Virtualization Technology News and Information
2nd Watch 2019 Predictions: Shifting Cloud Gears

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Jeff Aden, co-founder and EVP at 2nd Watch

It should come as no surprise that cloud services continued to grow in adoption and popularity in 2018. Of course, nothing lasts forever. And while we're not predicting that cloud services will go away in 2019-far from it, in fact-we do expect that the major cloud service providers will modify their approach in 2019 as competition increases and technologies change. Here are a few ways we believe cloud services will evolve over the next year: 

Beyond "lift-and-shift": In our business, helping large companies adopt public cloud infrastructure, we're seeing an evolution in cloud adoption. Instead of lift-and-shift-the migration of internally-managed IT assets to the cloud-there is a decided move toward lift-and-evolve. Progressive IT and business execs realize the ultimate value of cloud emanates from transforming how they manage and run IT, not just moving data and assets somewhere else. By changing mindset and strategy to take advantage of the cloud's differentiation points, companies can reduce the manual effort of running applications, gain efficiencies from shared resources, and grow flexibility and scalability through automation. Merely moving data and applications from one environment to another will produce minimal benefits in the long run. 

Multi-cloud strategy will evolve: There's so much choice in the market (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) that companies would be foolish to put all their eggs in one basket, and increasingly they are spreading the risk.  A survey by 451 Research found that nearly 70% of enterprises will have a multi-cloud environment by 2019. IT execs don't want vendor lock-in and in some cases, different cloud services offer unique advantages. Some of the advantages of a multi-cloud environment is that by working with multiple vendors, customers can do well in contract negotiations, reduce risk and leverage existing assets. The downside of multi-cloud is that companies need specific tools and skill sets for each cloud platform: time and money. The multi-cloud environment could lead to higher costs, especially if the strategy isn't designed well. CIOs will need to justify whether those higher costs are worth whatever technical, performance and business gains the company is getting in return. This is where we believe companies will have a primary cloud (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) for many of their applications or use cases and secondary clouds for niche technologies or use cases. 

Public and private cloud providers play together: As evidence that public cloud providers are wizening up to the fact that most large companies won't go 100% cloud anytime soon, AWS is expanding its VMware hybrid cloud offering. VMware Cloud on AWS, announced in the fall of 2017, allows VMware customers to extend their environment as needed to AWS, with less risk and hassle. VMware Cloud on AWS infrastructure runs on dedicated, single tenant hosts provided by AWS in a single account. It'll be interesting to see how this type of service plays out for customers, especially if it makes hybrid cloud easier to deploy and manage and less expensive. I expect we'll see more such collaborations down the road. We see many of the use cases and advantages for customers who need the bursting capabilities to scale up or down or require a more vast disaster recovery strategy.

Survey says, automation!: Software-based infrastructure is moving beyond trend to regular practice. DevOps tools such as Chef, Puppet and Ansible do more than reduce human error and the time-consuming manual effort of managing a cloud environment. Automating the provisioning of a website or test environment is valuable because it allows a company to rapidly launch and distribute new features and services over and again, without rethinking security and governance requirements every time. Infrastructure automation tools ensure standardized processes, while also allowing IT to make frequent modifications to configurations and resources. Serverless computing is a hot topic in cloud automation right now, promising to minimize the manual coding burden required to set up and manage cloud resources.

Security gets serious: Okay, security has always been serious, but with the European Union's GDPR rule for personal data protection in full effect, companies have to nail this down. GDPR is just one concern; the popularity of multi-cloud, hybrid environments means that enterprise cloud has become much more complex. Complexity could create gaps, oversights and more avenues for hackers to get inside and steal sensitive data. Cloud security requirements have also gone up as companies entrust more business-critical and customer-facing apps to AWS, Azure and others. These providers continue to mature their security offerings, which is good news. Yet IT departments must work hand-in-hand with their vendors and service providers on security, no matter whom is providing and managing the tools. The best strategy for CIOs is to ensure that team members have a solid understanding of the evolving cloud security landscape.


About the Author

Jeff Aden is Co-founder and EVP of Marketing & Business Development at 2nd Watch.  He has over 20 years' experience in management, sales, marketing, corporate development, product development and business operations. 

Published Friday, October 05, 2018 11:31 AM by David Marshall
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