Wednesday, 15 January 2020

State of the cloud: a look at cloud computing in 2020




Author by Mike Brown

From overcoming security challenges to integrating edge computing into the cloud, to data detectives, here’s what’s in store for cloud computing in 2020.


Cloud Computing in 2020

Although what we now call cloud computing has been around since the mid-2000s, it wasn’t until the last few years that it got the recognition it deserved. It’s currently the fastest-growing sector in IT.

With seven times the growth of the rest of the IT sector, it’s safe to say that cloud computing is graduating from being the future to being the present. What’s more, the ever-evolving, fast-paced cloud computing industry is headed towards more dramatic changes and developments in 2020.

The flexibility, scalability, security, and price of cloud are increasingly appealing to enterprises, and each year more of them are making the jump from on-premises to the cloud.

And why wouldn’t they? With titans like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform working on perfecting their cloud tools, the entire industry is evolving at breakneck speed.


Projected Cloud Infrastructure Growth

2019 was the year cloud hit the mainstream. It was the year when cloud computing exceeded all expectations and predictions.

Cloud adoption rates in the UK have reached 88%, and today five times more North American enterprises rely on public cloud platforms - almost 60% of them. The forecast for 2020 are that the number will skyrocket to 83%.

This fast-paced growth can be explained by the removal of major roadblocks in cloud adoption. Companies are acting quickly to remedy the lack of staff training while the main industry providers are solving the key issues of security and privacy.

Overall, the cloud has come a long way since the beginning of the last decade. Public cloud spending amounted to £60 billion back in 2010, while 2019 saw an astonishing £175.3 billion. With a steady annual growth rate of 18%, the predictions are that by 2023, spending will reach around £385 billion.

For 2020, the industry is focusing on:
  • Enhanced customer experience 
  • Automation, dexterity, and scalability 
  • Cost-effectiveness 
  • Enhanced cloud security  
With that in mind, as well as the ROI that cloud offers, the predicted growth for 2020 and the following years comes as no surprise. But it can only happen if the industry successfully deals with a few key challenges.


Challenges slowing cloud domination

Although it’s the fastest-growing IT sector, cloud computing still has plenty of room to grow and challenges to overcome.

Some of the most pressing matters are security and privacy/data compliance. Also, issues such as the complexity of the migration process and lack of expertise and resources are not far behind.


Cloud security as the biggest concern

Cloud services include technologies, policies, and procedures to protect the cloud infrastructure. Data security and protection sit at the top as the number one concern for 2020 when it comes to developments in cloud computing.

Hacking is still a considerable threat, especially to newcomers to the cloud. That, paired with the fact that there’s a distinct lack of expertise when it comes to this IT sector, is holding back some organisations from migrating services to the cloud.

But that’s expected to change in 2020. Cloud service providers keep developing and improving the virtual machines that are the core of cloud computing as well as artificial intelligence, which automates the processes in an intelligent way.

However, the responsibility to maintain a secure environment doesn’t fall only on the shoulders of cloud service providers. When it comes to running a tight ship and preventing any security breaches, enterprises must take precautionary steps as well.

Multi-factor authentication, monitoring, managing, and tracking user access and activity, cloud-to-cloud backups, hiring in-house cloud security expertise, data encryption, and other measures are steps in the right direction when it comes to security.

As organisations open up and the perception of security shifts, cloud computing training has become a strategic priority for companies to remain competitive in the new landscape.

Serverless computing in 2020

Building on last year’s trend, 2020 will see a rise in the popularity of serverless computing. This is perhaps the single biggest development for the cloud in 2020.

Serverless computing means removing all the fuss that server maintenance and provision demand. By going serverless, developers can focus on the business end of cloud apps.

Despite its name, serverless computing isn’t exactly serverless. It does, however, offer developers an opportunity to create software without having to worry about upkeep and server load. This way, developers have more time to actually develop.

Just like the cloud won people over with its pay-as-you-go model, serverless computing offers similar advantages when it comes to workload and resources management.


Need for serverless computing

The digital economy doesn’t allow for any server downtime and expects real-time response and assistance; in other words, immediate results, and consistency.

But developers have a hard time successfully creating and improving applications while also worrying about things like managing the server infrastructure, its response time, scalability, availability, etc.

Serverless computing cuts operational and development costs. It offers automatic scalability, near-zero maintenance costs, and higher business value. In other words, serverless computing is both cheaper and easier to implement.

Still, it doesn’t mean that we’ll wake up to a completely serverless world anytime soon. Serverless computing requires outsourcing the entire infrastructure - not something everyone is ready for. At least not yet.


Multi-cloud Evolution

The fast growth of serverless computing isn’t the only prediction for 2020. Multi-cloud is another hotly discussed topic entering the decade — and in particular the advent of the omni-cloud.

