Predictions for the cloud in 2020

In what market might the cloud in 2020 be embraced, and could multi-cloud see a surge in successful usage?

Multi-cloud will reign

For SnapLogic CTO Craig Stewart, the need for companies to use an array of clouds for different purposes will mean a rise in popularity for the multi-cloud.

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“The customer has spoken, and they universally want to use the best cloud platform for the job, a clear signal that cloud agnosticism will continue its rise in 2020,” said Stewart.

“Depending on their technology and business requirements, organisations will use multiple public and private clouds for different application workloads, use public clouds together with their on-premises infrastructure, use multiple public clouds simultaneously, and a host of other considerations.

“The key? Integrating their multi-cloud infrastructure so it all works seamlessly together.”

Enterprise tech customers will lose faith in the multi-cloud

While some experts believe that multi-cloud will be highly desired across the board, the co-founder of InfluxData, Paul Dix, isn’t so sure.

He stated that the work required to construct such a system wouldn’t appeal to consumers of enterprise technology in particular.

“I think that in 2020 enterprise tech customers will finally realise that pursuing a multi-cloud strategy is proving to be worthless,” said Dix. “It takes enormous effort and adds a lot of complexity to build systems that can switch between different public clouds for the relatively meagre benefit of hedging against outages and vendor lock-in.

“For tech customers, the goal of hedging against failures is just not meaningful when prolonged outages among major cloud providers, the kind that would require a company to shift operations to another cloud, have been practically non-existent.

“As for avoiding vendor lock-in, it ends up being more expensive for end-users to build the same system in multiple clouds than to build for your cloud of choice and then possibly move to another cloud if the terms or functionality get bad.”

Open source firms will embrace the cloud

While the concept of multiple clouds may not be the driving force that some believe it could be, cloud-based services may be a key method in regards to making money within the open source market.

This is according to Evan Kaplan, InfluxData’s CEO, who said: “The coming year will show that cloud-based applications are the winning monetisation strategy for open-source software companies.

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“While the first generation of companies that developed open-source software tried to use a paid customer support and training model, the last couple of years have shown that to be unsustainable.

“In 2020, pay-per-use, cloud-based services will take hold as the leading business model for open-source companies.

“As enterprises increasingly focus on agility and time-to-value, cloud-based services can deliver speed and scalability for customers that are willing to pay and by extension they offer a source of revenue for software companies that want to develop and monetise open-source technology.”

Approaches to security-related cloud data will change

Security is always a concern in tech, and the cloud is certainly no exception. But what of data that is generated as a result of security processes?

“I anticipate that new approaches to collecting security related data may become necessary in the cloud,” said Steve Cohen, security services manager at Synopsys.

“In addition to application logs, cloud API access will be seen as necessary.

“There will also be a growing focus on centralised logging in the upcoming year. In addition to application security, the cloud management plane will become an additional security layer that needs addressing in 2020.

“Developers, for example, will require access to the management plane to deploy applications. Incorrect settings here could expose the application to security risks as sensitive information flows through it.”

Cloud responsibility will be better understood

Up there with data security in regards to common workforce concerns is a lack of digital knowledge.

However, according to Marco Rottigni, CTSO EMEA at Qualys, education on how to get the best out of cloud tech may take a step in the right direction in 2020.

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“Cloud deployments are getting more and more popular, with providers like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services all offering a range of options for hosting, managing and implementing applications,” he said. “Companies are also looking at multi-cloud and running across different cloud services where locations are available.

“All this depends on the IT security and cloud provider teams working together effectively. However, that is not always the case, as while the cloud providers are clear on what they are responsible for, there have been many cases where assumptions have been made and security flaws discovered.

“Next year, these issues will continue as developers rush to get their applications finished or miss out working with IT security teams on moving services into production. To avoid this, companies will have to take more responsibility for their deployments.

“Educating developers is part of this, but building better DevOps processes that incorporate security tools into the release workflow will be just as important. This will make security “business as usual” rather than an additional headache.”

Serverless technology will be adopted more by developers

While possibly learning more about how to use the cloud effectively, developers could also be about make use of serverless tech more often in collaboration with cloud usage.

Mark Pidgeon, VP technical services EMEA at Sumo Logic, said: “2019 was the year of containers and orchestration – in our Continuous Intelligence Report for this year, we saw Kubernetes adoption going up massively in line with multi-cloud adoption.

“In 2020, we’ll see more adoption of serverless alongside containers to meet specific needs within applications. AWS Lambda is already one of the top ten most used services on AWS, and more than 36 percent of companies use Lambda in their production applications. This use of serverless will continue to grow over time.

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“I think we’ll see more adoption grow as people figure out how they can apply serverless in their own environments, but we will also see developers face up to how serverless is billed and paid for too.

“Alongside this, IT Operations and security teams will have to get to grips with serverless architecture and make sure that all the necessary security, compliance and backup rules are being followed. This will be a big change of mindset, and data will be essential to make this work.”

Moving to the cloud will need more discussion

If a group of industry professionals came together and gave a definition for the cloud, they could all come up with different ways of explaining its meaning.

This could mean that further discussions among the workforce are needed in 2020, including the possibility of other options, according to Richard Blanford, chief executive of Fordway.

“I think 2020 may be the year when the realisation finally dawns that ‘cloud’ is not a single concept,” he said. “It means different things to different people, and saying ‘We need to move services to cloud’ is just the first step in what can be a long journey.

“It may include private cloud as an intermediate step en-route to most organisations’ ultimate goal, which is a small number of integrated SaaS services that deliver everything their organisation needs. Azure and AWS already offer over 600 services between them.

“Organisations looking to move services to cloud need to define exactly what they want to do so that they can find the most appropriate solution – and understand that this may not actually be cloud at all. While cloud is pretty good for most applications, it’s not the best answer to everything and other options are still valid.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.