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The Future of Cloud Computing: Serverless, Edge, AI, and the Control Plane

Posted by Jacob Ben-David on Mar 17, 2020 12:51:42 PM
Jacob Ben-David
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After the extensive review of the history of cloud computing over the last two decades, it is time to shift our gaze from the past into the future. In this post, we will examine and predict where the industry is heading in 2020 and beyond.

In case you missed them, you can read the three parts of ‘The History of Cloud Computing’ blog series below:

A look into the future

There is no doubt that digital transformation and application modernization will be the main drivers of many of the technologies and trends we will see in the upcoming years. As the cloud computing space continues to evolve with high velocity, we can expect the following developments:

  • IaaS will grow, but “Serverless” services will surpass IaaS –IaaS will undoubtedly grow over the next decade. Gartner predicted that in 2020 alone, the IaaS market is expected to “grow 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019” – however, services such as Azure Functions/Lambda, and Fargate will eventually be embraced by more organizations. These services enable users to focus on innovation without the need to manage and maintain the underline infrastructure. Although fully managed services are deemed expensive when compared to self-service options such as IaaS, the costs, however, can be offset by the reduction of extra costs associated with infrastructure management and maintenance.
  • Edge Computing use cases and adoption will expand – Solutions such as AWS Outposts, AWS Wavelength (for 5G networks), and Azure Stack will allow users to bring the compute closer to the data. This will address the single-digit-latency requirements of some applications, as well as address data sovereignty concerns, which prevent some organizations from adopting the cloud.
  • New Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence Solutions will emerge – The ML/AI services offered and leveraged by cloud vendors will enable more solutions and startups to appear faster than ever before. Many of the startups that were recently acquired offer ML or AI-based solutions, and large ISVs are adding AI / ML to their portfolio through acquisitions.
  • Cloud Costs will remain a significant pain (and cloud vendors will release more tools) - As cost became a major pain to cloud users in the early days, all cloud vendors invested significant time and money in releasing native tools and various discount mechanisms. These tools were useful enough for new users, and they helped to identify the "low hanging fruit" of cost optimization, such as idle VMs or unused cloud elements (IPs, ELBs, etc.) However, they still failed to address the biggest fear of sizing and impact on application performance. This trend of cloud providers releasing more cost reduction tools and discount models is expected to continue.
  • The next big battle will be on the control-plane – As seen throughout 2019 and early 2020, all leading cloud vendors released the first iteration of a multicloud control plane tool (sans AWS), for example, Google Anthos, Microsoft Arc, and VMware Tanzu. The future is multicloud and hybrid, and applications will be portable and containerized - controlling the applications wherever they will live will be the 'holy grail' for many cloud vendors and ISVs.

2020 State of Multicloud

The predictions above are based on my own opinions. However, a few of the predictions were influenced by insights gathered from our comprehensive annual market survey, the “2020 State of Multicloud” report, which you can download here. This interactive report contains insights from over 900 industry executives and professionals.

For example, the report showed that nearly 50% of organizations are leveraging or planning to leverage edge computing in the next 18 months. Still, respondents also believe that the complexity of managing highly distributed services and data will be the primary barrier to adoption.

The report provides thought-provoking insights into the current dynamics powering the digital transformation strategies of many organizations as well as their plans for the future. The survey covers cloud adoption, digital transformation, and application modernization efforts involving containers and edge computing. Make sure to download the report by clicking the image below:

2020 Multicloud Cover

After reading the report, I feel confident that we are living in the most exciting time in the history of technology, and that the future of cloud computing is looking brighter than ever before!

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Topics: AWS, cloud migration, multicloud, Azure, Cloud, cloud management, multi-cloud

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