Amazingly, Cloud computing, the technology used by over 94% of all the businesses worldwide was instrumental in helping the two primary providers grow too. Amazon Web Services (AWS) helped Amazon address its technology scalability & capacity challenges, and, at the same time, create an entirely new revenue stream back in 2002-2004. Similarly, Azure Cloud Services helped Microsoft bounce back from the setbacks it had in the consumer market, to the extent of beating Apple briefly in 2018 to become “Most Valuable Company.“
As the adoption of the Cloud is only going to grow, let us look at some of the key trends that are crucial areas of focus for businesses and CTOs..
Cloud Adoption Is Transcending Platform Boundaries
Businesses are increasingly adopting both multi-cloud & hybrid-cloud approaches. The public multi-cloud strategy allows companies to avoid lock-ins and utilize specific capabilities and efficiencies that each platform offers. At the same time, utilizing private clouds help business address some security & compliance challenges, as well as better cost management.
On average, organizations are using five cloud platforms to cater to their needs. These five platforms include public & private clouds, as well as production & experimentation clouds. Businesses are not only using multiple cloud platforms; they are increasingly shifting more of their workload to the Cloud. It is estimated that enterprises will shift 83% of their workload to Cloud services by 2020.
This trend of hybrid and multi-cloud strategy is not limited to any one sector. More than half of the businesses have adopted hybrid clouds for their work.
IaaS and PaaS Are Catching Up With SaaS
Adoption of Platform-As-A-Service grew by over 50% the second year in a row in 2019 and is expected to continue the same trajectory. Serverless computing is fuelling this growth along with the containerization of services.
- Use of Docker containers grew to 57% from 49%
- Azure Container Services saw an increase to 27% from 20%
- But the most significant growth driver was Kubernetes. Kubernetes adoption increased from 27% to 48%.
Kubernetes also figures prominently in the growth strategies of cloud service providers. The most significant demonstration was IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat. The Red Hat, in turn, had acquired CoreOS, the pioneers in the container technology. Microsoft & VMWare, too, consolidated their container offerings through the acquisitions of Deis and Heptio, respectively.
Serverless and containers will also allow businesses to move their entire IT Infrastructure to clouds. Businesses are already spending more on IaaS with a CAGR of 33.7% (Source: IDC). In 2020, the majority of the companies will have moved their IT infrastructure to the Cloud, and a decreasing percentage will still be on-premise.
Innovations Are Setting Newer Performance Benchmarks
As Quantum Computing brings hardware advancements, it is only natural that the Cloud will see exponential improvements in the performance. This increased performance capabilities will enable processing & computing beyond the benchmarks of today. As the Cloud facilitates the quantum networks, organizations will be able to utilize the compute and process efficiencies.
While the readiness of companies to offer quantum computing solutions is still in initial stages for any practical use case, all major cloud services providers are readying for this leap. While Amazon Braket, IBM Quantum, and Azure Quantum provide playgrounds for researchers, innovators, and developers to test the possibilities, Google has achieved “Quantum Supremacy,” through the “Sycamore” chip.
All of these are going to bring unparalleled performance enhancements to the Cloud. Due to this, High-Performance Computing (HPC), which was primarily being run on-premise, can now be offered by cloud services providers.
Along with computing, hyper-scale services will become key focus areas for businesses & service providers. These services will enable companies to handle scalability challenges better. A Cisco report estimates that by 2021, the traffic to & from hyper-scale data centers will be four times what it is today.
Intelligence Is Becoming The Norm
The progress in AI and ML will continue to manifest itself in Cloud services as well. While every SaaS application is moving towards having intelligence capabilities, SaaSOps is evolving the way businesses manage the cloud infrastructures. While the concept of SaaSOps is still in a nascent stage, it can cover the whole gamut of security, license management, and user management autonomously.
In other areas of cloud management, including saving energy to detecting potential server or network hardware failures, AI will be used to identify & resolve problems before they occur. The Machine Learning capabilities will enable intelligent, automatic workload distribution to manage the peak usage periods more efficiently. As the cloud & app infrastructures get more complicated as they solve more significant challenges than today, there will also be challenges of the skills gap. AI will step in to automate much work that can potentially address some of these skills gap challenges. Machine Learning will also continue to improve security by continuously identifying patterns of emerging threats and respond automatically to those.
The Road Ahead
As the statistics suggest, Cloud computing is no longer an option for businesses & enterprises that want to grow. Companies will focus on cloud migration as they shift most of their workload to the Cloud; at the same time, cloud management will be another focus area. Cost management and privacy & security remain critical challenges for cloud migration & cloud management service providers as enterprises will start to look at these areas as differentiators.
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