Last year saw a good deal of traction in cloud acceptance. In fact, cloud acceptance is no longer an issue. The only real question (we are talking commercial here, not consumer) is which strategy to implement (public, private, hybrid) and how to best employ it. That is still a top concern for the enterprise and other commercial segments.
2018 will bring some clarity to the above conundrums. It will also see on-premise and hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI) become cloud components/competitors. Therefore, my best prognostication is that the trend of mixing and matching cloud options will be what we see in 2018, with on-premise and HCI jockeying for places in the ecosystem.
Industry experts expect that private and hybrid clouds will gain importance in 2018 and we will see the acceleration of these cloud computing segments, as well as more experimentation with HCI. The momentum that the public cloud has had, over the last couple of years, will slow somewhat. Most of the major Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) public cloud vendors have spent 2017 clarifying various hybrid cloud strategies, and are aiming for 2018 to be the year of adoption.
Businesses are finally beginning to see the value of cloud architectures. It has been a slow warming. The benefits of cloud housing versus on-premise data centers are multifold – lower costs, fewer management requirements, agility, flexibility and better security. These benefits present a compelling argument for business.
Speaking of security, the cloud will benefit from some trends this year. For example, the implementation of the European Union’s General Data and Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will take effect in May of this year, updates the 20-year-old data protection policies in Europe. This updated version gives individuals new rights to access information that companies collect and keep about them. It also updates the standards by raising the bar for data management, including harsh penalties for those that do not comply and integrating more and better security service providers. If the United States follows suit, cloud security will ratchet up a few notches to prevent incidents such as the Equifax breach and similar security leaks, and adoption rates could move even faster.
Cloud Platforms Tailored for Individual Industries
An interesting vector will develop out of the multi-cloud platform. The multi-cloud environment will provide a cornucopia of cloud environments tailored to better serve particular industry segments. Translated, that offers the ability to match differing workloads to cloud platforms tailored for performance and cost-efficiency. I think we will see that concept get some attention in 2018.
Mixing and matching cloud platforms has a lot of merit. Many industry sectors have unique needs, demand certain capabilities or must comply with various regulations. It makes sense that such applications would be optimized if they had availability of cloud platforms tailored to the individual industry.
Some of these individual industries include healthcare, government, finance and transportation. They are specialized verticals that would benefit from a higher level of industry specificity. I think we will see a significant push for this type of segmentation in 2018 due to the widespread use of containers, a relatively new application for cloud ecosystems. Containers allow applications to run in any infrastructure environment. Container apps and plugins come from companies such as Terraforms, Jenkins, Docker and Artifactory. As organizations continue to containerize their applications and optimize their app-dev pipeline, container orchestration and management will be integrated into private and hybrid clouds.
HCI Reaches for the Sky
Finally, HCI will be big in 2018. Some say it may be the key to halting the massive migration to the cloud. That is something we will have to watch to see exactly where these cloud alternatives end up.
HCI is an interesting concept, one might say the fast track to integrated infrastructures. HCI models implement a streamlined methodology for the deployment, management and scaling of datacenter resources – anywhere. Essentially, HCI is a turnkey package that integrates the server and storage resources with intelligent software as a software-defined solution.
HCI is capable of managing separate servers, storage network/arrays as a single hyperconverged solution. This creates an agile, scalable datacenter capable of maximum flexibility and adaptability. Since this solution is virtual, hardware can be anywhere and of any type. Clustered HCI nodes run hypervisors with HCI control features running as separate virtual machine on every node. This forms an extremely flexible, fully distributed fabric that can scale resources with the addition or subtraction of nodes.
There are not a whole lot of distruptors in the cloud. What 2017 did was to bring a clearer vision of cloud issues to light and begin to offer a slew of new solutions. Cloud apps and environments are evolving to where they can offer a variety of solutions for nearly ever use case.
However, that can be a double-edged sword. First of all, it can be confusing to cloud users. Having a myriad of choices is good; however, there is the peril that competition among solution providers can lead to “misalignment” of user needs and solution options. Users need to be sure they are getting the right solution. Public, private and hybrid clouds
Second, solutions need to be proven. Things like HCI and containers can be hyped beyond reasonable expectations. While they are not all that new, they are still in the rather early stages of implementation in cloud, or cloud- competitive environments.
Third, comes security. While there is an awareness of security issues, some cloud providers are not at the top of the food chain in security. Again, Equifax is a prime example of that. 2018 promises to bump the security issue up the food chain but how that will really transpire is yet to be seen.
Overall, expect the cloud industry to see significant growth and adoption in 2018. But the prudent user will do their homework and keep an eye out for new or nagging issues.
Well folks, that’s it for 2018. I would challenge my readers to hang onto this and come 2019, we can see just how this all turned out.
Executive Editor/Applied Wireless Technology
His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. Ernest’s client list has included Lucent Technologies, Jones Intercable, Qwest, City and County of Denver, TCI, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and other businesses. His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner, and a life member of the IEEE. He has been certified as an IBM Certified OS2 consultant and trainer; WordPerfect Corporation Developer/Consultant and Lotus Development Corporation Developer/Consultant. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.