The tech world is a fast-moving and sometimes unpredictable environment and it is important to stay ahead. What are the key cloud computing trends to watch for in 2019?
Cloud computing has already changed the face of business everywhere, but as cloud technology evolves and customers demand changes, the market must also change. Here are five of the biggest cloud computing trends to watch for in 2019:
1. Hybrid cloud momentum
In October of 2018, IBM acquired Red Hat for $33bn and became, in their own words the “world’s number one hybrid cloud provider.” According to CEO Gini Rometty, it is now “offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS) also released Outpost in November of 2018, making it much more cloud friendly. AWS had always been extremely keen on having every app available in their cloud, but it seems their customers have been sending a different message. Despite the growth of cloud computing, many people will still have applications running on their own data centers. Customers are using multiple vendors, taking advantage of the best options available for each individual workload.
This opens the door to a hybrid cloud market. According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, the Hybrid Cloud market will be worth almost $100bn by 2023 growing at a compound annual rate of 17%. It is driven, according to the report, by customer demand for agile, scalable and cost-efficient computing.
Multi-cloud environments are becoming the default option among many companies looking to provide themselves with maximum flexibility and avoid vendor lock-in. Security concerns with the arrival of GDPR also encourage users to opt for the best and most reliable performer for each workload. Cloud providers are taking note and positioning themselves to offer a much more hybrid cloud-friendly service for 2019.
2. The rise of the service mesh
Microservices are taking the market by storm as companies look to transition from a slow monolithic infrastructure to a much more agile microservice-based structure, allowing them to deploy applications more frequently and reliably. However, as the number of services increase, it becomes more difficult to manage the interactions between them.
Each service must adopt common functionalities to enable communication between them. This is where the service mesh comes in. This is a service layer which handles inter-service communication between microservices. It reduces the complexity involved with handling key tasks like load balancing, health checks, authentication and traffic management. As users increasingly find themselves using third parties to provide this functionality, it will all have to be configured within your application code. Service mesh will become an increasingly common theme as the year goes on.
3. Application networks
A number of providers are investing in application networks which, according to some, could have a profound impact on enterprise software. Multiple applications are coming to market and these are beginning to diverge from one another in terms of how they allow applications to run on their engines.
They solve a key issue for businesses. Technology is spurring rapid change, but capacity is limited. Businesses need to change the way they interact with IT which enhances the need for application networks. Applications networks connect applications and devices through APIs which expose some or all of their data and assets to the wider network.
For example, Unilever adopted Mulesoft to help it power their in-store and online sales. The platform is crucial for connecting their applications both in the cloud and on-premise and across all of their brands.
4. Momentum grows in serverless computing
Fad or future? That seems to be the question people are asking about serverless computing and 2019 may well provide the answer one way or another. While it doesn’t strictly mean removing servers, it does mean developers no longer need to concern themselves with the infrastructure underlying their code. All this is provided by the cloud vendors which improves scalability and resilience.
Serverless computing shifts the cost away from the developer and onto the cloud provider. No longer do you need to be concerned about the costs, admin and risks involved with managing the servers. Now you write the code at the functional level and leave your cloud vendor to decide how much of its underlying infrastructure will be needed to run it. All the biggest providers have serverless applications which are evolving rapidly, but it does come with challenges such as the risk of vendor lock-in. Different providers offer different serverless features and security.
Some executives may dismiss it as a fad, but this is a natural extension of the move towards containerization which sees monolithic infrastructures being broken down into smaller components. Others are moving into this area which is why those who ignore it risk rendering their own applications obsolete in the future.
5. Open source convergence
The open source community has been great for innovation. It brings together a lot of creative and intelligent people unfettered by code or APIs. It helps to speed up innovation and gets new products to market more rapidly, but multiple players can often struggle to take applications to an enterprise level.
Pressures from cloud computing and the rise of big data are putting pressure on the open source development process. Products are starting to converge so that one data management layer can support multiple computing engines. This can satisfy a more demanding customer and deliver faster and more reliable innovation.
2019 and beyond
Innovation spurs more innovation which means each year brings fresh opportunities and challenges. 2019 will see innovative technology coming into contact with users who will remodel it for their own demands. In some cases, this will see providers having to adjust their mindset to account for a changing market. In general, though, we are moving towards an agile, flexible market in which speed and reliability will be crucial to overall success.
Market Research Team, RapidValue