The cloud. What does it mean for you? What does it mean for your business? Chances are that your business is increasingly dependent on the cloud, which is why you’re probably going to be thrilled with how 2021 is going to unfold. On the other hand. if your business still doesn’t work with the cloud, you’re going to feel very much left behind.
Because, thanks to the pandemic, the cloud is going to play an even larger role in the way we do business. From employees to development pipelines to delivery, the cloud will be a part of every aspect of how your company functions.
Are you ready for it? If not, are you at least prepared to pivot to a more cloud-centric company?
Although you probably have a good idea of what the cloud is (think Google, AWS, and Azure), you might be under the impression that the cloud is nothing more than syncing files between mobile devices, desktops, and a remote server. It is, however, much more than that.
With the cloud, you get Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service among many other services offered through the cloud. There are also public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. So, yeah, it’s definitely more than just Google Drive.
With the cloud already entrenched in the day-to-day of the business, what’s in store for it in the coming year? Let’s take a look.
Public Cloud Offerings Will Boom
Expect to see the big guns (Google, AWS, and Azure) to continue their domination in the enterprise cloud space. But you should also expect even more contenders to crawl out of the metaphorical woodwork. These new public cloud offerings will not only court the business of the enterprise, but also small- to mid-size businesses and even consumers. Companies like Zoho, Immedion, ONLYOFFICE, IDrive, BackBlaze, and Egnyte will catch fire in 2021. These cloud services will help companies bridge the gap between those employees working from home and the needs of the business.
Of course, the major cloud providers will also see major gains as well—especially Google who won’t just offer a cloud-based platform for application deployment, but the means to make it even easier for employees to get their jobs done from remote locations.
Private Cloud Deployments Will Skyrocket
Along with public clouds, private cloud deployments will see a large spike in usage. What are private clouds? These are the clouds that are only accessible by you and those in your company. These clouds are found either within your company (or home) LAN or on private networks dedicated only to specific users and groups (unlike, say, Google, which is accessible by everyone).
Private platforms like Nextcloud and ownCloud will benefit from a large uptick in rollouts. This is not only good for the companies that produce the platforms, but for the users who depend on them.
And because products like Nextcloud are open source, it means your in-house developers can create apps for those private clouds that meet very specific needs. Because of this, you might want to make sure you have developers on staff that are up to the task.
Serverless Container Deployments Will Increase Within Cloud Infrastructure
This one is tricky. Why? Because if you ask any seasoned IT admin about containers, they’ll give you a drawn-out dissertation on the pros and cons of this particular technology. Ask those in charge of budgets and you’ll get nothing but a blank stare.
Containers are a magical trick of technology that, for all intent and purpose shouldn’t be able to do what they do. And yet, they do. One of the great things about containers is that they make it possible for companies to easily scale their application deployments. And because you can deploy containers from the cloud, it’s a perfect match for enterprise businesses.
And because cloud technologies will continue to expand and improve in the coming year, you can bet that containers will as well. That translates to even more (and larger) container deployments in 2021. So you’ll definitely want to have your cloud application development A-game at the ready for the coming year.
Thing is, however, containers at scale can be a real challenge to deploy at the moment. Fortunately, 2021 might have something to say about that.
Cloud Technology Will Become Even Easier to Use
Most basic forms of cloud computing (Google Docs, iCloud, Dropbox) are all very easy to use. It’s when you get into the actual deployment of applications and services from within cloud providers that things get a bit complicated. Anyone that’s worked with Kubernetes will understand that immediately.
But 2021 should go a long way to rid admins and developers of that complexity. With more and more web-based GUI tools, container developers will have to depend less and less on the command line. In fact, by the end of the year, expect to see these types of deployments to become so easy that just about any admin (of any skill level) will be able to make use of this technology. That translates to your company being able to get even more out of the cloud.
Disaster Recovery Strategies Will Migrate to the Cloud
You know that disaster recovery plan you’ve had on your shared network for a decade? Toss it. This coming year will see every company who knows what they’re doing migrating those disaster recovery plans to the cloud. If anything, the current pandemic has proved just how ill-prepared so many companies were for the unknown—especially when said unknown includes having to “exist” outside the boundaries of the company’s LAN.
If your disaster recovery plan only includes localized technology, you are in for a nasty surprise. This coming year, you need to start evolving that plan so it makes use of public, private, or hybrid cloud technologies.
This might mean you’ll have to rely on your in-house developers to create the solutions necessary to make this possible. But with the right tools, that disaster recovery plan can be created such that it includes automation, so when the unthinkable happens, you know your company data has been automatically and successfully backed up to one or more clouds.
AI Will Grow Increasingly Popular With Cloud Technology
Finally, look for Artificial Intelligence to become more entrenched in cloud technology. AI can do remarkable things. And once it makes its way to the cloud, the automation of manual tasks and solving many basic problems, especially in those areas where your company might suffer from a particular skill-shortage.
There’s also the rise of AI as a Service (AIaaS), which is nothing more than the combination of a SaaS business model with AI services. The increase in popularity will respond to increasing AI needs and allow companies to see how AI might work without having to pay steep costs to develop their own AI-based solution.
Finally, AI will help make cloud deployments more sophisticated. Imagine being able to easily deploy chatbots from your cloud that can serve as customer service intermediaries. With the combination of AI and the cloud, the possibilities are almost limitless.
There’s no escaping the cloud. No matter how much you want your business in-house, at some point, you’re going to have to accept the fact that the cloud is an incredibly valid solution for so much of what your business does. And if 2021 has its way, you’ll be doing some serious migration to the cloud.