Major Cloud Developments in 2017

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Over the past few years, cloud computing has become an increasingly central topic in discussions of top IT trends and concerns. The technology was one of the main points of focus of the Forrester report “2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer.”


Forrester’s discussion notes that while cloud computing has been an extraordinarily powerful cross-industrial disruptor, it also is no spring chicken. Cloud, now entering its second decade, is “no longer an adjunct technology bolted onto a traditional infrastructure as a place to build a few customer-facing apps,” notes Forrester. Software, platforms, and infrastructure “as-a-service” have been refined and perfected to meet a complete range of business needs, from mission-critical backend programs to customer mobile apps.


2017 will usher in further expansion of the cloud. Enterprises already had adopted various clouds prior to 2017, but the commitment to a multi-cloud ecosystem will only increase this year, suggests the report. CIOs will be challenged by management and integration of various clouds between customers, employees, affiliates, and vendors.


Since the organization, control, and administration of these technologies will be a growing concern for IT leaders, they will turn to networking, security, and container solutions to better facilitate easy management.


Public Cloud Outpaces Previous Forrester Forecast by 23%


At the essence of the notion that a particular approach or type of system deserves your attention is that it causes disruption, as noted above. As far as the cloud goes, its disruptiveness will remain unchecked at least through 2020, according to Forrester principal analyst Dave Bartoletti in ZDNet. Bartoletti adds that this will be the first year in which enterprises really start making a seismic shift to the cloud – fueling the market like never before. The result is that the total size of the public cloud market worldwide will hit $146 billion this year, by the industry analyst’s numbers, rising from its $87 billion scope in 2015.


Forrester does not see cloud plateauing this year either, though. Calling the technology “the biggest disruption in the tech market in the past 15 years,” the business intelligence firm forecast last year that the amount spent on SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and cloud business services would rise at a 22% compound annual growth rate from 2015 through 2020. The $236 billion size of the market that Forrester now estimates for 2020 is 23% larger than an earlier report from the company. Plus, the Forrester researchers now predict a more expansive transition to cloud from legacy software, platforms, and services.


3 Reasons Business Can’t Ignore Cloud


To demonstrate how critical cloud computing has become, Bartoletti offers three reasons business can’t ignore the technology:


  • Pay-per-use is just one way to buy cloud. 2017 will see a greater focus in the industry on shaping more diverse payment models: pre-paid, on-demand, reserved capacity, and enterprise agreements.
  • More lifting and shifting. Cloud migration will become simpler with better lift and shift functionality. With massive infrastructure-as-a-service providers offering a lift and shift approach to transfer systems into their environment, this method is becoming more prevalent.
  • Challenges remain with hybrid cloud networking. Hybrid cloud is now deployed heavily throughout industry. However, says Bartoletti, “it will take a long time for most organizations’ networks to be able to seamlessly connect into hybrid cloud management and orchestration tools.”


In this climate, it’s necessary to establish clear plans related to software-as-a-service and private cloud. Furthermore (and as indicated above), the management capacities for security, networking, and containers, as well as hyper-converged infrastructure, are becoming important areas of expertise for CIOs in 2017.


7 More Central Cloud Developments


That advice Bartoletti gives is what he seems to consider the most salient aspects of a broader list of major cloud trends that was constructed by Forrester called, “Predictions 2017: Customer-Obsessed Enterprises Launch Cloud’s Second Decade.” In an overview of the report, Forrester enterprise architecture analyst Charlie Dai hits some of the same points covered elsewhere with some to-do items for 2017 before outlining the developments:


  • Solidify your 2017 private cloud and software-as-a-service plan (and really now extending it through 2018).
  • Get informed about how your technology options are changing with innovations in containers, networking, security, and hyper-converged architecture.


Here is the remainder of the 10 cloud developments for 2017:


  • Private clouds will become more prevalent as hyper-converged infrastructure is adopted more aggressively.
  • The so-called “megaclouds” (SAP, Salesforce, Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM, etc.) will become less dominant as growing competition and differentiation based on service and niche opens up the market.
  • Expensive, heavy, and complicated private cloud suites will become less popular.
  • Software-as-a-service will become more customized and distinct in the needs that it meets.
  • Cloud development worldwide will hinge heavily on Chinese companies.
  • Cloud management and platforms will be heavily impacted by greater use of containers.
  • Security will become a more standard tie-in with cloud service offerings.


Additional Forrester 2017 Predictions


Let’s branch out to a little broader context and look at the company in which the cloud finds itself; what other technologies were highlighted by Forrester in its 2017 Predictions? The other areas of tech that Forrester covers in “2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer” (with the cloud subsection covered above) are artificial intelligence (AI); the internet of things (IoT, which is heavily dependent on cloud); and virtual and augmented reality:


  • Artificial intelligence: The report points out that users have provided an extraordinary amount of data about themselves to companies. “From a customer’s point of view,” says Forrester, “that is OK (sort of) if the company uses that same data to deliver valuable, personalized experiences.” However, data is locked in numerous environments, and companies are generally not integrating with one another for more complex insights. This year, AI integration will soar, brought about by a stronger demand for knowledge about user behavior via mobile, IoT, and wearables.
  • The Internet of Things: The internet of things is growing astronomically as companies have begun to realize its potential to drive revenue. However, the manner in which IoT is being applied is unstructured – since the industry is still taking shape. Use cases, protocols, standards, programs, and equipment are highly varied. During 2017 and leading into 2018, the IoT is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Modern microservices will underlie internet of things plans, which will extend across cloud servers, gateways, and edge devices. IoT devices are security concerns, though: they can be hacked and turned into DDoS slaves.
  • Virtual and augmented reality: Following the ascent of Pokémon Go, Forrester is doubling down with its predictions for the continuing rise of virtual and augmented reality. The analyst lists three key insights relate to VR and AR: 1.) IT costs and power will keep getting more manageable; 2.) Developers will keep working with an array of tools, leading to innovative approaches; and, 3.) Since there aren’t “best” applications or use cases in this field, the market will experience a gradual and systemic evolution that is carefully strategized.




Do you want to be better prepared for the Age of the Customer? As with the other technologies highlighted by Forrester, you don’t just need a cloud platform. You need the fastest, most robust cloud platform in the industry. Your cloud starts here.