The rising tide of cloud computing – What lies Ahead?

Mohammad Wasim - VP & Global Cloud and DevOps COE Lead — PublicisSapient

In the last few years, several sectors have extensively leveraged cloud technologies to find new ways of solving problems and the cloud tide will continue to rise in the future. In fact, COVID-19 has further fueled the momentum with all the technology leaders trying to make business applications more resilient, secure, and scalable. Soon, cloud technology will not only serve business applications but also end-user computing.

With the increase in demand for cloud technology, all aspiring technologists are focusing on reskilling themselves to thrive better in the cloud era. In fact, during global lockdowns cloud technology courses were the most popular lessons on prominent online training providers.  To that effect, cloud has become ‘ubiquitous’!

Here’s what more you can expect in next near future:

Omni Cloud – A combination of Hybrid & Multi-Cloud Approach – With constantly evolving business requirements that leverage newer technologies and ecosystems, along with a need to manage the existing systems and datasets, clubbed with scenario-based services and benefits from cloud providers, the workloads will now leverage the best of all worlds!

Technology leaders are expected to be flexible with adopting various flavors of cloud – right from SaaS to deploying private cloud and bare metal infrastructure to cloud workspaces and specific custom-built cloud solutions for various use cases. This would certainly present its own set of challenges around skills, security & governance and that is expected to become the battleground.

Serverless, Microservices & Container Sprawl – As different cloud infrastructures come together, there will be a greater need to work seamlessly across them with as limited manual intervention as possible. This will result in the emergence of the newer, lighter solutions driven through Serverless technologies and microservices architecture would take more prominence for the newer digital native users and modern applications.

For the legacy applications that can be transformed into modular components, Kubernetes would be the savior, and right from leveraging the ‘agnostic’ services from cloud providers to deploying Kubernetes on-premise, would be a strong focus area. The recent substantial investments by the public cloud providers in these technologies (be it Anthos or Azure stack etc.) to enable the usage across clouds and private cloud infrastructure is a real testament to this.

Security takes the centerstage: Shared responsibility is a big aspect of cloud security and while all the providers have been constantly evolving their services to make them less vulnerable, the security incidents related to misconfigurations have been on the rise (case in point -Capital Group S3 incident).

The overall Security landscape is set to see a lot of action in coming times from newer products, solutions and consolidation through a lot of acquisitions. Compliance against the new data laws will club with security to make the job more complex. Though innovation in tools will make the tedious job simpler, governance will demand business knowledge and more maturity.

Cost Containment & AI-Ops: With the onslaught of cloud sprawl, expensive people skills, transformed business models and ways of working in the wake of the pandemic, there will be a significant focus on optimizing cloud spend through various automation initiatives and sophisticated solutions aimed at keeping cloud expenses in check.

At the same time, ongoing cloud platform operations will focus on building solutions that are focused on improving system reliability and minimize manual intervention. With the rapid increase in use cases, technologies like AI-Ops, RPA will gain a foothold.

End-user computing – There will be a paradigm shift in the tools of technologists. The industry needs to start thinking of mapping offices from disperse locations. Facebook has already launched AR/VR nascent solution for meetings. Sooner there will be an exodus of the end-user computing to the cloud. With the launch of 5G, it is imperative. Those sticking to the old methods of serving the end users will find themselves hanging with a very expensive CAPEX asset, if not irrelevant.

Re-Skilling & Emergence of Polyglots: Lack of skills will continue to be the biggest bottleneck for all planned initiatives across cloud technologies, in fact, Gartner, a global research and advisory company, predicted a large majority of cloud projects getting delayed due to skills challenges. Organizations will adopt various strategies to re-skill their talent and make huge investments in making them ‘polyglots’.

Future skills will be very different from the present. A small section of the capability group will be deep engineering and the rest would be assemblers of technology services.

As 5G rolls out, there would be a lot of pressure on software development to deliver higher-performing digital assets at the ‘speed of light’.

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