With 94% of enterprises now using the cloud1, it’s hard to believe that most companies have been wary of ditching data centers until recently. Cloud computing has fundamentally changed the way in which businesses operate and service their customers, and it’s continuing to evolve. Here are five trends that will shape the face of cloud computing in 2020:
1. Multicloud & Hybrid Adoption Will Accelerate
Public cloud vendors would love it if their customers ran everything on One True Cloud, but enterprises don’t see it that way. They want to avoid vendor lock-in and enjoy the ability to run individual workloads in the cloud best suited to them. They also need to keep some workloads and data on-prem due to compliance mandates, dependency on legacy line-of-business applications that aren’t feasible to run in the cloud, or both. These are just some of the reasons why 84% of organizations reported having a multicloud strategy in 2019, and 58% were running hybrid environments, up seven percentage points from a year before.2
Because multicloud and hybrid environments offer so many benefits to organizations, we can expect their growth to continue through 2020 and beyond. That’s why Google introduced Anthos, a hybrid and multicloud management solution, earlier this year.
2. Containers Will Enter the Mainstream
Google began using containers long before they were cool; in 2014, they were starting up over 2 billion of them per week!3 The rest of the world took more time to realize the many benefits of containers, including their speed, scalability, operational simplicity, and platform independence, but once containers took off, they exploded in popularity. In 2015, the flagship containerization conference KubeCon attracted only 550 attendees; this year, over 12,000 people filed in.4
Containers are no longer a niche technology, and they lend especially well to the multicloud and hybrid environments preferred by today’s organizations.
3. Kubernetes Will Solidify Its Position as the Standard for Container Orchestration
As organizations rush to implement containers, they’re choosing Kubernetes to manage them. Kubernetes adoption skyrocketed from only 27% in 2018 to 48% this year.5
If there remained any doubt that Kubernetes is the industry standard for container orchestration, it was erased in November when Docker sold off its container platform. Buyer Mirantis stated that Kubernetes would remain “its primary orchestrator going forward” and that it planned to incorporate Docker’s products into its Kubernetes tools.6
Enterprises have embraced Kubernetes for some of the same reasons they’ve moved to containers. Kubernetes is platform-independent, so it can manage clusters across a company’s entire environment, both on-prem and in multiple clouds. It also abstracts away the complexity of container management, and IT personnel like abstraction (see below).
4. The Democratization of AI
IDC predicts that by 2022, 75% of enterprises will be using AI solutions to analyze data and glean actionable, innovation-driving business insights.7 AI also plays important roles in IT process automation and delivering better customer experiences (such as chatbots). Organizations that do not harness AI and machine learning tools are doomed to be left behind by forward-thinking competitors.
There’s little reason not to adopt AI and ML solutions. Access to pretrained ML models, plug-and-play AI building blocks, and end-to-end AI pipelines such as those offered by Google Cloud Platform have democratized access to AI and ML by abstracting away much of the complexity. Non-data scientists can tune and deliver ML models without having to work directly with the underlying algorithms, negating the need for special training in statistics and ML or familiarity with specialized ML frameworks such as Tensorflow and PyTorch.
5. More Automation & Abstraction
A severe shortage of skilled IT workers, worsened by historically low unemployment rates, means that companies need to make the most of the precious developer resources they have. They don’t want them bogged down in tedious maintenance tasks, nor do they wish to have them waste time debugging and reworking their code because of infrastructure conflicts. Look for cloud management and other IT tasks to be increasingly automated away throughout 2020, as well as greater levels of serverless, containers, software-defined hardware, and other technology that speeds up development and time to market by abstracting away the underlying infrastructure.