Blue skies ahead for cloud computing as tech giants seek clout

Blue skies ahead for cloud computing as tech giants seek clout
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
13 Feb, 2018

Cloud computing seems to be the future as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google grow their cloud solutions and services to drive adoption in enterprises, institutions and government organisations, which in turn look to bolster productivity and efficiency of their products. 

AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM, Alibaba and others are already in a race for different cloud solutions to capture a larger share of the market. As a result, multiple cloud solutions have emerged, such as public, private and hybrid on one hand, and SaaS, PaaS and IaaS (Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service, respectively) on the other. 

Here are five trends you can expect in 2018: 

1) Huge growth in cloud services and foray into multi-cloud

Enterprises have already warmed up to early cloud solutions such as SaaS because of the flexibility and the savings on offer. According to a paper released by US tech giant Cisco, cloud solutions will see unprecedented growth, with SaaS accounting for 60% of all cloud-based workloads in 2018 - a 12% increase over 2017 predictions. By 2020, 74% of the total cloud workloads will be SaaS workloads, with IaaS accounting for 17% and PaaS 8%, the paper showed.

"Businesses that want to simplify operations and make it easier for their customers to access services will move more aggressively towards integrating SaaS, IaaS, and/or PaaS into their business processes," Marty Puranik, founder, president and chief executive of Atlantic.net, a hosting solutions provider in Orlando, said.

But according to Craig McLuckie, one of the developers of Google Cloud's Kubernetes platform and Heptio chief executive, 2018 will be the year of multi-cloud strategies. “Most enterprises now have workloads running in the cloud, and many are starting to evaluate who their second cloud provider will be,” McLuckie was quoted as saying by The Enterprisers Project -- a community of chief executives that discusses the future of business and information technology. 

Alessandro Perilli, general manager of management strategy at Red Hat, had also said that it is quite natural for enterprises to move to a multi-cloud, multi-vendor strategy. “Start by managing each vendor individually – most companies start in this way – for a quick return on investment, and to build up the expertise necessary for the next phases,” Perilli said.

2) Cloud solutions will see increased storage

Need for more space in cloud solutions is a no-brainer as enterprises look to shift more operations and workloads onto the cloud. 

Puranik said owing to the demand, cloud service providers will have to come up with more data centres with huge storage abilities. According to the Cisco paper, data centres will have stored data to the tune of 370 exabytes with global capacity seeing a scale of 600 exabytes. It also predicts that hyperscale data centres will grow from 259 in number at the end of 2015 to 485 by 2020. They will represent 47% of all installed data centre servers by 2020, it said. 
Puranik also said that this storage movement will help some business to take advantage.

"While data centres’ owners move to increase available storage, forward-thinking businesses will be able to take advantage of that space to further their objectives. For example, businesses that work with Big Data will use this increased space to store large data sets, perform analytics on them, and harvest valuable insights into areas such as customer behaviour, human systems, and strategic financial investments," Puranik wrote in tech media firm IDG's Network World. "For small businesses, increased storage capacity means that 2018 will provide custom storage options at far lower prices than were available in 2017." 

3) Shift from cloud adoption to cloud optimisation amid security challenges

As more and more enterprises adopt cloud solutions, service providers will move to optimise solutions rather than keep harping on adoption. 
“Optimisation will appear in many different dimensions, including cost, multi-cloud governance and management, and data optimisation,” Jeff Budge, vice-president of advisory consulting and product management at OneNeck IT Solutions, was quoted as saying by The Enterprisers Project. 

However, the increase in cloud adoption could also lead to hackers targeting cloud infrastructure.

"We expect 2018 will see more individual and state-sponsored attacks aimed at undermining the security of cloud infrastructure. As cyber attackers become more sophisticated, security analysts in government, public, and private sectors will also have to become more sophisticated and timely in their methods for detecting and preventing attacks," Puranik was quoted as saying by Network World.  

Last year was a reminder of how difficult life can be in face of cyberattacks such as WannaCry ransomware, the US’s CIA Vault 7 hack, and the Equifax data breach.

4) The rise of 5G and proliferation of Internet of Things

As more and more enterprises and organisations start using cloud solutions, more and more data will be generated. And this data will need to be accessed quickly by employees of businesses who have adopted cloud solutions.

"Enhanced network quality will increase consumer expectations for highly-responsive, fast-loading services and apps," Puranik was quoted as saying by Network World. "Savvy business owners will move quickly to re-evaluate and upgrade their SaaS, PaaS, and website platforms to be more responsive. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything industries will also benefit from faster network speeds by allowing organisations in this space to receive and deliver data more efficiently in real time," 

He added that Qualcomm Snapdragon has been spearheading the efforts of fully transforming mobile networks to 5G (fifth generation).

Because a lot of enterprises are adopting cloud solutions, the cloud system will eventually need to collect data from millions of devices using the enterprises' product. Google already has a new service called Cloud IoT Core in the beta stage that provides a secure way to ingest and collect data from millions of globally dispersed devices coupled with Android Things. Microsoft Azure also provides an IoT platform for its cloud solutions.