“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we aren’t using a USB jump drive to share our files anymore.” -- CloudTweaks Thumb image via HowStuffWorks. Cloud technology became huge this year, and transformational for business strategies. Unions of tech titans and major acquisitions further accelerated the moving of business to the cloud, and will continue to do so. We're past the introduction, and long into the assimilation phase, according to cloud experts. Looking at a year in review, we bring some of the most exciting moments, major merges and accomplishments, as well as the reports. IBM bought SoftLayer for 2 Billion Dollars: IT giant IBM acquired SoftLayer, a cloud computing infrastructure provider, the largest one privately held, on June, 4 and sealed it with a $2 billion deal. “IBM didn’t just pick up a hosting company with their acquisition of SoftLayer this week, they picked up a sophisticated data center operations team – one that could teach IBM Global Technical Services (GTS) a thing or two about efficiency when it comes to next-generation cloud data centers,” claims James Staten at Forbes. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, SoftLayer serves approximately 21,000 customers with a global cloud infrastructure platform spanning 13 data centers in the U.S., Asia and Europe. Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer, explains: “SoftLayer has a strong track record with born-on-the-cloud companies, and our move with IBM will rapidly expand that footprint globally as well as allow us to go deep into the large enterprise market.” With this, IBM expects to reach $7 billion annually in cloud revenue by the end of 2015, as stated in their press release. CIA made a $600 million Contract with Amazon: CIA has reached a cloud computing agreement with Amazon, in a contract worth $600 million over 10 years, although, as a general rule, the details of the contract are not publicly disclosed. CIA aims to build a private cloud infrastructure with the help of Amazon, to keep up with big data and emerging cloud computing technologies, in a cost-effective manner. The cloud would run on the government’s iron behind a firewall. Verizon improved its video delivery with EdgeCast CDN: Verizon Digital Media is interested in improving and extending their video delivery service and will add valuable content delivery network from EdgeCast. EdgeCast operates thousands of surrogate servers in 30 Internet hubs around the world. Verizon is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. “The combination of EdgeCast and Verizon Digital Media Services will allow us to fully exploit and accelerate growth in Internet media consumption and online business performance,” said Bob Toohey, president of Verizon Digital Media Services. The official deal is agreed upon and planned to be closed in early 2014. Salesforce purchased cloudconnect to advance its mobile experience: Salesforce has purchased cloudconnect, a startup founded by Heroku. Increased emphasis on mobile application is what will seem to become a trend with the Salesforce company, and in such scenario - cloudconnect is a smart buy. The acquisition was announced at Dreamforce 2013, the 11th iteration of Salesforce’s annual user and developer conference. CSC bought ServiceMesh: CSC, a global leader of next-generation information technology services and solutions, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ServiceMesh, an enterprise cloud management company. This strategic acquisition will enable CSC to migrate their clients’ applications into cloud computing environments. “The future of next-generation IT infrastructure will involve a set of multiple clouds utilized simultaneously by enterprises,” explained Mike Lawrie, CEO at CSC. ServiceMesh provides ServiceMesh Agility Platform, an enterprise cloud management platform, to automate the deployment and management of enterprise applications and platforms across private, public and hybrid cloud environments. Existing customers of ServiceMesh will be able to leverage CSC’s global network of industry consultants, application developers, software engineers, cybersecurity experts and infrastructure professionals. ServiceMesh will have access to CSC’s global sales, marketing, delivery and solution development teams. Akamai and Cisco work on a new solution together for Enterprise Branch Offices, World’s First Enterprise WAN: Akamai, the leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, announced plans for future integration of Akamai Unified Performance technology into the Cisco ISR-AX series of routers. The two companies intend to combine the power of Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) with Akamai Unified Performance to extend the corporate data center and the Akamai Intelligent Platform into the branch, specifically to offload existing network links and improve performance for web and business critical applications. The benefit of such solution would be extending business critical data center applications to the branch office, extending digital properties on the Akamai Intelligent Platform to the branch office, providing a high quality experience on any device, regardless of where the application resides, reducing costs with WAN transport independence, enabling innovative digital experiences for both employee and guest services, converging multiple network optimization functions in a single solution. The intent of both Akamai and Cisco is to utilize the Internet as a fast, reliable, cost-effective WAN option to address the exploding traffic requirements on corporate networks and deal with the architectural challenges hybrid clouds impose on traditional hub–and-spoke networks. China became the exciting market for the cloud giants such as Amazon and IBM: Amazon announced setting up a new region in Beijing, China. China Net Center and SINNET are to provide the