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Cloud computing has been a Top 3 trend in IT since it took root with the introduction of AWS's S3 data storage in late 2006. Its predecessor, the ASP (application service provider), was an important pioneering technology, but it generally was a fragile and unreliable solution. It took a lot of trial and error, time, investment, testing, QA and success and failure for cloud providers to deploy reliable, high-quality applications for thousands of uses. Now it works very well for just about everything.
Cloud is not going to recede in importance anytime soon; we're all dependent upon services distributed by clouds more than ever and virtually every time we use a connected device. However, in 2020 we may see some new efficiencies, interfaces, connectivity choices and applications themselves in our interactions with the cloud on a daily basis.
Here is eWEEK's first set of cloud predictions for 2020.
Aron Brand, CTO of CTERA:
By 2025, 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional data centers and shift to public cloud. Many companies have already begun their journey from the data center to the cloud by first utilizing the cloud as their secondary data center. There are companies that have already transitioned to the cloud, in a second availability zone or a second cloud provider (multi-cloud).
The death of the data center does not mean death of disaster recovery (DR). On the contrary; it makes a disaster recovery strategy much more viable even for smaller companies. The public cloud greatly reduces the costs of having a DR site, because with it, a company pays only for the resources it uses. This makes having a secondary data center affordable, even for much smaller companies.
Bruce Milne, VP and CMO of Pivot3:
Software will redefine the hybrid cloud. Hyperconvergence emerged several years back to describe several data center elements consolidating into a single box. More recently, we’ve started to see the emergence of DHCI (distributed hyperconverged infrastructure), an approach that I see as is contradictory and antithetical. As our industry moves forward in 2020, a new category will capture the essence of software-defined everything, and I believe it will be the notion of hybrid cloud. Hardware will still be required, but it could be located anywhere; software will continue to coordinate the increasing complexity to the point where location of hardware will increasingly become irrelevant in 2020.
Ryan Breen, Director of API Management at Cimpress:
SaaS solutions will provide authorization and API delivery options for businesses who want to bring microservices APIs directly to their customers. It’s no surprise that Amazon, who builds each component of AWS as a microservice directly addressable by customers, is the closest solution I’ve found. You can write custom authorizers that take in OAuth bearer tokens and convert these into access decisions based on IAM policies. This is really slick stuff, but it does require a lot of configuration and customization on the part of the AWS customers. I think the market need is great enough that someday we’ll see a standards-based, resource-aware API authentication and authorization product from Amazon delivered as a first-class, named product, not an orchestration tucked away in a tutorial.
Brian Wood, Director of Cloud Marketing at Teradata:
Prediction 1: Enterprises will become cloud-first in the deployment of all new analytic workloads. IT departments will be expected to default to the public cloud to support any business initiative not considered mere capacity expansion for existing infrastructure. "Use it or lose it" bulk purchase agreements with public cloud vendors will spur enterprise IT departments to blindly prefer cloud deployment location over solution fit, much to their leaders’ eventual regret. The frenzy of meeting short-term budget objectives will trump the measured wisdom of considered planning and strategic investment.
Prediction 2: As-a-service offerings will move up the stack to incorporate a slew of capabilities formerly considered custom to provide increasing levels of commoditization and duplication. Containerization and solution portability will become the new battleground for enterprise IT; vendors having "the best" deployment-specific point solutions will lose out to competitors that can span multiple domains (e.g., public cloud, private cloud, on-premises) with ubiquitous offerings, thereby providing freedom and leverage against lock-in. Advertising claims will soar.
Prediction 3: Hybrid cloud deployment will dominate. Just as organizations have come to embrace the advantages of combining short-term contract workers with full-time staff or recognize the benefits of pairing AI-augmented insights with warm-blooded subject matter experts, enterprises will diversify IT portfolios to match existing, workhorse on-premises systems with agile, cloud-based deployments for all new projects. The empowerment of AND will reign supreme over the tradeoffs of OR.
Chad Meley, VP of Marketing at Teradata:
Public clouds will move from competing on commodity compute and storage to competing on full stack data analytics offerings. AWS, Azure, GCP, Alibaba and other public clouds will aggressively partner with enterprise data analytic vendors to offer high-value solutions optimized for their cloud and integrated with other components. In-house data analytic offerings will become less relevant to large enterprises looking to avoid cloud lock-in.
