The cloud computing market is growing quickly. From a value of $146 billion in 2017, it’s now expected to reach a value of $178 billion in 2018, and over $200 billion by 2020. This per Forrester’s recent report, “Predictions 2019: Cloud Computing.”
Despite fast growth, 451 Research findings suggest the cloud is only used for around 10 to 20 percent of corporate workloads. This figure too is changing rapidly as companies push forward with lean digitisation strategies and pursue the efficiencies and speedy, unlimited, infrastructure the cloud presents.
Forrester’s report says cloud computing has become a: “Turbocharged engine powering digital transformation around the world.”
The Big Six
Cloud providers are innovating to keep up with the advance of technology and there are smaller providers in the space. None, however, are rich enough to challenge the development and operational budgets of the six largest cloud providers. Thankfully the competition between Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Alibaba is intense enough to deliver both innovation and low-cost services.
William Fellows, vice president and founder of 451 Research, predicts some change may occur within cloud’s few key players:
“As the top cloud providers continue to look to differentiate themselves, there are likely to be more mergers and acquisitions to bridge technological gaps as well as strategic partnerships.”
Cloud Development and New Technologies
Not only is conventional cloud computing developing rapidly, it’s also changing to accommodate the new technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. Cloud infrastructures must be able to support blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the internet of things (IoT), and of course, big data.
Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet says:
“The amount of innovation we will see in the next five years will exceed all the innovation we’ve seen in all prior years.”
Take Microsoft Azure as an example, it has introduced over 100 new Azure capabilities in just the last few months, many of them incorporate blockchain and machine learning. For the software giant, cloud computing may be key to its future success, and it is delivering Microsoft a 76 percent increase in revenue year on year.
Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a new buzz word in the sector and cloud-based blockchain platform building tools are emerging, particularly from Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM. Blockchain may be too novel yet for some. Dave Bartoletti, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said of the technology:
“There is terrific technology underpinning distributed ledgers, but I believe that most companies have better options for transforming their apps and technology today with one of the other interesting cloud services that are more mature, like IoT or database or machine learning or container platforms.”
As to conventional expansion, IBM acquired Red Hat this year for $34 million, which some predict could provide IBM the expertise it needs to move more mainframes to the cloud.
Though newer to the cloud market, Alibaba is also expanding and has added new UK datacentres to its existing European, Dubai, and Middle Eastern operations.
Enterprises are using public clouds, but they are also building their own deployments, Bartoletti says:
“Private clouds are growing fast, too, as companies not only move workloads to the top hyperscale public clouds but create powerful on-premises cloud platforms.”
Managing Multiple Cloud Providers
Not only are enterprises moving to the cloud, but they also have a new challenge, that of managing multiple cloud deployments. Many use services like infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a service (SaaS), hybrid cloud solutions, and usually more than one of the big six providers. The 451 Research survey found that 25 percent of cloud users are already using more than one cloud provision to combat differing requirements and policies.
Unless an enterprise has a hefty internal IT budget, as well as top-notch retained expertise, it will struggle to deploy multiple cloud provisions seamlessly. Enter the need for multi-cloud service providers, and dedicated connectivity platforms.
IDC analysts predict that by 2020, 90 percent of European businesses will take advantage of an external provider to deliver order and common vision to their cloud-based infrastructures. IDC also found that 80 percent of business are already struggling to transit from hybrid cloud environments.
Forrester’s Bartoletti sums up what next year might hold for cloud computing:
“In 2019, cloud computing will firmly establish itself as the foundation of tomorrow’s enterprise application platforms. It’s the best way to create the compelling software experiences that your customers demand and your competitors fear.”
For those in search of a fluid transition to the corporate cloud or seeking a single platform to manage multiple cloud services, private cloud connectivity through a multi-cloud provider may be the answer. A dedicated connection to CSPs will bring you, coherence, and additional security, while ensuring enterprises retain complete control over their cloud infrastructure. InterCloud can bring you benefits & value to your multi-cloud strategy. Our platform will help you manage the dataflow to the Big Six (but not only) securely and efficiently!