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.
March 7, 2017
Often, other countries are a bit ahead of the curve than we are here in the states. For example, the United Kingdom has just told three of the biggest cloud services providers there, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, to straighten up and fly right when it comes to consumer cloud service offering. It seems the contracts were a bit tipped to the provider’s favor. It had done the same with Google, Dropbox and five other cloud storage providers last year.
All in all, these cloud service providers have had to get a bit more user friendly of late. But with a little history, one could say it is a work in progress. Similar situations exist in other European Union nations as well as in the United States.
One issue deals with any changes to, or ending of, the provision of the cloud service. Up to now, there were no provisions to advise the consumer if things were about to go south with the cloud provider. Kind of like showing up at your cleaners to find a IRS notice on the door and all the equipment and clothes confiscated. With the cloud, there were no provisions to notify the customer of any change in terms, suspension of service or eliminating services. Data was at risk.
On the brighter side, there is a lot of optimism in cloud services. According to IDC, as enterprises across the world increased investment, overall public spending is expected to surge 21.5 percent by 2020, to $203.4 billion worldwide, which is nearly seven times the rate of overall IT spending growth.
Much of this investment will be in software as a service (SaaS), which is expected to remain the dominant cloud computing type, capturing nearly two-thirds of all public cloud spending in 2017 and roughly 60 percent in 2020.
Last year proved to be a bit of a surprise in the growth of the cloud, now that some of the yearly numbers are available. As it turns out, the final number for the cloud market in 2016 topped $148 billon on an annualized basis. And the trends shows no signs of slowing.
The major players such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace and Salesforce all showed significant growth in six key markets: infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), hosted private cloud, enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS), unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), public cloud and private cloud. The table below presents the data in a more detail.
What is interesting is that, in 2016, the spending on cloud services has overtaken the spending on cloud infrastructure hardware and software, according to Synergy Research Group. In aggregate, the cloud service markets are now growing three times more quickly than the cloud infrastructure hardware and software market.
According to new research data from Synergy Research, some of the XaaS segments are showing phenominal growth. The IaaS and PaaS segment experienced the highest growth rate at 53 percent. This was followed by hosted private cloud infrastructure services at 35 percent and enterprise software-as-a-service at 34 percent.
It appears that 2016 was the year that the cloud started to dominate many IT market segments. The coming year looks like it will put the cloud out there as a mainstream platform with most of the barriers to implementation becoming a thing of the past.
January 5, 2017 —
More and more, collaborative data centers are shifting to the cloud. Several big players (IBM, Amazon, and others) are building mega-data centers in preparation for massive cloud services in 2017. By some estimates, 2017 will see 66 percent of corporate workloads processed by cloud servers and centers. Database-as-a-service is expected to increase to 44 percent in 2017. The cloud story in 2017 will be similar to 2016, but at a faster pace and larger scale. That poses a big challenge to enterprises in getting the processes, technology, and people up to speed and able to proceed.
Cloud security is going to become much better in 2017, alleviating many of the fears of corporate cloud users. As well, expect to see more tools to help with that management, especially around cloud service/application governance, including tools that can abstract the end user from the detail.
The cloud will be a challenge in 2017 for those who are not familiar with it. But for those who are, it will be an exciting year.
In spite of the fact that there is widespread use of the cloud, financial and proactive management among business cloud users is in a state of chaos, according to a recent report by Dimensional Research. Nearly 30 percent of business cloud users do not have a management strategy for cloud resources and 82 percent indicate reconciling cloud services bills with finance is a nightmare. That is not a rosy report.
The cloud will become increasing important with the rollout of 5G and the Internet of Anything (IoX), especially with Big Data metrics. Understanding and managing the cloud is going to be critical to business success.
The big problem is that most organizations don’t have a clear and complete understanding of the cloud and a cohesive strategy for managing it. Cloud service use is scattered among multiple departments in many cases. And it is typical to find departments and end-users working in the cloud without IT’s awareness.
Cloud data is becoming of increasing importance to enterprises. Unfortunately, managing the cloud, 5G the IoX will all fall on IT’s shoulders. Where that data comes from, how it gets to the cloud and how it gets managed in the cloud is something the enterprise must figure out, and relatively soon.