Cloud trends with a silver lining

Published: February 12, 2019

2018 witnessed an exponential rise in cloud adoption among companies of all sizes, from tech giants to mushrooming startups. With a growing investment of about 36 percent from the past two years, conservative sectors like government 'U.S., Military' and financial institutions embraced cloud as a digital business model enabler of the future.

It is predicted by 2020, 60 to 70 percent of all companies will be investing in cloud-based solutions, especially IT infrastructure, software, and services to lower costs and accelerate IT service delivery. This makes it critical for CIOs and CTOs in 2019 to consider cloud-first strategies to outsource large chunks of IT infrastructure for improved business agility and a safe journey towards digital transformation. Nevertheless, it's imperative to learn how to balance the capabilities of the latest enterprise cloud solutions while remaining focused on security.

Several trends in cloud technology that technologists and decision makers should prepare for in 2019 include portable cloud native ecosystems, security and compliance, accelerated cloud analytics, serverless evolution, and pick your cloud.

Portable Cloud Native Ecosystems

In this software-driven economy, cloud native, an innovative approach to implementing complex and scalable systems, will significantly impact application development in the future.

For faster speed to market, moving traditional applications to cloud environments is critical for greater agility and on demand compute capacity in business. According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation survey, which taps the adoption of cloud native technologies among business communities, there has been an average growth of 200 percent in cloud native technology usage for production since December 2017. With continued innovation in design and construct of applications, companies will extract more from cloud native technologies to customize applications (apps) based on choice of language or framework for business needs. A container-based application platform that supports the right mix of frameworks, languages, and architectures will be essential to aid this.

Containers make it simpler to replicate applications on different platforms and move the workload to the cloud. Further, IT or infrastructure automation eliminates manual IT tasks and accelerates delivery of cloud-native applications.

To succeed with a cloud native environment, companies must essentially refactor or re-platform their applications and adopt containers and orchestration. This ensures faster deployment time, improved scalability, and cloud portability.

Spotlight on Security and Compliance

Cloud has been a shining technology, but its security implications need the attention of technology and security leaders. In 2018 we saw a deluge of enterprise data migrating to the cloud followed by soaring cyberattacks; such as the misconfigured Amazon S3 bucket, which exposed 48 million records with personal data including names, physical addresses, birthdates, Twitter handles, and data scraped from LinkedIn and Facebook. AWS re:Invent 2018 introduced an array of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cloud security system that will leverage machine learning to deliver predictive security products, respond positively to emergent cybersecurity threats, and enhance the security of technology assets.

For industries like healthcare or financial services, such incidents can deeply affect day-to-day operations and outcomes. In an April 2018 post titled, Understanding Cloud Adoption in Government, Gartner predicts that organizations will increasingly turn to CASB vendors to address cloud service risks, enforce security policies, and comply with regulation-even when cloud services are beyond their perimeter and out of their direct control. To ensure compliance, companies must look at built-in controls such as network security groups, identity access management, and gateway network firewalls with innovative computational models such as containers and serverless computing.

In 2019, identifying risk will be on high priority and with General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect in Europe, cloud computing will become highly regulated in days to come.

Accelerated Cloud Analytics

With emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), the information behemoth continues to expand. With large data processing systems and analytics, in 2019, size, scale, and agility will be a priority. It is evident that companies will gradually look at cloud and edge computing to manage the cumbersome heaps of data.

This is where analytics play a pivotal role in storing, managing, and shipping the data to cloud while being cost effective. As data gravitates towards the cloud in 2019, companies will have to shift gears towards a hybrid mode with analytics, data, and applications spread across on premise and multi-cloud environments. Moreover, we will see many cloud-based analytics platforms emerge and deliver new age analytic capabilities to discover, plan, predict, visualize, prepare, collaborate, model, simulate, and manage all leveraging a common data logic.

Evolution of Serverless

We have come a long way, from infrastructure as a service, to platform and software as a service, to serverless computing. This year will pave the way for function as a service or serverless architecture. While we expect traction for serverless computing, its utilitarian nature will boost app development teams for its usability and ease of building new applications. Companies will be able to leverage their own data centers, besides porting serverless apps between cloud providers.

This means that while they run serverless apps on public clouds, they also have the option to do it on their own infrastructure ensuring speed and cost saving. It is predicted that more companies will adopt serverless not just to accelerate development of new cloud-native applications, but also to modernize brownfield, legacy apps.

Pick your own Cloud

An emerging cloud strategy that will gain prominence in 2019 is multi-cloud solutions; one among them being Polycloud. Companies that have essentially been using a single cloud vendor will now use multiple vendors. For instance, companies can now leverage AWS for its machine learning capabilities, and Microsoft Azure to transition to cloud from on-premise Windows servers.

Similarly, more companies adopt hybrid cloud strategies, which combines the advantages of both worlds private clouds with public clouds that offer more flexibility, tools, and deployment options. For example, in a Dataversity post titled, Cloud Architecture and Cloud Computing Trends in 2019, a public Cloud is utilized for high-volume activities, while private, on-premise cloud is utilized for sensitive or complex operations, like bank statement or records. In fact, customers are starting to go full circle and swiftly move some of their critical pieces back in house by setting up private clouds.

According to IDC's 2018 Cloud Computing Survey, manufacturing, high-tech, and telecommunications/utilities are the three industries experiencing the greatest pressure from executive management to become 100 percent cloud based. Thrilling new cloud technologies continue to shape-shift and evolve this year, and with so many exciting solutions emerging, organizations are able to customize a cloud approach in 2019.

The article was originally published on Software Magazine and is reposted here by permission.

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