A century ago, the creation of powerful power stations marked a new era in the life of mankind, the cloud has today made a similar technological revolution that is radically changing lives. In just a decade, the cloud has proven to be more than just a new generation of machines and software.
As the world’s famous writer and public figure, Nicolas Carr would say, “Today IT systems are becoming a thing of the past. The competitive importance of IT inevitably decreases, the software, like once electricity, becomes just as a communal service.”
The cloud is no doubt the most exciting technology today, with every single business already moved or moving to it. Businesses first started running on public clouds to save on cost but would later be busted by newness in cloud computing like fast speeds, efficiency, reliability, and security as a new wave of innovation. Market research predicts that the cloud computing market is growing at 22.8 percent and will exceed US $127.5 after 2018 and 62% of all customer relations management (CRM) software will be cloud-based.
But as the cloud industry continues to mature rapidly and the technology becoming more embedded across enterprises even being termed as the generator for the next wave of technologies and enablers for all the exciting developments, a question begs, what does the future of the cloud look like?
As Gregor Petri, the Research Vice President at Analyst Gartner says; “There is a popular belief the cloud is already a business-as-normal activity. This view is a misconception as only a small amount of enterprises run significant workloads on the cloud.” He adds that there is still a long way to go for technology.
The future of the cloud is best thought of as a platform for the implementation of innovative technologies and services, the transition to it may not simply be a process of lifting and shifting existing on-premise applications. Some legacy apps need to be transformed to run on the cloud while others will not.
Gartner and IDC report that the next few years will see cloud computing evolving as part of a stack, inclusive of IoT and edge computing or better, processing at the source of data ingestion. Gartner4 predicts that by 2022, 75 per cent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data centre or cloud while IDC.5 predicts that, in addition, more than 40 per cent of organisations’ cloud deployment will include edge computing, and 25 per cent of endpoint devices will execute AI algorithms.
Cloud is an essential element of any innovative strategy as reports the Recounteur in the article ‘Looking forward to the future of cloud computing’. Enterprises will use the cloud as a scalable foundation for the creation of new business models.
Kevin Curran, a professor of cybersecurity at Ulster University and Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers says, “The massive cloud computing power with instant response will make intelligence on demand available for everyone, everywhere. New business models, where devices are boosted by inexhaustible cloud-based resources, will begin to emerge.”
The focus on disruption during the next decade has clear implications for the cloud industry.
The global cloud infrastructure services market grew 42 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019 with Amazon Web Services (AWS) making the biggest gain in dollar terms with sales as reported in a market study by the tech analyst firm, Canalys. It further reports that performance put AWS ahead of second-placed Microsoft, even though it grew sales by 75 percent. Google was the fastest growing of the top three in percentage terms.
Scalability is a cloud-first computing strategy
The cloud is about digitally enabling IT infrastructure, with the aim to create a cloud-first strategy. This approach will give the scalability needed by a business that demands change.
Cloud-first use-cases demonstrate the increasing maturity of this technology. Its continued development will rely on firms being able to make the most of the products and services the cloud industry generates. A dynamic, mixed cloud might be the objective, but many CIOs still discover that moving data between providers is an intractable challenge.
Companies are moving to the cloud because it offers the agility they need to compete in a fast-moving, rapidly changing customer environment. Cloud saves companies the cost of maintaining their own internal systems; it drives innovation by making it easier to develop and change applications on the fly, and it helps standardize and simplify security management.
As enterprises become more selective about which workloads are moved to the cloud, and which remain in their own data centers, cloud service providers must develop new strategies that ensure their continued relevance. The cloud infrastructure market is moving into a new phase of hybrid IT adoption, with businesses demanding cloud services that can be more easily integrated with their on-premises environments.
Cloud industry giants will use their power to focus on innovation and acquisition in the coming years, to create a portfolio of additional functionalities, such as search and database technologies, that will support the creation of disruptive, cloud-based services.
Most companies, may in the near future, end up using a combination of in-house data centers, plus cloud-computing technologies across a number of vendors, maybe with a few choices to pick just one vendor for every service?
In a decade cloud has proven so much potential and disruption capability. Going forward, 10 years could, of course, be such a long time horizon, but the cloud’s potential for change is enormous. Unheralded providers could bubble up and challenge established cloud industry players, nonetheless, the future of cloud computing still remains a chance for huge technological breakthroughs.
CIO East Africa is set to host the first of its kind regional summit on cloud and security, to deeply explore what the future of this fast-growing technology holds for business in the region.
For more details about the two-day summit slated on the 19th and 20th March 2020, please click on the link below.