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SolarWinds 2016 Predictions: The Year of the Cloud (again)

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Kong Yang, Head Geek, SolarWinds

2016: The Year of the Cloud (again)

In my opinion, the nearly complete adoption of virtualization, as well as investigation into cloud and other non-traditional compute strategies, is far more advanced than expected at this point in time-particularly among SMBs. Making  applications truly mobile is redefining how companies think about their IT infrastructure.

Indeed, infrastructures that were never considered pliable enough to leave the data center are now being housed offsite. People not only no longer fear this move, but are actually excited about it. Successful implementations of Office 365 drive more companies to consider the move to offsite. The general feeling for portability and software-based configurability of infrastructure is really beginning to take off.

With that stage set, here are a few of SolarWinds key predictions for 2016.

The Silver Lining Gets Brighter

As discussed, cloud is no longer the next big thing, it's well past the height of its hype-cycle. In 2015, it truly became just another tool in the toolbox. More importantly, management came to trust it in terms of availability and security, and budget managers discovered the "Joy of Elastic Scalability"-the flexibility to scale up or down as required.

With step one of cloud under our belts (migrating existing applications running on local hypervisors), IT is embracing and trying to enable ubiquitous and on-demand services, the real opportunity of cloud. Today, we spend billions on packaged application licensing, and, although we can easily scale instances to meet demand, that's not necessarily true of the apps running in those instances.

In 2016, we'll see more and more businesses looking to leapfrog the model of apps simply running in the cloud-they're already migrating to fully managed services like Amazon RDS and Azure SQL, and away from private Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL boxes. Next year will bring further experimentation with cloud native database systems, queues, communication brokers, distributed cache and other foundational cloud technologies. The possibility for paying for only what you eat is too attractive to pass up.

Breaching the Silver Lining

For all its benefits, the cloud is not an impermeable fortress (after all, what is!?). Thus, it's almost a foregone conclusion that during 2016 a major cloud service provider will become victim of a significant breach that will have a huge impact on the full range of businesses that rely on them.

The consequences of such a breach will be amplified due to the fact that so many businesses have been so keen to move to cloud services so quickly that many haven't invested enough time and money into security protocol and data encryption. Therefore, with cloud vendors connecting so much data, it's just a matter of time before it happens-and we find out about it.

A Word on Containers

Containers, from players like Google, Docker, CoreOS and Joyent, have become an important part of the cloud discussion. Organizations across all major industries, from finance to e-commerce, want to better understand what containers are, and how they can best be used for IT operations. This growth in awareness, and the success of disruptive webscale companies like Google, Amazon, and Netflix have led to increased evaluations in IT organizations to try and glean some differentiated value from integrating containers.

Put simply, a container consists of an entire runtime environment (an application, its dependencies, libraries and other binaries, and configuration files needed to run it) bundled into one package. This move to containerization puts pressure on the ability to understand what tools are available (e.g. Kubernetes, Chef and Puppet), as well as how they can be best implemented.

Containers - essentially an entire runtime environment bundled into one package - have become a key area of discussion in the cloud computing space. However, most businesses are still in the dark about which tools are available and how they can be implemented.

Throughout 2016, containerization will continue to mire in the education phase and organizations try to better understand how to best utilize them for their applications and services. Organizations, while able to experience container services as a reaction, need to better understand that there is an event that has been detected as a trigger. While some may be reluctant to adopt containers due to a familiarity with virtualization, containers are much more lightweight, and use far fewer resources than virtual machines. Arguably, containers can be seen as the key to the OpenStack kingdom.

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About the Author

Kong Yang is a Head Geek and senior technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds, an IT management vendor based in Austin, Texas. With over 20 years of IT experience, he is passionate about the entire IT ecosystem, but with a particular focus on virtualization and cloud management, as well as qualifying and quantifying results to support organizations' bottom line. He is a VMware vExpert and Cisco Champion.

Published Friday, November 13, 2015 8:55 AM by David Marshall
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