As we look ahead at the 2020 tech trends in store for cloud it would be tempting to speculate on where the cloud industry might be headed even further ahead in 2030 (AI-Cloud, IOT, Blockchain, Space Cloud Computing, etc). However, I intend to keep my feet firmly on the ground, with more modest trends that are closer to home.
1. Apps modernization first
With cloud moving into mainstream adoption, I now predict a shift to an application modernization-first approach. By this I mean that organizations wanting to benefit from cloud no longer look to ‘lift and shift’ legacy applications because this doesn’t provide the immediate benefit of cloud. Rather, an application modernization-first approach allows them to refactor, revise and rebuild applications to deliver rapid benefits. I expect to see organizations increasingly looking for Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers on this journey.
2. Managed DevOps at scale
My second prediction for 2020 is about ensuring DevOps is enterprise ready. DevOps remains an important trend and its maturity is increasing. In fact, most of the organizations I collaborate with express a wish to move to a DevOps model for managing development of at least part of their applications landscape. Keeping in mind that not everything will be delivered through DevOps, IT teams will be operating two streams in a hybrid model—old-fashioned managed application services and DevOps. To be enterprise ready in this two-speed IT world, DevOps cannot be an isolated activity. I predict emergence of a hybrid mode of operation to keep consistency and quality of services at the applications landscape level.
3. Multi-cloud on the rise
Organizations are increasingly seeing the benefit of a multi-cloud operating strategy. This has the potential to lower the risk of cloud provider lock-in. It can support specific functional requirements that a business unit may have, while providing service resiliency and migration opportunities for sourcing. Of course, these are on top of the core cloud benefits of agility, scalability and elasticity provided by each cloud provider. Choice is not only critical in terms of the freedom to choose the best services for their business, but it’s also about leverage. While organizations continue to rely on private clouds, they are also seeing that innovation can be enabled only by public cloud for agility and cost reasons. In a recent survey, the median number of public clouds per organization stood at two—with some respondents having more than five. I expect this median of two to increase in 2020 as public cloud solutions compete and ultimately drive the industry as a whole forward with the innovation that will differentiate vendor offerings.
4. An end to public cloud risk fears
Public cloud is safe. The headlines might scare you into keeping data within your firewall, but in reality the public cloud is now the safest place for your business. In future, it may be the only option and I expect early concerns about security to subside in the coming years. A recent Forrester report predicts that “business and government purchases of public cloud infrastructure, platform, and application services will reach $411 billion by 2022.” It further asserts that while growth rates will slow by 2022, “cloud will remain the growth engine for the tech market.” One factor driving this growth is the heavy investment by the big public cloud vendors in security and compliance. In a nutshell, they typically have much bigger budgets for this aspect of cloud than any private cloud vendors.
5. Cloud native is the New Wave – enabling innovation at scale
Cloud native application development continues to grow—as I predicted last year. For 2020, I expect cloud native innovations and renewed focus on security to reshape cloud management and drive innovation at scale. As confidence in public cloud solutions grows, so will the volume of cloud native apps on the market. I expect AI and Machine Learning to push innovation towards cloud-native development. On the other hand, concerns around the 5G network/landing zone maturity for Internet of Things and edge computing are likely to mean that cloud-native innovation in these areas won’t accelerate at the same rate.
6. Container and serverless become the new norms
Containers and serverless are transforming the way we architect applications, enabling a faster, more scalable way to bring ideas to market. Given this kind of impact on the business, the speed at which they are being adopted should come as no surprise. Virtual machines (VMs) are being replaced by containers and serverless technologies and I expect this to increase in 2020. In a recent survey, over 60% of respondents said they were on their journey to containers/cloud native. Over 43% of their environment will be running containerized applications within 18 months. Both serverless computing and containers enable developers to build applications with far less overhead and more flexibility than applications hosted on traditional servers or virtual machines.
We have always enjoyed the quote ‘never make predictions, especially about the future.’ Nevertheless, entering a new year and a new decade it’s hard not to. I think the predictions above are fairly safe bets but, equally, we are sure the speed and scale of change will be faster than we have predicted.