How the Cloud Will Change 2018

A lot can happen in a year’s time, especially when it comes to technology. Cloud technologies, specifically hybrid cloud technologies, serve as expressways to unlocking epic enterprise cloud transformations. And it’s not slowing down as 2018 will usher another banner period for business and cloud. Looking toward the year ahead is exciting. Here are my predictions for how the cloud’s changes will affect business in 2018.

1. More Cloud Security (Bad and Good)

Major security fumbles over the past year reminded many of the importance of cybersecurity. This past year, an epidemic of misconfigured AWS S3 buckets resulted in continued data leaks. A massive Equifax breach exploited poor security measures, affecting millions. Stories like this will continue to emerge due to the access a variety of people have to the hyper scale cloud, and how little controls exist.

The good news is that implementing cloud solutions means integrated security is within reach for many. Most customers look for certifications and compliance within their managed cloud providers such as PCI, HIPAA, SAE16, and so on. Enhanced detection, improved response, and robust protection are fast becoming industry standards, and table stakes for managed service providers.

2. “Cloud” is Out. Multi-cloud is In.

Businesses are looking for their ‘best’ cloud, and in many situations, the answer to this question is “several” or “all”. The multi-cloud hybrid approach will feature the power of flexibility, technology choices, and vendor choice, built to suit an organization’s exact needs. Multi-cloud means private clouds, multiple public clouds, dedicated hosted infrastructure, and other off-premises options are all game, delivering advantages like cost performance, preferred technology, data management capabilities, reliability, avoiding vendor lock-in, and flexibility.

There’s no getting around the fact that multi-cloud adoption means ongoing application changes ahead. Backups, replication, failovers, and other cloud changes will change traffic profiles to the web and within applications built for scale and specifically built for multi-cloud. Multi–cloud adoption is a catalyst for application scale, redundancy, and resiliency.

3. Control Those Cloud Costs NOW, Says the CFO

Public clouds are powerful, quick, and easy, but all too often fall out of projected cost models. CFO’s and other decision-makers will continue to look for ways to optimize the cloud while maintaining existing benefits and growth.

AWS, Microsoft, and Google offer a dizzying myriad of consumption and cloud resource pricing plans. In 2018, innovative ways of constructing environments, including multi-cloud, hybrid environments, and orchestration will be key to the sanctity of IT budgets. Companies that partner with a properly managed cloud provider who can leverage all the tools in the toolbox will be in a position of advantage over competitors. The key is to implement the most features possible from a myriad of cloud choices while mitigating costs – an indicator that multi-cloud adoption will continue to grow.

4. The Rise of 5G, Real-time Edge, and IOT

AI, IoT, and multi-cloud push compute to the ‘edge’ of clouds, aided by changing networks, increased specialized applications, and evolving hardware. 5G mobile networks are coming, slated for 2020. On a collision course with the cloud, faster network speeds, increased coverage, and ever-more powerful handsets mean the expectations for application experiences will rise. Demands for availability, response, and data not just in the major league cities, but also in the minor league cities will also increase. The time to evaluate and build for this future is now, and the way to deliver exists in hybrid and multi-cloud technologies with a keen eye for the edge. Burst capabilities, edge-based cloud, and geo-location, will be the norm for applications soon.

5. Artificial Intelligence Everywhere

If you haven’t already noticed Artificial Intelligence (AI) in your technology stack, get ready. Many enterprise applications are being delivered with bot-based support. AI is found in IVR-systems, chat applications, and on the web. Growth in mobile-only increases the potential AI base. Programmatic control of networks, applications, traffic, and automation are also on the way, leveraging AI for greater efficiency and repeatable results. 2018 is an analytic scientist’s AI dream, driven by high-capacity networks and systems.

6. To the Cloud, and On the Cloud: Mission-critical Enterprise Apps Move Faster

Advanced enterprise features, particularly in the form of multi-cloud deployments, means that mission-critical applications will wind up in the cloud, at an increasing rate. Cloud technology has now become the de facto standard for mission-critical systems. The rise of multi-cloud, AI and a new network paradigm indicate a shift in how all applications are expected to function, cloud-first, mobile-first, with no compromise. Widespread adoption will emerge in the year ahead, allowing for the refactoring of apps to run on public and private cloud systems. The result will be more legacy apps are able to realize the power of cloud.

7. Real Blockchain Uses

Blockchain is receiving the kind of business evaluation that has always been within its reach and potential. Initial projects are focused on digital trust, ledger capabilities, and security features, while initiatives in real estate transactions, banking, payment systems, and more will become mainstream in the year ahead. Cloud solutions will work to make deployment, maintenance, and security natural partners to blockchain evolution with its power, flexibility, and distributed nature.

8. Kubernetes, “Auto-Magic”, and DevOps

Automation lovers, delight! Closely tied to the DevOps community, Kubernetes has emerged as the orchestration platform of choice in cloud environments. Delivering scalable solutions in the cloud, Kubernetes has helped unleash the practice of strategic microservices application architecture in multi-cloud, geo-regional, high-availability, and beyond. Organizations can enjoy a higher quality of service, coordinated deployments, and better resource management through Kubernetes, which goes mainstream in 2018.

9. Behold the Internet of Everything (IoE)

With more acronyms than you can shake a stick at, technology never fails to amaze. However, IoE is legitimate IoT evolution. IoE describes IoT interactions with people, with other devices, networks, and with analysis, coordination, and orchestration.

Leveraging AI, IoE will change the way devices interact at scale. Hybrid and multi-cloud technologies thrive at scale, enabling interaction, and analysis.

10. Hyper Convergence Helps with a Private Cloud Resurgence

Recent platform announcements have blurred the lines between high performance, cloud infrastructure, and public resources. Dell/EMC recently made a product shift towards the edge gateway, bridging information and operational technologies while delivering optimization and specialized infrastructure capabilities. In this ‘old is new’ scenario, private cloud deployments will reemerge in 2018, becoming an app modernization platform for legacy, database, and other applications that are not destined for the public cloud meets the needs of outsourcing, but not fully in the realm of public resources.

2018 is a Year of Innovation

Business and cloud are coming together at a pace that will increase exponentially. One of the effects of this increase is a significant rise in volume across the board, from data transference to storage, to cloud instances, estimates are all over the place but they all trend wildly upward. This volume will set the competitive cloud frontier for years to come.

2018 is destined to be a milestone year of cloud achievements. Not only will there be continued growth in the cloud space, innovative business will drive rapid changes in technology. Technological needs are converging to tell the story of a fundamental shift in how cloud affects us in our daily lives. Those that innovate and embrace the cloud proposition with an ever-expanding range of use cases can capitalize on what these developments can deliver both now and in the future.