It’s barely been three years since Larry Ellison asked the question “What the hell is cloud computing?” And now, in 2012, cloud computing has become the driving trend for much of the IT business. What’s up next with cloud computing? Here are seven observations of likely trends that we’ll see in the not too distant future.Cloud security remains the top priority on the list of virtually everyone who’s following cloud computing.If security concerns can be addressed, there’s nothing that can stop the cloud’s momentum.Expect a flurry of startups and major vendors to try to crack the cloud security problem.Cloud computing has dramatically lowered computing costsand reduced the cost of entry to bring new products to market.Expect the pace of innovation to pick up as startups are able to bring new ideas to market with shoestring funding. While the cloud has a global presence, it’s main center for growth has really been in the US.Expect that to change, with Asia likely to show very strong growth in cloud computing in the near future.Competition is increasing among consumer and enterprise cloud services.Expect cloud pricing to fall and the number of cloud features to grow.Cloud services will increasingly be more focused on vertical niche markets.The pressure is on legacy software vendors to offer cloud solutions.Expect most legacy software vendors to refactor their brand products to run on the cloud.Organizations will find that the complexity of managing many cloud providers will grow.Expect cloud brokerages to appear that will try to act a middleman for negotiating contracts.Business units increasingly by-pass IT and directly purchase IT services.Expect this trend to continue. Rapid changes in technology is reshaping the IT department.In the future, most IT departments will likely shrink and shift their responsibilities from being hands-on implementors to being coordinators.