Cloud computing kept the business and remote workforces connected during the coronavirus pandemic. As we move into 2022 and beyond, every organization would eventually adopt cloud models and existing cloud businesses would look at ways to streamline their processes for rapid growth and better business continuity.
Here are my personal views on top cloud computing trends that organizations need to watch out for.
Mitigating Risks Using Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Strategy
Cloud forms the backbone of many critical applications and with many significant outages from major cloud providers last year, it would be essential for enterprises to embark on a multi-cloud strategy for mitigating risks around a single point of failure.
Critical applications and governance functions can employ a cloud strategy that includes a hybrid and with a multi-cloud strategy. In this model, applications run on on-premises as well as Cloud by multiple cloud providers, ensuring data power sovereignty, disaster recovery, and risk mitigation along with being agile and scalable.
A critical factor would be to design and build cloud-native applications that can run and scale on any cloud environment and a management platform that helps manage the hybrid and multi-cloud environments. I will touch upon the management platform further when I describe the unified cloud platform.
You would see a lot of developments in a hybrid and multi-cloud space – from infrastructure modernization, mainframe and legacy migration, data mobilization, integration, tooling, and skilling for a hybrid with multi-cloud adoption.
Unified Cloud – One Platform for Hybrid, Multi-Cloud, and Edge
A unified cloud platform provides a single and consistent, secured, and policy-driven managed environment to run your workloads on on-premises, hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge environments.
I talked about hybrid and multi-cloud earlier, but I envision edge applications to drive the new set of requirements for the cloud. With 5G gaining momentum and the buzz around Metaverse, the next generation applications would drive new sets of requirements like near real-time decision making, low latency streaming, gaming and virtual experience, immersive experience, and collective intelligence.
Edge computing would play a very critical role in this realization. Industries need to be agile and prepared for transformation. For example virtual mall shopping, trying outfits using digital mirrors/changing rooms, immersive online learning experiences, all would lead to delivering new applications on edge locations (at a cloud edge location or customer location), closer to the end-user for a truly end-user connected experience.
As we move towards these various deployment models, we would need a consistent methodology to build cloud applications that can be in any environment. Secondly, governance, data residency, and security for applications running on various environments and regions would require centralized policies that can be applied and monitored across your environment. The Unified cloud would provide these core capabilities under one platform and would be one of the key propositions being offered by major cloud vendors in the future.
Moving Towards Sustainable Computing, Tools, and Insights
All the major cloud providers have already embarked on decarbonizing their data centers, for instance, Google Cloud is already carbon neutral today and plans to run on carbon-free energy, 24/7 by 2030.
Last year, we saw a glimpse of the carbon footprint calculators provided by some of the major cloud vendors, which allows you to measure and track carbon emissions associated with your cloud projects. This is a good first step, to gain insights into carbon emissions for your application.
Sustainability is related to the broader intelligent cloud optimization theme that I talked about in my last year’s trend and this year’s sustainability would start gaining the required momentum. We would see sustainability as one of the key pillars while designing and deploying cloud applications.
You would see tools being provided by the cloud provider to provide deeper insights into the carbon footprint of your application in terms of design, infrastructure, cloud services being used, networking, storage, runtime, monitoring, etc., and suggest optimization. For instance, you would get insights on which region (ie, cloud region with lowest carbon emissions and taking into account data sovereignty) and what time to run your workloads, optimize the use of server hardware (ie, leveraging GPU, TPUs effectively for machine learning training), network bandwidth usages and insights to minimize data transfer, etc., for your application.
DevOps processes and tools provided by the cloud vendor would be extended to measure the carbon footprint of the application and might even make it one of the SRE principles to track and reduce.
From Server to Serverless Architectures
Serverless technology removes the overhead of managing the cloud infrastructure and allows organizations to focus on executing business functions. It was one of the key predictions in my last year’s forecast for cloud trends and we saw many new serverless offerings from all major cloud providers – from Analytic Services, ML Services, Container Orchestration Services, Data Pipeline/workflows, etc.
The serverless momentum will continue to grow even further and we would see new serverless options and the addition of the serverless ability to existing offerings.
Designing cloud applications with serverless options would be a key criterion going forward from a cost and optimization perspective. In turn, cloud platforms would use intelligent compute and scalable options based on application demands. This would lead to better resource utilization for development workloads and even for start-ups and small-scale businesses to quickly try out and scale ideas/products in production without worrying about constant cloud costs. With the move towards sustainable computing, serverless would be a good option from cost, optimization, and keeping the carbon footprint of your application under control based on your workloads and application requirements.
You might also see a lot of standardization evolve in this arena, which allows you to run serverless technology in a vendor-neutral way across hybrid and multi-cloud providers.
To summarise, various innovations would continue to happen in cloud computing to help organizations modernize existing applications and to build new sustainable cloud solutions that can seamlessly run anywhere – be it on-prem, multi-cloud, or on the edge.