According to Gartner, “Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4 percent in 2021.” This substantial growth rate is no surprise, given that cloud computing has gained popularity in recent years as businesses recognize its benefits, such as cost-efficiency, flexibility, and remote work potential. Companies that use cloud services can be more efficient, agile, and productive.
As with other types of technology, cloud services are constantly changing, as is the nature of how companies use them. For example, public versus private clouds may no longer be a discussion point as a hybrid approach becomes more popular. Remote working is easier than ever before with the Desktop as a Service (DaaS) model. And organizations are finding the need for faster processing times being addressed by edge computing.
The following list describes these trends and more. Companies that want to remain competitive should watch for and consider these trends as they plan their operations in the remaining months of 2021.
According to Forbes, “Currently, the big public cloud providers — Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and so on — take something of a walled garden approach to the services they provide.” However, businesses are increasingly requiring “infrastructure to be deployed across multiple models.” Additionally, companies don’t want to be locked into any one service, preferring to take advantage of the best of multiple worlds. These factors have given rise to a multi-cloud strategy.
As a result, the big providers are becoming more collaborative and creating partnerships to meet customer needs. For example, Microsoft and Oracle have joined forces, allowing customers to run enterprise applications across Oracle Cloud and Microsoft Azure. With such partnerships, organizations can do things like share data with partners and vendors. Third-party providers may also enter the picture with services that enable greater sharing between standard cloud platforms.
Cloud and AI
Cloud platforms will continue to enable services based on artificial intelligence (AI), such as machine learning (ML), language processing, and recommendation engines. Numerous fields, such as the automotive industry, urban planning, and healthcare industries will benefit from this ability. Additionally, the cloud enables organizations to make these services available with lower upfront costs and with the added benefit of always-on backup functionality.
The process works both ways as AI also benefits cloud computing by efficiently managing data and enabling insights into data stored in the cloud. According to Hackernoon, “With accelerating cloud adoption in 2021 and its affordability, more companies will prioritize AI.”
Desktop as a Service
DaaS, otherwise known as Workstation as a Service (WaaS) delivers an entire cloud-managed workstation environment that can be accessed at any time from any device. It includes a full package of needed applications, including productivity, backup, and security software. Given the ongoing importance of remote working, this technology is critical for workers in companies across different industries.
Customers of this service pay for the time employees spend working in these environments. Benefits include platforms and software that are always up to date and centralized network management. Amazon and Microsoft both have DaaS offerings — Amazon with the Workspaces platform and Microsoft with Windows Virtual Desktop.
The following video describes the DaaS model:
Cloud computing is convenient, but it has limitations, including latency, bandwidth, and security issues. The increasing presence of Internet of Things (IoT) devices demands a faster and more powerful response, which can be provided by edge computing, which involves localized data centers used for computation and storage.
For example, security cameras can send data to nearby processing systems, eliminating the need to overload the network with large video data files. Other uses include facial recognition, and smart home devices such as doorbells, thermostats, and light switches. This technology can be combined with others, such as AI, to develop innovative processing solutions.
Well-known companies providing edge computing services include Dell, HPE, IBM, and Intel. As with other aspects of cloud computing, edge computing doesn’t have to be used on an either-or basis. Edge and cloud computing work well together as businesses start processing on the edge, then send only critical data through to a central cloud location.
Benefits of edge computing include processing closer to data sources, reducing strain on network bandwidth, and keeping company data more secure. Additionally, edge computing is useful in remote areas with little connectivity. As the IoT expands, and companies gain a greater need for processing flexibility, the need for edge computing will grow as well.
As organizations become more knowledgeable about how the cloud works, they may decide to bring their cloud services internal as a private cloud. This move ensures greater process control and flexibility for future needs.
Meanwhile, the public-private dichotomy will become increasingly irrelevant as hybrid cloud solutions become more widespread. Using this approach, companies can become more efficient in their operations, such as by storing customer data using a private solution while delivering less sensitive information via the public cloud.
Serverless computing enables developers to avoid the management and maintenance of network servers, delegating this task to a cloud service provider. Using this approach, developers can be more productive, focusing strictly on development and associated tasks like improving user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX).
The use of serverless computing reduces time-to-market, lowers development costs, and allows developers to respond quickly to changing customer expectations. Given the benefits, serverless computing is expected to grow by a CAGR of around 23% between now and 2026.
Develop a New Cloud Computing Plan
The cloud is no longer simply off-premise data storage and processing. It’s a whole range of options that companies can take advantage of to meet their unique needs. The landscape has changed so much that every business should take the time to examine their cloud use, explore some of the new possibilities, and develop a new cloud computing plan.