Back in 2018, IBM published a study that showed that 85% of organisations function in a multi-cloud environment and predicted that that number will rise to 98% by 2021. In 2019, Gartner confirmed that 81% of surveyed public cloud users are working with two or more cloud service providers.

In 2020, enterprises are already using every possible cloud computing service at their disposal -  most are pretty comfortable using Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud at the same time.


All aboard the omni-cloud train

So, enterprises are already on the multi-cloud train. Yet, 2020 will most likely see a more flexible deployment and management of a multi-cloud approach.

In other words, in 2020, the existing multi-cloud will likely evolve into what some are calling the omni-cloud - one superior cloud service that can cater to all the needs an enterprise might have. Every software and service will be individually tailored for a specific task or need. Thus, this omni-cloud will eliminate the need for not only multiple services but also multiple vendors.

Powered by virtual machines and enabled by AIOps, there will be a strong focus on multi-cloud management in 2020. Enterprises are already spreading over the public, private, and hybrid clouds.

However, there will be an increased need for binding them into one infrastructure. The tools for this integration, such as Microsoft Azure Arc, Google Cloud Anthos, and IBM Services for Multi-cloud Management, will be at the forefront of cloud computing in 2020.


Boutique Clouds

The year might also see a rise in highly specialised public clouds. These small “boutique” clouds are trying to win a share from the industry leaders — and it seems to be working. These companies claim to offer better speed and flexibility - which is why a significant number of enterprises might turn to them in 2020.

With a multi-cloud approach, these specialised cloud solutions are able to merge private and hybrid deployments - as well as offer support for massive workloads by offering data centres and assuring a global presence.


Edge Computing 

Hand in hand with serverless computing and further aiding the multi-cloud trend, edge computing will also be the belle of the ball in 2020.

Although edge computing might seem like a step away from the centralised efforts of cloud computing, it is, in fact, the answer to what its cloud counterpart is missing — instant, real-time results.

Edge computing focuses on the local storing and processing of data. It processes data at the source or at least as close to it as possible. That, of course, clashes with the main paradigm of cloud computing - which is by definition done away from the source.

Edge computing has the potential to revolutionise the cloud. Because of local data processing, it allows instant, real-time processing and results with low latency levels. In layman’s terms, with edge computing, there’s no lag.

Although many talk about edge computing vs. cloud computing, both are vital pieces of the upcoming IT infrastructure. Centralised data centres of cloud computing have their benefits, but it’s only logical to move some of the processing to the edge, and take advantage of local processing power. 

Doing so will definitely improve the effectiveness, speed, and overall performance of data storage and processing.


Cloud computing jobs in 2020

With so many new developments in the cloud computing market, it’s only logical that there’s a growing demand for experts with the skills necessary to bring about all these changes.

These jobs don’t all come from the infrastructure providers’ side. Enterprises looking to make the jump and “go full cloud” are also desperately looking for professionals, niche experts, and skillful individuals that will drive more value and make the leap more cost-effective.

Here are just some of the jobs the cloud market is in dire need of:
  • Cloud architects 
  • IoT engineers 
  • Cloud consultants
  • Business Intelligence Analysts 
The future of cloud computing, in terms of jobs at least, lies in positions that are yet to become mainstream. Some examples are edge computing experts, virtual machine managers, and even data detectives.


What the Future Holds

There is no doubt that the decade behind us was one of development. However, the new roaring 20s will surely be the decade of the cloud.

We might not know what the future will bring, but we can make a pretty good guess that it will be automated.

While simultaneously working toward an omni-cloud and the integration of edge computing into the cloud, the industry is quickly moving towards a multi-pronged, automated infrastructure that will use tools and processes to ensure seamless, fast, and efficient provision and management of workloads.

Here are the top developments we can expect from the cloud industry in 2020:
  • Next-level customer service — as the demand for cloud-based apps and tools rises, we’ll probably see a steady boost in customer service that will enable seamless communication, collaboration, troubleshooting, and information sharing between clients and service providers.
  • Cutting-edge cloud management through hybrid automation tools.
  • Fast-paced information processing and the elimination of backlog due to quantum computing.
Cloud computing is yet to reach its peak. Will 2020 see the shift from private to the public sector? Will the industry titans make room at the top for the little guys?

That’s yet to be determined. But one thing is clear — the forecast for the future is definitely cloudy.


Mike Brown is a lead instructor at Firebrand Training. He has more than 20 years’ experience in Microsoft and Cisco-focused certifications. Mike loves working with new cloud technologies and virtualisation. When he’s not teaching, he spends time making videos on Microsoft technologies and writing books on virtualization.




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