I was asked to talk about the future of cloud computing at Cloud Expo, taking place this week in Santa Clara, Calif. For those of you not at the show, I identified five key trends to anticipate.

First, the buzzwords “cloud computing” are enmeshed in computing. I’m not sure I ever liked the term, though I’ve built my career around it for the last 10 years. The concept predated the rise of the phrase, and the concept will outlive the buzzwords. “Cloud computing” will become just “computing” at some point, but it will still be around as an approach to computing.

Second, we’re beginning to focus on fit and function, and not the hype. However, I still see many square cloud pegs going into round enterprise holes. Why? The hype drives the movement to cloud computing, but there is little thought as to the actual fit of the technology. Thus, there is diminished business value and even a failed project or two. We’ll find the right fit for this stuff in a few years. We just need to learn from our failures and become better at using clouds.

Third, security will move to “centralized trust.” This means we’ll learn to manage identities within enterprises — and within clouds. From there we’ll create places on the Internet where we’ll be able to validate identities, like the DMV validates your license. There will be so many clouds that we’ll have to deal with the need for a single sign-on, and identity-based security will become a requirement.

Fourth, centralized data will become a key strategic advantage. We’ll get good at creating huge databases in the sky that aggregate valuable information that anybody can use through a publicly accessible API, such as stock market behavior over decades or clinical outcome data to provide better patient care. These databases will use big data technology such as Hadoop, and they will reach sizes once unheard of.

Fifth, mobile devices will become more powerful and thinner. That’s a no-brainer. With the continued rise of mobile computing and the reliance on clouds to support mobile applications, mobile devices will have more capabilities, but the data will live in the cloud. Apple’s iCloud is just one example.

That’s the top five. Give them at least three years to play out.

This article, “5 key trends in cloud computing’s future,” originally appeared at InfoWorld.com.

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