The cloud. What does it mean for you? What does it mean for your business? Chances are that your business is increasingly dependent on it, which is why you’ll probably be thrilled with how it will unfold. On the other hand, if your business still doesn’t work with the cloud, you will feel very much left behind.
Because since the pandemic, the cloud has been playing an even more significant role in the way we do business. From employees to development pipelines to delivery, it will be a part of every aspect of your company’s functions.
Are you ready for it? If not, are you at least prepared to pivot to a more cloud-centric company?
Although you probably have a good idea of what the cloud is (think Google, AWS, and Azure), you might be under the impression that it is nothing more than syncing files between mobile devices, desktops, and a remote server. It is, however, much more than that.
You get Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service, among many other services offered through the cloud. There are also public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. So it’s definitely more than just Google Drive.
With it already entrenched in the day-to-day business, what’s in store for it this year? Let’s take a look.
Public cloud offerings will boom.
Expect to see the big guns (Google, AWS, and Azure) continue dominating the enterprise cloud space. But you should expect even more contenders to crawl out of the metaphorical woodwork. These new public cloud offerings will court not only the enterprise’s business but also small- to mid-size businesses and even consumers. Companies like Zoho, Immedion, ONLYOFFICE, IDrive, BackBlaze, and Egnyte will catch fire. These cloud services will help companies bridge the gap between those employees working from home and the needs of the business.
Of course, the major providers will also see significant gains—especially Google, which won’t just offer a cloud-based platform for application deployment, but the means to make it even easier for employees to get their jobs done from remote locations.
Private cloud deployments will skyrocket.
Private cloud deployments and public clouds will see a large spike in usage. What are private clouds? These are the clouds that are only accessible to you and those in your company. These clouds are found within your company (or home) LAN or on private networks dedicated only to specific users and groups (unlike, say, Google, which is accessible by everyone).
Private platforms like Nextcloud and ownCloud will benefit from a significant uptick in rollouts. This is good for the companies that produce the platforms and the users who depend on them.
And because products like Nextcloud are open source, your in-house developers can create apps for private clouds that meet specific needs. Because of this, you might want to make sure you have developers on staff that are up to the task.
Serverless container deployments will increase within cloud infrastructure.
This one is tricky. Why? Because if you ask any seasoned IT admin about containers, they’ll give you a drawn-out dissertation on the pros and cons of this particular technology. Ask those in charge of budgets, and you’ll get nothing but a blank stare.
Containers are a magical trick of technology that, for all intent and purpose, shouldn’t be able to do what they do. And yet, they do. One of the great things about containers is that they enable companies to easily scale their application deployments. And because you can deploy containers from the cloud, it’s a perfect match for enterprise businesses.
And because cloud technologies will continue to expand and improve in the coming year, you can bet that containers will also. That translates to even more (and larger) container deployments. So you’ll want your cloud application development A-game ready for the coming year.
The thing is, however, containers at scale can be a real challenge to deploy at the moment.
Cloud technology will become even easier to use.
Most basic forms of cloud computing (Google Docs, iCloud, Dropbox) are all very easy to use. It’s when you get into the actual deployment of applications and services from within providers that things get a bit complicated. Anyone that’s worked with Kubernetes will understand that immediately.
But this year should go a long way to rid admins and developers of that complexity. With more and more web-based GUI tools, container developers will have to depend less and less on the command line. In fact, by the end of the year, expect to see these types of deployments become so easy that just about any admin (of any skill level) will be able to make use of this technology. That translates to your company being able to get even more out of the cloud.
Disaster recovery strategies will migrate to the cloud.
You know that disaster recovery plan you’ve had on your shared network for a decade? Toss it. This coming year will see every company who knows what they’re doing migrating those disaster recovery plans to the cloud. If anything, the current pandemic has proved how ill-prepared so many companies were for the unknown—especially when said unknown includes having to “exist” outside the boundaries of the company’s LAN.
If your disaster recovery plan only includes localized technology, you are in for a nasty surprise. This coming year, you need to start evolving that plan, so it makes use of public, private, or hybrid cloud technologies.
This might mean you’ll have to rely on your in-house developers to create the solutions necessary to make this possible. But with the right tools, that disaster recovery plan can be designed to include automation, so when the unthinkable happens, you know your company data has been automatically and successfully backed up to one or more clouds.
AI will grow increasingly popular with the technology.
Finally, look for Artificial Intelligence to become more entrenched in cloud technology. AI can do remarkable things. And once it makes its way to the cloud, the automation of manual tasks and solving many fundamental problems, especially in those areas where your company might suffer from a particular skill shortage.
There’s also the rise of AI as a Service (AIaaS), which is nothing more than the combination of a SaaS business model with AI services. The increase in popularity will respond to increasing AI needs and allow companies to see how AI might work without having to pay steep costs to develop their own AI-based solution.
Finally, AI will help make cloud deployments more sophisticated. Imagine being able to quickly deploy chatbots from your cloud that can serve as customer service intermediaries. The possibilities are almost limitless with the combination of AI and the cloud.
There’s no escaping the cloud. No matter how much you want your business in-house, at some point, you will have to accept that it is an incredibly valid solution for so much of what your company does. And if you got it right, you’ll be doing some serious migration to the cloud.