infrastructure, network services, and CDN services that are required to support the launch and operation of AWS technology services in China - Read more. IBM, on the other hand, joined forces with 21VianetGroup in China, China’s largest carrier-neutral Internet Data Center service provider. This partnership brings the most powerful, secure, and scalable cloud built on open standards, known as IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, to China due to the rising demand for managing more complex, mission critical workloads and applications in the cloud by large enterprises. IBM promises further accelerating its efforts around driving innovation in China with enhanced IBM cloud offerings as a platform. While AWS is relatively new to China, IBM has a long experience of working with customers in the country, which makes them a credible players, but not without competitors. ChinaCache, the leading total solutions provider of Internet content and application delivery services in China also announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft was actually the first global company whose cloud technology was being offered to Chinese users. We celebrated Open Stack’s 3rd birthday as well as WordPress’ 10th Anniversary: OpenStack is an important effort enabling anyone to build their own cloud service free from the control of proprietary cloud vendors. Rackspace made a mini-documentary about it, with opinions from some of the founders and early contributors to Openstack as they look back to the initial collaboration and reflect on the joining of like-minded developers and technologists that ignited the Openstack open-source movement. You can watch it here: OpenStack has grown into a global community spanning 121 countries, expanded scope from compute and object storage to a cloud platform comprised of compute, storage, networking and shared services with more than 1,278 contributors who have written more than 1,3 million lines of code. As for WordPress, today it moves more than than 18% of all web content, approaching 70 million sites. Amazon came to almost full control of the cloud: AWS (Amazon Web Services) made major and many price reductions and had cut prices again and again for its dedicated instances. With its huge price reductions, Amazon Web Services not only leads the market, but controls it as well. Since the cloud market is still in its forming years, all should be concerned about a single company owning such a degree of control over pricing. “As we saw with Microsoft in the desktop operating system market in the 1990s, such control has both good and bad aspects. The good: You have a single technology provider that defines the market for you, so you don’t have to bet on who will win. The bad: That already-a-winner controls the market, and it can get lazy or stupid, hurting everyone,” said David Linthicum at InfoWorld. Rackspace contributions to CERN Openlab: CERN openly decided on creating a hybrid cloud solution with Rackspace’s public and private cloud in order to continue their experiments and research on the origins of Universe. Rackspace has entered into a contributor agreement with CERN. CERN openlab provides a framework to test and validate cutting-edge information technologies and services in partnership with industry at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Rackspace is to contribute with a reference architecture and operational model between Rackspace Private Cloud, Rackspace Public Cloud and CERN’s OpenStack powered clouds. Video: Salesforce and Oracle and Microsoft and Oracle all joined forces: On June 24th, Microsoft Corp, and Oracle Corp. announced a partnership that is to enable customers to run Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure. The partnership should benefit Java developers, as well as other IT professionals and businesses. “Now our customers will be able to take advantage of the flexibility our unique hybrid cloud solutions offer for their Oracle applications, middleware and databases, just like they have been able to do on Windows Server for years,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO at Microsoft. A day later, Salesforce.com and Oracle announced a comprehensive nine-year partnership encompassing all three tiers of cloud computing: Applications, Platform and Infrastructure. NSA Scandal evoked a Public Cloud paranoia: The whistle blowing news from Snowden about NSA collecting personal information about everyone, including phone calls data made on the Verizon network, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, made people once again distrustful towards public cloud. Rackspace launched Open Cloud Academy: As more and more companies are turning to cloud computing, they need to hire more stuff with cloud computing skills. Which are, half of the time, difficult to find, according to the survey that Rackspace conducted while researching the potential market market for the Cloud Academy: “Rackspace surveyed 1,300 businesses in the U.S. and England and found that 42% of companies are hiring workers with cloud computing skills, but 43% said they are finding it difficult to find IT professionals with the cloud computing skills.” Rackspace training program teaches skills in various open source areas, such as OpenStack, Hadoop and Linux, with a specific focus on – cloud computing. Bahnhof builds a Data Center with a theater on top: Bahnhof is looking to build a data center in Stockholm, which will be in a gas-plant, and with a theater on top. A data center houses servers, storage and network devices which are here located, operated and managed. Jon Karlung, Bahnhof CEO, wants a theater to sit on top of one such data center: “I think it’s an elegant mix: culture and technology and business.” Video: Finally, from the Nasuni group, it is estimated that there is, at the moment, over 1 Exabyte of data stored in the cloud.