Cloud in 2020: 5 trends you'll see in the months ahead

Is your enterprise prepared for the year of edge, automation and industry-specific clouds? IBM's general manager of Hybrid Cloud Services looks at what you can expect in 2020.

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cloud

2019 was a banner year for cloud computing. The area that gained the most ground was hybrid multicloud, which emerged as the favored strategy of enterprises looking for a flexible and efficient way to move their workloads to the cloud while reducing costs, boosting productivity and avoiding vendor lock-in. Those advantages are so significant that hybrid cloud is now estimated to constitute a $1.2 trillion market opportunity.
 
That momentum will accelerate further in 2020 as businesses in all sectors use hybrid multicloud strategies to rapidly roll out applications that accelerate the digital transformation of their businesses while delivering exceptional experiences to their customers.

At the same time, enterprises will increasingly turn to advanced encryption and protection solutions to ensure that their clouds remain secure in today's threat-rich environment, and they'll embrace emerging technologies like edge to extend their technical footprints. They'll also begin to adopt automation tools to make it easier to keep their complex cloud ecosystems humming along.

Let's dive deeper into five trends that we expect to see in the year ahead as enterprises continue on their cloud journeys.

1. 5G will enable more enterprises to use edge as part of a hybrid cloud strategy 

Edge computing, where computations are performed as close to where the data is generated as possible, is in many ways is the next chapter in cloud. Retailers will benefit from faster updates on consumer buying trends, factories will be able to perform predictive maintenance on equipment that's about to fail, cellphone carriers will be able to support mobile gaming and augmented reality.

5G is a critical element as more enterprises look to incorporate edge as part of their hybrid cloud strategies. Hybrid cloud will continue to serve as an aggregation point for the most relevant data and back-end functions, while the edge can support analytics and other core functions in real-time where the data is created and actions are taken. 
As the key enabling technology for edge, 5G delivers the higher speeds and broader bandwidths required to cut data latency to the bone. As 5G deployments begin to hit the cellular airwaves, hybrid cloud ecosystems will increasingly take advantage of opportunities to perform computations at the edge. The resulting innovations are projected by the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report to contribute as much as $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years.

2. Automation will dominate the next phase of hybrid multicloud 

Companies are adopting hybrid multicloud strategies at a rapid clip, taking advantage of the flexibility to move mission-critical business applications to the environment of their choosing – public cloud, on-premises or private clouds. Indeed, hybrid cloud is a $1.2 trillion market opportunity and nearly 80 percent of IT decision makers see it in their future. 

However, the very advantages of hybrid environments – including resiliency, scalability and support for a broad variety of applications, APIs and data types – means they are by nature complicated. More enterprises will be looking for ways to manage this complexity as they find themselves using multiple clouds, and this will be a make-or-break part of their cloud strategy. The upshot is that automated tools – including early offerings that incorporate artificial intelligence -- will emerge in 2020 to help manage this complexity. 

Along with increasingly automated tools, dashboards that provide a big-picture overview of cloud operations will become an important tool for administrators. This will enable enterprises to tune their environments, putting the right workloads in the right place, controlling costs, and managing security keys and encryption effectively. 

3. Security ‘command centers’ will proliferate as part of hybrid cloud strategies

Some 60 percent of IT decision makers rated security as the most important attribute in selecting a cloud provider, but this remains a complex issue to manage within hybrid multicloud environments where data is dispersed across many environments.

Next year, we'll see more tools emerge that can uncover security insights and respond to incidents faster via dashboards that help centralize operations. Traditionally called a security operations center, having one command center will be critical. And this is a space that is evolving quickly.

The emergence of DevSecOps, where security is integrated into the development process itself, is another indication that a more connected security ecosystem is in the cards for 2020. 

