Back when the technology industry made its cloud predictions for 2020, no one forecasted the impending impact of COVID-19. Across the board, the pandemic has changed the way consumers have digital experiences, and made businesses realize their legacy IT infrastructure may not be up to keeping pace with new demands.
So how does that change some of the cloud predictions put forward at the end of 2019?
Increased Importance of Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud is a critical focus area as IT organizations prepare to work and operate with clouds but many applications continue to run on-premises. While I predicted that hybrid would be a crucial area, I did not expect the actual pace, which has become much higher.
With cloud technologies becoming part of every IT environment from operations to orchestration and beyond, its adoption, including the move to hybrid, will accelerate due to this new normal. More organizations will adopt a hybrid cloud approach sooner than expected, as they’ll have no other choice to keep up with technology’s aggressive evolution. They must run legacy workloads or local cloud on-premises while also deploying on public clouds and manage workloads there; this is from both a VM and Kubernetes perspective. Red Hat and VMware are going head-to-head here.
As COVID-19 severely impacts IT teams’ time and budget, those that provide solutions that are easier to run and integrate will win this space. Simplicity, known skill sets and familiar products with shorter time to integrate will be critical.
Containers Will Still Become the De Facto Software Packaging Model
Container platforms have become an essential factor in the hybrid cloud landscape, accelerating multi-cloud adoption in enterprises. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 70% of organizations will be using at least three containerized applications in production. Even with the prioritization of other tasks due to COVID-19 disruption, container adoption is continuing at full speed, along with the wider implementation of Kubernetes.
COVID-19 should not impact the adoption of containers for those already on a Kubernetes platform. Anyone who has started with Kubernetes uses containers already, and organizations understand the value of Docker-based DevOps, local PC development and CI/CD pipelines based on containers.
2020 No Longer the Year of Serverless Computing
I expected a move toward maturing best practices, security solutions and tooling around serverless computing as more IT organizations looked to implement the technology. I saw AWS Outposts as the likely chief disruptor here, as it blurs the lines between on-cloud and on-premises workloads and services, with Google Anthos and Microsoft Azure as its main competitors.
However, we can now assume that COVID-19 will have impacted the adoption of new technologies. This is because many organizations are unable to deal with new technology due to the other tasks that have taken precedence for now. I also expect organizations that were experimenting with the likes of AWS Lambda or kNative may take a step back for at least three to six months.
Service Mesh Not Yet Standard for Cloud-Native Apps, Microservices
I expected the industry to start uniting behind a single strategy to service mesh in 2020. But as of now, the list of open source service mesh options continues to grow. This makes it one of the most interesting domains today, full of emotions, fights and changes, unaffected by COVID-19.
As a standard continues to elude the industry, things can become highly problematic. This is because once you adopt service mesh, it becomes a critical path in your deployment and application dependency.
A few weeks ago, I spoke with Dell’s CTO, John Roese, who said he firmly believes the industry will eventually converge. Although IBM, VMware, Red Hat, Pivotal and Google commit to Istio as their service mesh, the industry is still waiting patiently for this convergence to happen.
While all of this infighting is happening, a new body, the Service Mesh Initiative, was set up to ensure none of the hyper-scalers could impose a lock-in on service mesh. This could begin to change things, as IT organizations can define applications that use service mesh without tightly binding to any specific implementation. Watch this space.
While COVID-19’s impact may have thrown a few things off base at the start of 2020, it’s likely a temporary slowdown. As new demands require a more flexible IT environment to keep pace, there is no question that things will speed back up. And when it does, IT organizations must be ready to implement the latest innovations or risk being left behind.