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Multicloud, bare metal, cloud at the edge & more: The top considerations for the cloud market in 2020 and beyond

(Image credit: Image Credit: Rawpixel / Shutterstock)

Within the next 12 months, 83 per cent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud. By 2021, enterprise spending on cloud services, hardware and software is expected to more than double to over $530 billion.

This rapid growth in cloud adoption presents many opportunities for IT professionals that are able to predict where the market will go next, prepare their organisation to take full advantage of the cloud, and keep up with the pace of change. As cloud environments gets more complex and diversified, IT departments will continue to look for new ways to manage and secure their infrastructure.

In order to prepare for 2020 and beyond, here are the top six considerations that cloud market IT professionals need to be prepared for.

Multicloud management

By 2020, over 90 per cent of enterprises will use multiple cloud services and platforms. However, only one-third of these organisations will have established mechanisms in place to operate their multicloud environments.

Expect the next year to bring a higher focus from cloud providers on multicloud communication, integration and management. One of the most important areas of focus will be multicloud security management as enterprises look to secure a cloud architecture with an increasing number of access points. Integrating multicloud environments and facilitating the management and monitoring of all cloud services and solutions from a single dashboard will be critical for allocating IT resources and maintaining security.

From a user standpoint, communication between disparate cloud platforms will be crucial to creating a seamless experience and an efficient flow of data. These integrations will also allow for deeper analytics and the ability to gain more valuable insights and reporting.

Cloud at the Edge

Increase in cloud services and solutions

The number of cloud services and solutions has risen steadily over the past decade. Organisations looking for more cost-effective solutions that are easier to deploy and can scale with their business needs have driven the expansion of this market.

As more and more services and solutions move to the cloud, businesses are now looking to the same source to help solve the infrastructure problems that arise. According to Gartner, the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market is predicted to grow to $72.4 billion by next year.

IaaS allows organisations more flexibility in their infrastructure and solve many of the issues that arise when trying to build an infrastructure that can keep up with a company’s growth. With more cloud services moving to the edge, IaaS also offers more flexible deployment options and the ability to manage the entire infrastructure from a single, smaller IT department.

Increase in latency sensitive workloads

Traditionally, applications that require a lot of computing power avoided the cloud due to potential performance issues. Now, cloud computing has reached the point where more latency sensitive applications and technology are making the move. Applications like gaming, AR and VR will now be offered as completely cloud-based solutions in the next year and could move entirely to the cloud in the near future.

Earlier this year, Google announced Stadia, a completely cloud-based streaming gaming platform. Stadia will allow gamers who were traditionally tied to a single console to stream across any device for a seamless and completely flexible gaming experience.

This trend will continue over the next year as more cloud solutions are released that take latency sensitive workloads to the cloud. These solutions will require cloud environments that can adapt to the rising application demands of gaming platforms, VOIP infrastructures, trading platforms, facial recognition and more.

Cloud security

It may seem obvious that an increase in cloud usage will require an increase in cloud security. Unfortunately, many organisations have been slow to adapt. Half of businesses don’t have the skills necessary for proper cloud security.

Luckily, businesses are starting to recognise their largest blindspots when it comes to cloud security. In the next year, cloud security will become a high priority as businesses look to secure their increasingly cloud-based networks. Cloud security priorities will be:

  • Data loss prevention capabilities: With cloud data storage still a primary element of the cloud market, securing sensitive information will remain a top priority past 2020.
  • Identity and access management capabilities: As companies adopt a multicloud approach, there will be an increased focused on identity and access management to ensure access from any cloud services and solutions doesn’t present a larger security risk.
  • End-to-end encryption: Cloud services moving to the edge requires companies to make use of end-to-end encryption to secure their data where it lives.

Kubernetes and bare metal

While interest in container management systems has been present for 4-5 years, Kubernetes, a relative newcomer in this space, quickly outpaced the competition. With a brilliant design that offers resilience, extensibility and ease of use, it is now the de-facto technology for hosting distributed systems.

Kubernetes is also levelling the playing field among service providers’ plans, as it provides self-managed alternatives for many of the PaaS services they offer, enabling a portable environment for simple or complex application stacks through its Helm charts and Operators. This helps avoid cloud provider lock-in and should increase cross-environment workload mobility.

At the same time, and perhaps driven by the increasing use of containers and Kubernetes, bare metal is regaining some of the lost ground. Modern bare metal IaaS providers, like Bigstep or Packet, provide higher performance, lower latency, increased stability and security, in comparison to VM-based clouds, while still providing the same flexibility and on-demand models.

It remains to be seen how fast the adoption of Kubernetes will take place and how cloud providers will adapt to the increased commoditisation of compute resources. Expect the next year to include an accelerated transition towards containers and a diversification of vendors, especially for platform services.

Serverless services

Another interesting trend to keep an eye on is the use of Function-as-a-Service, as opposed to the monolithic or microservices-based architectures. By further breaking down an application to individual functions, and having those executed directly by the cloud provider, FaaS brings about better scalability and cost efficiency. This paradigm still has a way to go before reaching mainstream adoption but there are already some niche uses, such as in machine learning pipelines or IoT.

Cloud vendors will be offering more and more platform services, including machine learning as a service, queueing as a service, and more. These will reduce the developer’s concern area to just the glue, the code that binds all these services together.

FaaS should be the ideal platform for developers. However, it will take a few years for this to materialise, as we currently lack any kind of standardisation. This makes developers weary to develop fully-fledged applications using a cloud provider’s FaaS. Kubernetes-based FaaS (such as OpenFaaS) should help the adoption of this paradigm while providing portability, but this additional level of complexity on top of an already complicated distributed system will probably make sense today only to the most advanced architects.

Preparing now for 2020 and the expected changes over the next several years will help give your organisation a competitive advantage and ensure you are ready for the rising demands and opportunities of the cloud.

Alex Bordei, VP of Product, Bigstep (opens in new tab)

Alex Bordei, VP of Product, Bigstep, a top bare metal cloud provider. Highly technical, he has 10+ years of experience in building cloud products and an MSc in Computer Science.