December 23, 2011, 4:05 PM — This is the second post for "My personal, hand-selected top 11 tech stories of 2011." You can read the first post, Netflix's Public Suicide Art Project, here.
If following the money is a good way to gauge a technology's prospects, 2011 was a big year for cloud computing.
Between major acquisitions, funding deals and announcements, cloud computing moved closer to the mainstream, even as security concerns lingered.
Among the highlights:
Google unveils a cloud-based music service called Google Music
Amazon releases its Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player
Apple launches iCloud
SAP acquires cloud-based HR apps vendor SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion
Oracle buys cloud-based CRM apps vendor RightNow for $1.5 billion
Rackspace buys cloud server management start-up Cloudkick
Relatively low-profile cloud-based platform provider Jive Software goes public, raising $161 million and outperforming higher-profile IPOs from Groupon and Zynga.
Platform-as-a-Service vendor Apprenda scores a $10 million venture round
Cloud-based Java app vendor CloudBees gets $10.5 million in funding
Intel invests $30 million in cloud research
Bottom line: We're talking big players with a lot of skin in the cloud game. No surprise, because the stakes are high: According to Forrester Research, the cloud computing market will grow to $241 billion in 2020 from $40.7 billion in 2010.
Look for more of the same in 2012: More cloud acquisitions and consolidation, more cloud funding -- and more concerns about cloud security, which my ITworld colleague Kevin Fogarty discussed on numerous occasions this year.