4. More adoption of industry-specific clouds

As organizations turn to the cloud, they're looking for solutions that serve the needs of their specific industry. For highly regulated industries in particular, this means features that offload the burdens of compliance. According to a recent study by Thomson Reuters, financial service organizations, for example, deal with an average of 220 regulatory updates per day—and 71 percent of firms expected that number to increase in the next year.

The financial-services-ready public cloud launched in 2019 -- which Bank of America will use to host key applications and workloads to support its 66 million banking customers – provides both an important proof point and a useful template that other industries will follow. 


Ecosystems will have to target particular markets, because it's very hard to be generic. So there will be more of a focus on delivering industry specific value and addressing industry specific requirements.

Global research from IBM shows that only 40 percent of organizations today have the skills and strategy to manage a multicloud environment. Here, industry specific clouds help organizations by shielding them from the complexities of their cloud infrastructure and architecture. Perhaps that's why, according to a recent survey, 61% of respondents said that one of the biggest benefits of adopting industry cloud services was ease of management and administration.

5. Open source tools will proliferate to make Kubernetes more consumable

Open source technology is having a profound impact on cloud. In 2019, enterprises turned to open source software to modernize their infrastructure and accelerate their adoption of hybrid multicloud. In 2020, developers will focus on tools that can support rapid deployment of applications, which their businesses need to stay at the cutting edge of digital transformation.

This means widespread uptake of the continuous delivery paradigm, where organizations embrace the DevOps philosophy of rapid builds, tests and deployments. The continuous delivery model is growing in tandem with the increased development of cloud-native applications built from the start to be deployed via containers and Kubernetes

For example, as more people move to Kubernetes and OpenShift in 2020, they will start adopting technologies like Red Hat Operators to become an integral part of the Kubernetes ecosystem.

In sum, as we look ahead, enterprises will have a growing palette of options at their disposal to facilitate workload management, speed application deployments, ensure maximum security, exploit additive technologies such as edge, and more. Indeed, the brave new cloud world of the decade that's about to begin will deliver value, resiliency and responsiveness that could only be dreamt of just a few short years ago.

Jim Comfort is general manager, Hybrid Cloud Services & Portfolio Strategy for  IBM Global Technology Services.

 

2019 was a banner year for cloud computing. The area that gained the most ground was hybrid multicloud, which emerged as the favored strategy of enterprises looking for a flexible and efficient way to move their workloads to the cloud while reducing costs, boosting productivity and avoiding vendor lock-in. Those advantages are so significant that hybrid cloud is now estimated to constitute a $1.2 trillion market opportunity.
 
That momentum will accelerate further in 2020 as businesses in all sectors use hybrid multicloud strategies to rapidly roll out applications that accelerate the digital transformation of their businesses while delivering exceptional experiences to their customers.

At the same time, enterprises will increasingly turn to advanced encryption and protection solutions to ensure that their clouds remain secure in today's threat-rich environment, and they'll embrace emerging technologies like edge to extend their technical footprints. They'll also begin to adopt automation tools to make it easier to keep their complex cloud ecosystems humming along.

Let's dive deeper into five trends that we expect to see in the year ahead as enterprises continue on their cloud journeys.

1. 5G will enable more enterprises to use edge as part of a hybrid cloud strategy 

Edge computing, where computations are performed as close to where the data is generated as possible, is in many ways is the next chapter in cloud. Retailers will benefit from faster updates on consumer buying trends, factories will be able to perform predictive maintenance on equipment that's about to fail, cellphone carriers will be able to support mobile gaming and augmented reality.

5G is a critical element as more enterprises look to incorporate edge as part of their hybrid cloud strategies. Hybrid cloud will continue to serve as an aggregation point for the most relevant data and back-end functions, while the edge can support analytics and other core functions in real-time where the data is created and actions are taken. 
As the key enabling technology for edge, 5G delivers the higher speeds and broader bandwidths required to cut data latency to the bone. As 5G deployments begin to hit the cellular airwaves, hybrid cloud ecosystems will increasingly take advantage of opportunities to perform computations at the edge. The resulting innovations are projected by the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report to contribute as much as $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years.

