what it really takes to operate a cloud environment.
  3. Hosted private clouds will outnumber internal clouds 3:1. The main reason empowered employees go to the public cloud is speed and standardized procedures and service. Most enterprises aren’t yet ready to offer the same value proposition.
  4. Community clouds will arrive, thanks to compliance. Fields such as biotech are already headed in this direction and others will follow, Staten, says. “Why struggle alone adapting your processes to meet FDA requirements when everyone else in your industry is doing the same?” he asks.
  5. Workstation applications will bring HPC to the masses. Companies such as Autodesk with its Project Cumulus, are figuring out how to put the power of the cloud behind applications and are changing the way high performance computing can be delivered to the customer.
  6. Cloud economics gets switched on. Being cheap is good. The basis of cloud economics is in paying for only what you use. While this sounds simple, getting there can be difficult. Knowing when and which cloud to use for maximum profitability is the key, says Staten.
  7. The BI gap will widen. Cloud technologies will increasingly deliver real-time intelligence and cross-system insights. Those that learn how to leverage this power first, will gain advantage.
  8. Information is power and a new profit center. Not only will cloud computing help leading enterprises gain greater insight from their information, it will help them derive revenue. Companies will learn how to leverage the data locked in their vaults.
  9. Cloud standards still won’t be here – get over it. Despite promising efforts, the market will still be too immature for standardization in 2011. However, Staten says that doesn’t mean there will be a lack of real progress. The key is to not let that hold you back from experimenting and learning.
  10. Cloud security will be proven, but not by the providers alone. Cloud security is a shared responsibility and will improve and evolve as a result of the combined efforts of cloud providers, security vendors and customers. In the meantime, Staten says enterprises can get started with applications that are easier to protect.