Cloud Computing 2019: The Cloud Comes of Age

Cloud computing has moved past its "self-centred teenage years" to become a "turbocharged engine powering digital transformation around the world," states a new Forrester report .The research firm predicts that in 2019 the cloud will reach "its more interesting young adult years, bringing innovative development services to enterprise apps rather than just serving up cheaper, temporary servers and storage."

The big get bigger

The six largest hyperscale cloud leaders — Alibaba, Amazon Web Services [AWS], Google, IBM, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle — will all grow larger in 2019, as service catalogs and global regions expand. Meanwhile, the global cloud computing market, including cloud platforms, business services and SaaS, will exceed $200 billion in 2019, expanding at more than 20%, the report projects.

Cloud computing

Containers, Kubernetes (K8s) and serverless to reshape core apps

Firms such as eBay, ING, Liberty Mutual, Nordstrom and Viasat all use cloud-native platforms built around Docker and K8s (and soon Envoy and Istio) to breathe new life into legacy apps.

Powered by cloud-native open source components and tools, companies will start rolling out their own digital application platforms that will span clouds, include serverless and event-driven services and form the foundation for modernizing core business apps for the next decade. Next year's hottest trend will be making K8s easier to deploy, secure, monitor, scale, and upgrade.

Organizations face three basic private cloud paths: building internally, using vSphere sprinkled with developer-focused tools and software-defined infrastructure; having its cloud environment custom-built with converged or hyperconverged software stacks to minimize the tech burden; or building its cloud infrastructure internally with OpenStack, relying on the hard work of its own tech-savvy team.

More organizations will set their PaaS strategy

Organization will decide on its own whether to leverage platform-as-a-service (PaaS) unique to a specific cloud provider or focus instead on cloud neutrality. Some will continue to seek abstraction from any one cloud while patiently waiting for vendor-neutral, value-add services to mature and become easier to operate anywhere, such as Istio, K8s and TensorFlow.

Emerging SaaS-based industry ecosystems

SaaS vendors doubled down on integration in 2018, a trend highlighted by Salesforce’s purchase of MuleSoft and Workday’s decision to unlock and enhance its platform. In 2019, Forrester expects that two SaaS trends — industry and integration — will converge and seed SaaS-based industry ecosystems.

The big hype

Forrester singled out blockchain as the most overhyped trend. There is terrific technology underpinning distributed ledgers, but 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.

The takeaway

Enterprises preparing for 2019 should run a software portfolio analysis as soon as possible. "The most important cloud strategy question to ask is: how do we expect or need this app to get better?".

"Whether it's more efficient operations, lowering run costs, deriving new insights using some machine learning, distributing it to more customers, scaling it more easily, moving it to a new database platform, etcetera, you need to know what you expect to get better before picking any particular cloud platform, emerging cloud tech service or development platform."

One final word of advice: "Don't pick a cloud before you pick a strategy."