It was always hard to predict trends in computing, and this one about the state of cloud computing in 2020 is no different. But we’ll be taking the point of view of the businesses, and they, by and far, do not jump to novelties.
And it’s only a month or so until 2020. comes, so let’s delve into cloud trends we expect to take place next year.
Among all the 2020 cloud trends, this one is perhaps the easiest to predict – it is a logical continuation of the path computing infrastructure has been on since even before the first public cloud had emerged.
This is the logical next step in lessening the burden of Ops teams and moving to DevOps.
First, we had virtualization and virtual machines and Ops had to maintain these, along with installing, configuring and maintaining all virtual servers and do the same with services and apps. Then we moved to the cloud and suddenly Ops didn’t have to bother with virtualization and hardware anymore – they could concentrate on installing, configuring and maintaining virtual servers, services, and apps.
Soon, some services were also virtualized – preconfigured configurations for databases, messaging systems, monitoring setups and identity and authentication services were offered and that was one less thing Ops had to worry about. They were left with installing, configuring and maintaining computing nodes on which their apps were running, and connecting all that to the services needed.
The next step was to offer virtualized platforms for your apps – pre-configured computing nodes where you only need to add your code to get the complete infrastructure for your shiny new app. Now the Ops lost their traditional role and started to merge with the Dev team as most of the new infrastructure could be simply programmed into being.
Then, it turned out that we mostly don’t need the entire virtual server, with its OS and virtualized hardware to be able to run our app – the lightweight version of the virtualized server appeared in the form of containers.
This, on the other hand, enabled the use of microservices and our applications became more modular (and more complex, some would say). Modularity brought the new development paradigm – we could now separately upgrade functioning parts of our app without the need to upgrade the entire app – no more downtime.
Kubernetes, developed by Google, is now turning to be the tool for orchestrating containers. The benefit of Kubernetes is that you can easily use them on your premises and then if you need to, migrate it to the cloud.
2. Serverless computing
Serverless offers even more compartmentalization for our apps – now it is possible to break our apps into even more granular parts and we only need to provide code snippets for these. These code snippets run ‘somewhere’ – in separate containers already set up with correct libraries and language runtime and methods to communicate with each other. Now, not only Ops (sorry, DevOps) teams have less job, but Devs as well – they do not need to write interconnecting fabric code anymore – it is already in the serverless infrastructure.
And you only must pay per invoking those specific code snippets. How great!
As some inherent problems with serverless (like sustaining the load and slow startup times for those functions that are not evenly used) are being solved, and development tools and simulators are being improved, we predict that more things will be migrated to the serverless platform, bringing more rapid development and cloud utilization.
3. Hybrid clouds
There’s always one ‘little’ obstacle for many of them to fully embrace cloud – the notion that ‘someone else’ is entrusted with our sensitive data.
Enter the hybrid cloud. Now you can have your own private cloud within your premises and easily connect it to the public cloud. You can now keep your sensitive data at home and have everything else in the public cloud. And you can easily connect your data and apps at home with data and apps on the public cloud.
Hybrid cloud provides another advantage – you can ease the transition from on-premises setup to full cloud solution, and we predict that more and more stuff will migrate this way to the cloud. Now, you can start with the private cloud infrastructure connected directly to the public cloud and gradually move parts of your system from local infrastructure to the public one. You can now utilize the power and flexibility of the public cloud with the security of the on-premises infrastructure.
4. Everything mobile
As the mobile-first trend started dictating the entire digital landscape, it is no surprise that cloud trends follow suit. The standard tool for almost every worker in most of today’s businesses is, actually, a smartphone. Although built initially to provide voice communication on the go, a modern mobile phone is usually a smartphone which is used more and more by us but less and less for talking to others. And since this piece of technology enables us to work away from our offices, the apps needed for our businesses are being adapted to support this mobile crowd.
This need for apps to be adapted to work with mobile phones presents requirements that are rather unique: they have to fully function in an office as well as somewhere across the world. And they must work 24/7 since we cannot care about their availability in the working hours only, as we could before when we accessed our apps only from desktops within the office premises. These requirements are all satisfied with cloud infrastructure and most providers already offer services tailored for the mobile world. And we’re not talking about our custom apps but those standard set that almost all of the office desktops have: office suites.
5. Big data, AI and ML
The proliferation of cheap computing and storage power in the cloud is enabling more businesses to collect and utilize enormous amounts of data and try to put them in good use (good for the said businesses, at least – right, Google?). You can now easily and cheaply collect, store, filter, organize and analyze petabytes of data in almost real-time. That way you can benefit and improve your business, better understand your business, optimize your processes and provide new services and products to your clients. It’s not strange that big data analysts are in the large demand these days. Most cloud providers already offer enormous storage space and tools for big data analytics. All you need is someone who can know how to organize that data (said data analyst) and start to reap the fruits of all those bytes that were unused before.
Utilizing AI and machine learning for improving businesses and offering better services have been identified for some time. These specifically benefit large datasets needed to train them, so if you have those, it is easier than ever to use cloud services to build AI and ML apps and train them. More businesses move towards such solutions as they can improve their products and services and reduce costs.
6. Cloud security
Clouds are being used by more businesses than ever to run their IT infrastructure. This is not limited to commercial apps offered as products, but internal infrastructure as well. Hence, the need for better protection and security of data on the cloud is needed. Cloud’s ‘shared responsibility security model’ reduces the attack surface that your IT security department is concerned about as those parts that are now under the management of the cloud provider are also its responsibility, security-wise.
But since the cloud is a great marketplace for new products, one can find these days more security-related products and services geared towards cloud protection than ever before and this trend will only grow further in 2020. Almost every security tool and product that was available for on-premises systems before has now been ported for use with cloud infrastructure, and more security-related businesses offer their services based on the cloud infrastructure. You can also easily integrate those products with those intended for on-premises infrastructure in one unity, which is very good for the hybrid cloud setups.
What cloud trends do you expect to happen in 2020?