Predicting the future of the cloud and open source

According to Gartner, spending on public cloud services worldwide will grow by 23% this year to reach $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020. More interestingly however, is that in line with such explosive growth, adoption of open source has also increased dramatically. GitHub, the repository hosting service, found a year-on-year growth of 40% in open source project creation between April 2019 and April 2020, and Aiven’s own 2021 research echoed similar findings. Out of those surveyed, 85% of enterprises already used open source in their organisation, and more than 90% of developers believe open source will be an important part of their business post-pandemic.

It’s clear that open source is gaining substantial momentum, but what’s coming next for the industry? Below are three predictions of what we can expect to see from the cloud and open source in the next few years.

How edge computing is intertwined with open source

Thomas Di Giacomo, president of engineering and innovation at SUSE, explores how edge computing is intertwined with open source. Read here

1. Adoption of open source will continue to advance

The growth we saw throughout 2020 has set the pace for open source adoption to soar throughout the remainder of this year, particularly as cloud services continue to permeate our society and facilitate digital transformation. Meanwhile, any barriers blockading the widespread adoption of open source are being met with innovative solutions from industry leaders, opening up a pathway for open source ingenuity.

For example, one of the biggest concerns around open source is security. To overcome this barrier, tech giants such as Microsoft, Google and IBM have launched the Open Source Security Foundation – hosted by the Linux Foundation – to implement initiatives and protocols that will improve security in the industry. The foundation will initially focus on issues such as security tooling, digital identity attestation and vulnerability disclosures.

The open source community has also started to dedicate time and effort to resolving some of the world’s most life-threatening challenges. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the open source community quickly distributed data to create apps and dashboards that could follow the evolution of the virus. Tech leaders like Apple and Google came together to build upon this technology to provide an open API that could facilitate the development of standard and applications by health organisations around the world, and open hardware designs for ventilators and other critical medical equipment that was in high demand.

During lockdown last year, the open source community also launched projects to tackle the climate crisis an increasingly important issue that world leaders are under ever-more pressure to address. One of the most notable developments was the launch of the Linux Foundation Climate Finance Foundation, which aims to provide more funding for game-changing solutions through open source applications.

2. Cloud will evolve

The huge growth of public cloud infrastructure over the past 18 months has been driven by the rapid adoption of public cloud usage by organisations throughout the pandemic, much of which can be attributed to the business agility benefits associated with cloud and digital transformation. As a result of such growth, I’m interested to see what innovative strategies from the likes of IBM and OVH arise to challenge industry leaders like AWS and Azure, both of which most likely will continue to dominate the market.

Equally, other digital technologies will continue to flourish. Dependent on where sensors are able to be placed and what data can be collected, solutions like IoT and smart devices will grow exponentially over the coming years as investment soars to mirror the growth of digital developments. Going forward, it’s safe to assume our smarter and more connected world will require advanced analytical capabilities to quantify the masses of data being collected in order to produce actionable insights.

Establishing a strong network monitoring strategy

This article will explore how organisations can establish a strong network monitoring strategy, to ensure that connectivity and vulnerabilities are quickly mitigated. Read here

3. Demand for made-to-measure databases and managed services will grow

As well as analytic tools, the influx of data will also mandate made-to-measure databases. Of the current options available, time-series databases are already one of the most popular and fastest-growing and will remain secure in its place until the end of this year.

Similarly, as digital transformation trends pick up more speed and organisations continue to adapt and evolve to the changing landscape, managed service providers will be an increasingly popular option for those that want to maximise the potential of open source and cloud solutions without implementing themselves. Avoiding the time, money and effort involved in installing and maintaining these technologies will allow businesses to focus on what they do best while supporting them in managing their data.

An eye to the future

In accordance with the rise in adoption of cloud and open source, a combination of investment, expertise and demand will push open source and cloud technologies in an exciting direction. As industry leaders tackle barriers to progress, the open source community can continue to develop futuristic solutions to modern problems. With the right infrastructure in place and the resources to drive innovation, technology will continue to serve as a platform for life-altering developments.

Reliance on solutions like cloud and open source throughout the COVID-19 pandemic highlights that businesses no longer opt to implement digital technologies out of preference but require them as a fundamental aspect of their day-to-day lives. The value technology has brought to businesses and societies throughout this period is substantial, and will remain very much front of mind when businesses look to undergo further digital transformation throughout the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

Written by Heikki Nousiainen, CTO of Aiven

Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice consists of the best articles written by third parties and selected by our editors. You can contact us at timothy.adler at