Hal Lonas, Chief Technology Officer, Carbonite:
More organizations than ever now trust the cloud to be available and secure and meet their business needs. We are seeing how cloud storage and digital modernization becomes increasingly important for business continuity. A very real threat to those assets is climate change. Wildfire, floods and power outages will become more prevalent. It’s better to trust an IaaS provider to provide resiliency across the threat spectrum rather than businesses and organizations attempting to solve this problem by themselves.
Muddu Sudhakar, CEO of Aisera.com:
Cloud providers will buy SaaS apps: Market strategies and approaches are in flux in 2019 and beyond. Even though Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform still hold sway, new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning have opened the field up to other players. Gartner predicts increased IT spending with as-a-service models fueling everything from data center spending to enterprise software. Now a large enterprise can utilize cloud computing services from every vendor and mix-and-match in unique ways. Key growth themes include blending license, subscription and usage models. The big vendors are also upselling customers with computing, cloud storage, and serverless functions to AI differentiators. Companies like IBM are looking to manage AI and cloud services across multiple clouds.
Sekhar Sarukkai, Vice President of Engineering and Cloud Security, McAfee:
On cloud security: Application Programming Interface (API) security will become increasingly important, especially with increased adoption of robotic process automation and the need to secure system accounts used for automation.
Michael Kollar, SVP, Chief Digital Officer and Global Head of Cloud Engineering, Atos North America:
Prediction 1: In 2020, hybrid- and multi-cloud will be all about intentional strategies. Over the past year, major enterprises tried to determine strategy for one cloud, two-cloud and three-cloud systems. The question posed for CIOs was this: How should they use cloud providers and their strengths to enable business strategy? For 2020, the answer pivots CIOs from thinking about experimentation to thinking about intentionality. CIOs will choose hybrid-cloud scenarios that go across the enterprise and its framework. For example, we'll see CIOs investing in two-cloud providers and using them for different but specific use cases. Financial services will choose to employ AWS' strengths in Online Transaction Processing for better user experience, while also utilizing Google for data analytics.
Prediction 2: Infrastructure building will rely more heavily on DevOps that allow continual packaging and deploying updates to code. Over the past four to six years of development in the cloud industry, cloud strategy moved away from waterfall to agile to DevOps. DevOps mandates a different way to develop, package, deploy and support. As developers take a more centric role in the company, there's a need to deploy the infrastructure parts of applications, the application code itself, and then address data integration. The first part we've seen in this growth is the infrastructure pipeline--the ability for the developer, in a programmatic way, to provision and manage infrastructure changes without having to go through formal change control boards.
DevOps is truly a real-time move for the packaging and deployment of infrastructure and related services. Secondly, we're seeing a similar approach where the app developers are building infrastructure related services (including core databases, middleware, app services, virtual machines, EC2 instances).
Prediction 3: We'll see enterprises create standardized ways to orchestrate and manage cloud through APIs. Business services are the underlying elements that make up a business process. For example, order entry is a business process. Underneath order entry a business typically will have many systems taking that order or making that product available. This support means that one would have the raw materials that go into making the product, the build process and the shipping process. Today in the legacy world, a lot of this is hardwired and hard-coded together, so it makes it very difficult to enable a digital transformation or a way to externalize the services the enterprise wants to put on a marketplace for somebody else to consume to drive value. The concept of "API-fication" reflects an enterprise looking at its value statement and creating a technology solution to externalize the way for partners, customers and suppliers to interact with the enterprise in a standardized way that can be orchestrated and managed.
Prediction 4: More edge computing will be integrated into core cloud services. Edge will delve further into the enterprise to the point of manufacturing platforms or systems. What we'll see is more compute and more ability to do analytics and ability to do workflow (i.e. capabilities typically reserved for the data center or bigger cloud hubs) out on the edge. For example, when an airplane engine goes through the manufacturing process, there's typically several areas and quality gates that get checked to ensure the engine is being made to spec. Other than the safety of airplane passengers and crew, a major incentive for quality engines for the industry is cost control. If an engine has a problem, the cost of maintenance goes up and airlines lose revenue because it's out of service.
As edge goes further out, we'll see edge devices taking pictures of engines in the manufacturing line, which will then be compared to images of safe engines working properly. If the images reveal deviations, the issue can be addressed in real-time on the production line rather than later when so much more is on the line. These analytics will be done at the edge and not the data center because the latency requirement needs to be real-time as it moves through the production line. Edge computing will increase quality of the product, increase revenue, decrease costs and increase customer satisfaction.
eWEEK is running a series of 2020 prediction articles through the month of December.