2. Automation will dominate the next phase of hybrid multicloud 

Companies are adopting hybrid multicloud strategies at a rapid clip, taking advantage of the flexibility to move mission-critical business applications to the environment of their choosing – public cloud, on-premises or private clouds. Indeed, hybrid cloud is a $1.2 trillion market opportunity and nearly 80 percent of IT decision makers see it in their future. 

However, the very advantages of hybrid environments – including resiliency, scalability and support for a broad variety of applications, APIs and data types – means they are by nature complicated. More enterprises will be looking for ways to manage this complexity as they find themselves using multiple clouds, and this will be a make-or-break part of their cloud strategy. The upshot is that automated tools – including early offerings that incorporate artificial intelligence -- will emerge in 2020 to help manage this complexity. 

Along with increasingly automated tools, dashboards that provide a big-picture overview of cloud operations will become an important tool for administrators. This will enable enterprises to tune their environments, putting the right workloads in the right place, controlling costs, and managing security keys and encryption effectively. 

3. Security ‘command centers’ will proliferate as part of hybrid cloud strategies

Some 60 percent of IT decision makers rated security as the most important attribute in selecting a cloud provider, but this remains a complex issue to manage within hybrid multicloud environments where data is dispersed across many environments.

Next year, we'll see more tools emerge that can uncover security insights and respond to incidents faster via dashboards that help centralize operations. Traditionally called a security operations center, having one command center will be critical. And this is a space that is evolving quickly.

The emergence of DevSecOps, where security is integrated into the development process itself, is another indication that a more connected security ecosystem is in the cards for 2020. 

4. More adoption of industry-specific clouds

As organizations turn to the cloud, they're looking for solutions that serve the needs of their specific industry. For highly regulated industries in particular, this means features that offload the burdens of compliance. According to a recent study by Thomson Reuters, financial service organizations, for example, deal with an average of 220 regulatory updates per day—and 71 percent of firms expected that number to increase in the next year.

The financial-services-ready public cloud launched in 2019 -- which Bank of America will use to host key applications and workloads to support its 66 million banking customers – provides both an important proof point and a useful template that other industries will follow. 


Ecosystems will have to target particular markets, because it's very hard to be generic. So there will be more of a focus on delivering industry specific value and addressing industry specific requirements.

Global research from IBM shows that only 40 percent of organizations today have the skills and strategy to manage a multicloud environment. Here, industry specific clouds help organizations by shielding them from the complexities of their cloud infrastructure and architecture. Perhaps that's why, according to a recent survey, 61% of respondents said that one of the biggest benefits of adopting industry cloud services was ease of management and administration.

5. Open source tools will proliferate to make Kubernetes more consumable

Open source technology is having a profound impact on cloud. In 2019, enterprises turned to open source software to modernize their infrastructure and accelerate their adoption of hybrid multicloud. In 2020, developers will focus on tools that can support rapid deployment of applications, which their businesses need to stay at the cutting edge of digital transformation.

This means widespread uptake of the continuous delivery paradigm, where organizations embrace the DevOps philosophy of rapid builds, tests and deployments. The continuous delivery model is growing in tandem with the increased development of cloud-native applications built from the start to be deployed via containers and Kubernetes

For example, as more people move to Kubernetes and OpenShift in 2020, they will start adopting technologies like Red Hat Operators to become an integral part of the Kubernetes ecosystem.

In sum, as we look ahead, enterprises will have a growing palette of options at their disposal to facilitate workload management, speed application deployments, ensure maximum security, exploit additive technologies such as edge, and more. Indeed, the brave new cloud world of the decade that's about to begin will deliver value, resiliency and responsiveness that could only be dreamt of just a few short years ago.

Jim Comfort is general manager, Hybrid Cloud Services & Portfolio Strategy for  IBM Global Technology Services.