As the calendar turns over to 2020 in a few weeks, you can count on a few things: college football on New Year’s Day, gyms packed full of people promising that this is the year they’ll stick to their resolutions, and cloud providers continuing to improve their product offerings as they compete with one another for customers.
Look for these six key trends to play out as the cloud continues to evolve in 2020.
Trend 1: More Organizations Move to Multicloud
This trend ramped up in 2019, and I expect it to continue in the new year. In years past, most enterprises moved resources to one public cloud hyperscaler and parked them there for the long term. But these days, organizations are increasingly realizing that different cloud providers are better fits for different workloads. Many organizations that begin 2020 with only a single public cloud partner will end the year with two or more as they diversify their IT environments and give themselves additional flexibility.
Trend 2: Containerization Continues
We’ll continue to see high levels of interest in cloud-friendly container technologies like Kubernetes in 2020. By containerizing workloads, organizations can make their applications much more nimble, giving them the flexibility to rapidly shift resources to new environments. This goes hand in hand, of course, with the growth of multicloud environments.
As IT administrators look to move resources from one cloud to another, containers give them a way to do so without having to dramatically rewrite their applications. By having workloads in easy-to-move containers, organizations also put themselves in a better negotiating position with public cloud providers, who realize that containerization makes it much more feasible for organizations to “take their ball and go home” — or, in this case, go to a competing provider.
Trend 3: Hyperscalers Increase Service Offerings
As more organizations move to a multicloud environment enabled by containerization, public cloud providers will scramble to gain a competitive edge. More and more, this is happening around services, rather than price. It’s impossible to predict exactly what the big hyperscalers will offer in 2020, but expect to hear about new services throughout the year.
Trend 4: Private Cloud Remains Strong
Once organizations have containerized their applications, they can make more deliberate decisions about where those applications should live. And as organizations get themselves into a more agile space through containerization, many may well decide that certain workloads are better off running in-house.
For instance, a company in a highly regulated industry might be faced with demanding compliance requirements, and it may take public cloud providers some time to adjust. With containerized applications, organizations can simply pull relevant applications back into their corporate data centers and run them in their own private clouds.
Trend 5: Cloud Software Moves to Cloud Infrastructure
Large Software as a Service (SaaS) providers are starting to rethink their (up until now) fairly common strategy of running applications on large, private data centers — and are beginning to move their applications to infrastructure in the public cloud. Essentially, these SaaS companies are asking themselves the same question that organizations in all industries are asking: “Do we really want to be in the data center business?” And increasingly, the answer is “no.” Every dollar and hour a company spends buying and managing things such as generators and battery backups is a dollar or hour that they could instead spend improving their software.
Trend 6: Providers Renew Commitment to Security
For several years after the public cloud first emerged, many companies were reluctant to move resources out of their data centers simply because they didn’t trust anyone else to protect their sensitive data. Over time, as public cloud providers have proved themselves trustworthy and earned compliance certifications, many of those concerns have fallen away.
But recent breaches have led to renewed pressure for hyperscalers to step up their security game. In 2020, it would not surprise me to see new security evaluations put in place, along with automated remediation tools that can spot and shore up vulnerabilities in real time.
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