Multicloud strategies reached new levels of adoption in 2018, with a recent survey from Virtustream finding that 86 percent of enterprises are turning to a multicloud approach. But despite considerable adoption, multicloud’s prominence is likely to grow even further in 2019 as organizations try to avoid vendor lock-in, granting themselves greater flexibility in deploying the most relevant cloud technology across different departments and functions.
While a multicloud approach offers the added bonus of improving ROI, the aspects that are most appealing to enterprises are increased performance and autonomy. A multicloud approach permits organizations to deploy a mix of cloud apps to suit their needs across the business, while at the same time technologies such as Kubernetes can be used to containerize and deploy applications across different cloud providers when necessary.
1. The Shift from Automation to AI in the Cloud
The increasing size and complexity of cloud deployments mean that IT teams must now pay careful attention to where and how the cloud runs. As such, there has been a widespread shift to the automation of monitoring, resource allocation and troubleshooting within the cloud.
Upscaling this automation of processes into true, adaptable artificial intelligence is the next step, one that will likely take hold in 2019, arising from the fluid nature of cloud use. The rise of a multicloud approach, alongside the fear of vendor lock-in, has resulted in less static cloud strategies, meaning businesses will need to embrace adaptable process automation in order to sustain multicloud infrastructures.
Concepts such as autohealing are of undeniable value to any cloud team, but without truly adaptable AI, it will be increasingly difficult for them keep up within the shifting complexity of the cloud landscape.
2. Major Public Cloud Providers Will Differentiate
In some ways, 2019 will be business as usual for the major public cloud providers. The current Infrastructure as a Service model is well entrenched in today’s businesses, and providers welcome any new technology that drives CPU and RAM consumption.
However, with multicloud becoming the norm, the major players will have to prove their worth to an enterprise’s IT strategy more than ever before. To do this, major cloud providers will look to differentiate themselves based on their strengths. For example, Google will likely focus on its AI credentials, while Microsoft will zero in on its workload migration capabilities.
This differentiation will be important for the incumbents as it could be the year they come under increasing pressure from other public cloud players. IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat signals potential competition in the cloud space, while companies outside the U.S. continue to improve their capabilities locally, undoubtedly with an eye on international expansion.
3. Businesses Will Seek to Manage Containers at Scale
Almost universally, businesses have realized the value of containerization. The challenge in 2019 will be to progress beyond the early adoption of containers toward using them to manage larger-scale deployments.
As larger vendors look to improve and differentiate their own products with specific capabilities, expect smaller, niche players to be snapped up for their expertise.
In general, we are likely to see the computing landscape continue to fragment, adding to the competition among cloud providers. Technologies such as serverless computing will likely play an increasing role throughout 2019. Moreover, it’s also likely that open-source serverless solutions will begin to compete for broad acceptance in the developer community, shaping the future of that technology ecosystem for years to come.
4. Challenges Remain for Cloud Deployments
Challenges still remain for businesses attempting to deploy cloud effectively, especially as complexity increases. It seems probable that the trend of creating Lego-like building blocks to help standardize and bring more order to cloud stacks will continue, particularly as businesses realize the benefits of the continuous integration/continuous delivery approach, which the current pace of cloud innovation demands. To cut back on disruption with each new implementation as development teams seek to fine-tune software, businesses should look to tap open-source technology. The commercial benefits of this approach are also clear, as it allows teams to more readily pinpoint changes in productivity as a result of software implementations.
5. Are We Still on the Edge of Hype and Reality?
Edge computing is taking off. Given the increased number of devices connecting to the cloud, the ongoing trials of the technology and the growth of 5G, it’s expected that 2019 will see more mature edge deployments. The new 5G standard will be one of the strongest factors driving deployment, with its improved reliability compared with 4G opening up an infinite number of new uses. It will allow businesses to understand and apply data collected at the edge in near real time. Multi-gigabit-per-second speeds and 1 millisecond latency will also ensure more data than ever can be farmed off and used in wider, crowdsourced intelligence.
While edge computing will be one of the differentiating technologies to take us into the next frontier for a fully connected world, proof of concept will be a key factor in demanding improved solutions from cloud providers to ensure edge is both effective and financially viable before it starts revolutionizing the likes of wearables, cities and robots.