2018 Cloud Computing Predictions

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On November 7th, Forrester Research released its list of top cloud computing predictions for 2018. This release is an event in the sense that it gives the public, individual businesses, and technology thought leadership a better understanding of how this important market and area of knowledge is developing.


After all, cloud computing is growing incredibly fast as an industry and economic segment. $219 billion was spent worldwide on cloud services in 2016, per Gartner research director Sid Nag in an analysis released in October 2017.


Also in 2016, software as a service (SaaS) spending beat Gartner’s previous market projection by $48.2 billion. As they say, but wait… there’s more – more growth forecast for cloud moving forward. Gartner estimates that infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), another term for cloud hosting, is currently clocking a head-turning 23.31% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). To get a sense of that percentage rate growth, it helps to look at the historical United States gross domestic product (GDP). From 1948 to 2017, the GDP has grown at an average annual rate of 3.19 percent, according to economic indicator resource Trading Economics.


Cloud computing: market & general predictions


Here are predictions for growth of cloud from that same Gartner report, to keep looking (for a moment) just at the level of market expansion:


  • The total spending figures on cloud services in 2016 will show global expansion at 18.5% – reaching $260.2 billion.
  • Also during 2017, the amount designated for SaaS will rise 21%, hitting $58.6 billion by the New Year.
  • Cloud hosting or IaaS will show an almost ridiculous expansion of 36.6% in 2017. Achieving a total market of $34.7 billion through the end of the year, this segment is faster growing than any other type of cloud solution.


The basic point of the state of cloud and its projected rise is that this field is skyrocketing. However, a stronger takeaway will be the nature of this growth – understanding exactly what is involved, trends, and other forces that are influencing the area. We get a better sense of that broader perspective through highlights from the 2018 edition of Forrester’s annual cloud computing forecast:


#1 – Savvy businesses will become more conscientious about vendor lock-in as many cloud firms will continue to consolidate. (Note that consolidation is particularly prevalent with firms that do not have general hosting packages and other niche specializations).


#2 – Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) firms will offer their services through platforms as well as standalone.


#3 – For those companies headquartered outside of North America, cloud-based platforms will increasingly center their attention on the region, or on the specifications and concerns of a particular sector.


#4 – Open source containerization app Kubernetes will become pivotal for strong cloud environments.


#5 – Many firms will build clouds on-site, accelerating the use of hybrid and private forms of the technology.


#6 – Development of software and platforms will become a greater focus with private clouds as options start to extend more aggressively beyond hosting.


#7 – With the market becoming hotter for management systems, users will be able to get these environments for cloud either piecemeal or as a complimentary feature.


#8 – Fully 10% of traffic will be rerouted to cloud service providers and to colocation, away from carrier backbones.


#9 – Virtual reality or immersive software will become fundamental to increasing speed and generating trackable, sustainable improvements in development of applications.


#10 – The precept of Zero Trust security will near ubiquity within cloud environments as it is accepted as a core best practice. (Zero Trust is a relatively new way, or newly packaged way, in which to understand authentication and security within a site. This rule is sometimes compared to what is supposedly the traditional model for information technology: Trust But Verify. In the IDG publication CSO, security and compliance thought leader Robert C. Covington notes that the established model has been Trust OR Verify. With Zero Trust, the idea is to segment the network into components such as database, web, wireless, and LAN, and then to treat each of them as untrusted despite the fact that they are internal systems.)


Probably the most compelling forecast of all from Forrester is this summary comment: “In 2018, cloud computing will accelerate enterprise transformation everywhere [bold theirs] as it becomes a must-have business technology.”


Top 2018 cloud trends


The above assessment of the market and predictions in terms of how things are changing touched on a few trends, but now let’s look at top trends directly:


Colocation will become more broadly adopted.


IT chiefs are wanting to phase out their internal data centers, notes Clint Boulton of CIO. Some of that business goes to cloud, but a significant amount is being entrusted to colocation.


The use of a colocation center or colo (often a hosting service) makes it possible for a CIO to have its hardware and other infrastructure supported and maintained within a managed environment (which may have the added benefit of easy integration with cloud apps and hosting).


Dave Bartoletti, an analyst at Forrester, explains that deploying a multi-cloud plan is simpler in this context, and that testing different clouds can be as easy as possible without the need to start thinking about migration upfront.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning take center stage.


Cloud environments are developing incredibly based on the insights of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – and these types of systems are available to users as cloud-based systems as well. Tools of this type will make it easier for businesses to analyze their data and make faster, smart business decisions.


Hyperconvergence will be embraced for private cloud.


Some companies, particularly in industries for which compliance is key, are still unsure about moving confidential data and mission-critical services to an outside entity. That remains the case even while many organizations now cite security concerns as a reason to move to cloud. (Thought leaders have suggested that public cloud is generally more secure than on-premise data centers. That belief is reflected in a 2016 survey of 210 information technology leaders. 50.8% of respondents said that the primary motivator behind the migration to public cloud was that the security of the cloud was stronger than in their internal data center.)


Again, despite that shift toward greater trust in cloud security, the risks of having an outside party control the systems that store and access your data can make people feel hesitant – so they turn toward private cloud instead. Putting together a private cloud may be more common now, but it is not as simple as it may sound, says Boulton. It can be challenging and costly to integrate all the necessary components of a strong environment to achieve the ends that we now need in cloud (virtualization, automation, resource tracking, self-service accessibility, standardization, etc.).


In order to make it easier to launch cloud, storage, processing, and networking resources are now prepackaged as hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) plans. When you want to implement private cloud, Forrester suggests HCI, especially in cases for which speed and immediate scalability are paramount. These boxes are making it possible for firms to provision private clouds.


For further conversation about emergent and growing cloud trends, see the second half of this report, “Part 2: More 2018 Cloud Trends“.


The right cloud for your business


Are you considering your business’s approach to cloud for 2018? At Total Server Solutions, we believe a cloud-based solution should be scalable, reliable, fast, and easy to use. We do it right.