This post is the start of a new type of post in which I will make predictions for the future of IT. These are purely my opinion and should be taken as such - don't bet the farm on any of them!
To start it off, here's my first prediction:
When national bandwidth infrastructure improves drastically, the "cloud" finally has a chance to be relevant for storing/retrieving large data efficiently.
By the way, by "cloud", I do mean a private cloud, or a public/shared cloud.
What I mean by this is, right now, so many of us are limited to a few Mbps (usually 3 or less) download speed. For businesses with symmetric connections, upload speed is roughly the same (3 or less), and for residential areas, unless you can get FIOS or another high speed connection, usually upload is below 1Mbps.
I predict that when we have at least 100Mbps, if not much greater (such as 1Gbps) to the home, and to the business, and transferring bits becomes cheaper and more affordable, having all our data (large and small) live in the cloud can finally be more feasible. The only problem standing in the way of the cloud at that point is security. No predictions about that!
Think about trying to back up your servers from your datacenter to a cloud location or off-site. Got enough bandwidth? How many hours does it take? How about backing up your own personal photo collections off-site? How many hours does it take to get it to a service like Mozy or Carbonite?
These types of services, among others, such as streaming audio and video, will only improve with more bandwidth. And maybe, just maybe, with more bandwidth, the idea that my operating system lives mostly in the cloud becomes ever closer a reality. Should we want that? Again, that's not a prediction for today!
We're hungry for bandwidth. Who will feed the need?