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WANdisco 2021 Predictions: As 2021 rolls in, the forecast calls for multiclouds

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

As 2021 rolls in, the forecast calls for multiclouds

By David Richards, Co-founder and CEO, WANdisco

At the end of last year, I gave my predictions for how this year would play out. Little did any of us know that 2020 would be one of the most surprising and challenging years in generations, and with the pandemic, protests and social upheaval that it wrought, our models for working and technology would shift fundamentally. The year 2020 did more than push us off course. It rewrote the map entirely.

But for those of us focused on the big-picture, one of the most fascinating things to take note of this year wasn't a collection of aberrations but rather the increase of speed for forces already in play. 2020 hit fast-forward on the adoption and advancement of cloud technologies, and the impact of this will continue into 2021. AWS will warm up to multicloud (to a degree), there will be more competition among cloud service providers (CSPs) for apps rather than storage, and changing attitudes on how and where people will work and live will be supported by the cloud. In addition, we're beginning to see an increase in social media regulation from a source that might have seemed unlikely a year ago.

AWS will soften its view on multicloud but it won't go all in.

AWS will tone down its previous hardline anti-multicloud stance but we won't see a sea change. Enterprises increasingly want to move data to an alternative cloud and maintain data in their existing cloud. AWS will start to recognize that customers who have selected a CSP will also select a second and third to adopt a best-of-breed approach. Amazon will make the pitch for their apps for machine learning and serverless compute, for example, and allow other CSPs access to those but nothing further. 

Cloud storage will become commoditized. Competition for apps will increase.

Cloud vendors will be concerned less about where data resides, and have more financial stakes in what's being done with it. As the cloud becomes more about apps and less about storage, there will be a commoditization of the storage layer and more competition on applications and services. As enterprises migrate data from on-prem to the cloud, they are looking to move the data directly into apps, such as Snowflake and Databricks, to perform analytics faster rather than into storage first.

Where people live increasingly won't restrict their work opportunities

In 2020, companies were forced to shift their policies and become open-minded about the concept of remote work, and 2021 will usher in a democratization of the playing field. With the exception of very specific job functions, there will be a permanent post-pandemic shift to geographically-agnostic work with a massive shift in commute culture and real estate closely following. The underlying shift in cloud infrastructure is already well underway to meet this new reality.

Calls for social media regulation will come via advertising pressure, not government.

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Protection Act became a reality. It feels like a lifetime ago but in the months since, calls for social media regulation have not become significantly louder. Companies have begun to simply pull ads when there is an issue rather than waiting for regulation to come from the government. Twitter has started to fact-check and self-regulate, but Facebook, it seems fair to say at this point, has all but abandoned regulation and protection in favor of ad revenue. If Coca-Cola and a dozen similar companies were to pull their ads to put pressure on Facebook and other social media companies, we might start to see a response. But until that happens, we should not expect regulation to come from any other source. Only advertising, and the all-mighty dollar, will move the needle.

2020 proved beyond a doubt that life is unpredictable. As we emerge from the pandemic in 2021, we will start to see something of a return to normalcy but we'll also find ourselves in a new place with increased multicloud use, powerful cloud-based apps, fewer work restrictions based on geography, and increased calls for social media regulation from advertisers. Whatever happens next year, let's hope that it's a bit less unpredictable than 2020.

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About the Author

DAVID RICHARDS - Chairman, President, CEO & Co-Founder

David Richards 

Since co-founding WANdisco in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led the company to rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded WANdisco to a successful listing on the London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE) and shortly afterward brought about the acquisition of AltoStor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco's first products for the big data market. David holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Huddersfield. In 2017, David was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in recognition of him being a champion of British technology and a passionate advocate of entrepreneurship.

Published Monday, December 14, 2020 11:02 AM by David Marshall
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