Key enterprise cloud trends for 2019

As businesses modernize their computing and networking architectures, cloud-native architectures are the principal target environments

Key enterprise cloud trends for 2019

Cloud computing has become the principal paradigm for enterprise applications. As businesses modernize their computing and networking architectures, cloud-native architectures are the principal target environments.

As 2019 approaches, it’s clear that the trend toward all-encompassing cloud computing is not slowing down. What follows are my predictions for this vibrant market in the coming year.

SaaS providers will deepen their enterprise application portfolios

It’s clear that Oracle, SAP,, and other SaaS providers will not be able to blunt the momentum that Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform have been enjoying in the PaaS and IaaS segments of the public cloud market. To sustain their growth in the face of this trend and prevent the dominant PaaS/IaaS providers from encroaching on their turf, the SaaS providers will double-down their investments in enterprise resource planning, human resources, customer relationship management,and other business applications. In 2019, we will see the SaaS providers roll out a wider range of vertical industry products while deepening the AI-driven digital assistant, embedded recommender, and robotic process automation features of these services to boost user productivity.

Enterprise lift-and-shift of applications, workloads, and data to cloud-native backbones will accelerate

The growing range of commercial hybrid and multicloud tools will speed and reduce the cost of moving enterprise IT assets from on-premises legacy platforms to cloud-native PaaS and IaaS platforms. In 2019, more enterprises will containerize legacy workloads without needing to rewrite existing applications, thereby mitigating the technical risks normally associated with complex migrations. Public cloud providers will put the highest priority on offering migration tools, multicloud backplanes, professional services to help enterprise execute these migrations rapidly, cost-effectively, and with manageable risk.

Public cloud providers will position fully managed on-premises appliances as their hybrid cloud on-ramp

This year saw Amazon Web Services announce AWS Outposts, a fully managed compute/storage rack-based offering that will let customers run selected public cloud services on premises with their existing VMware licenses. After its release in late 2019, we’ll see if this solution strikes a responsive chord with enterprises that may still be unsure how to balance the security, compliance, and latency concerns that have compelled them to keep computing assets on premises against the scalability, efficiency, and agility advantages of migrating toward public clouds.

To blunt AWS’s momentum in the hybrid cloud before Outposts’ release, AWS public cloud competitors will enhance and promote their existing hybrid-cloud on-premises compute/storage racks. However, it remains doubtful whether Microsoft Azure Stack, IBM Cloud Private, Oracle Cloud At Customer, and the like will offer those vendors any advantages in their strategic push to migrate existing enterprise customers to their respective public clouds.

Kubernetes adoption will accelerate as the core open-source code base stabilizes

The core Kubernetes open-source platform shows signs of maturing, as the total number of contributions has slowed and commit velocity is decelerating. In 2019, innovation in the Kubernetes ecosystem will shift toward projects that are being managed outside CNCF in external GitHub organizations.

On the commercialization front, startup activity and product launches in the burgeoning Kubernetes ecosystem will grow, with performance, security, automation, scalability, cluster management, edge-optimized containers, application load balancing, and serverless abstractions becoming a huge focus of innovation and adoption.

Solution providers will build up their Kubernetes implementations into full-fledged network operating systems

Kubernetes is becoming the foundation for vendor-curated portfolios of tooling, services, and integration backplanes to stand up increasingly complex network operating systems for virtualization, containerization, and serverless applications environments. In 2019, all the leading public-cloud providers will make deeper investments in their respective Kubernetes implementations, with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, IBM and its Red Hat subsidiary, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Vmware, and Alibaba Holdingin the forefront.

Containers will increasingly straddle between stateful and stateless semantics

Cloud-native environments are evolving to support stateful interactions through scale-out storage architectures, while at the same time providing a foundation for the next leap in stateless, event-driven computing over hybridized serverless multiclouds. In 2019, more enterprises will adopt Knative for serverless functions over Kubernetes while also deploying a new generation of storage solutions optimized for persistence in containerized fabrics.

Service meshes will become the predominant network management backplane in multiclouds

Advances in cloud-native industry service-mesh initiatives—most notably, Istio, Envoy, and LinkerD—will boost the salience of these projects in enterprise multiclouds. In 2019, many enterprises will bring service meshes into the core of their efforts to build flexible bridges between containerized on-premises assets and a growing range of public and private cloud fabrics in their distributed computing environments. Cloud providers will ramp up their support for managed services that simplify interconnection and management of thousands of virtual private clouds and on-premises networks over mesh and hub-and-spoke architectures.

Cloud-to-edge distributed-computing fabrics will expand

Vendors brought a wide range of innovative edge gateways, on-premises computing/storage racks, and device-level container runtimes to market over the past year. In 2019, these innovations will converge into an edge-facing, distributed, and federated cloud-native computing fabric that enables more flexible distribution of data, applications, and workloads closer to the point of agency.

As the internet of things becomes the predominant on-ramp to cloud computing and “AIOps” IT management automation tooling pervades the fabric, the notion of a “data center” will give way to a radically decentralized “software-defined data center.”

\Within this cloud-to-edge computing fabric, blockchain and other hyperledger backbones will evolve to provide an immutable audit log for all network, system, and application-level operations.

Containers will transform the network routing plane

Virtual area network operating systems will become cloud-native, putting all protocols and management functions in microservices with immutable containers that are orchestrated through Kubernetes.

In 2019, more network operators will be able manage updates to routing and traffic management functions through devops continuous integration and continuous deployment workflows. This will allow network operators to only deploy the networking features required, thereby reducing complexity and shrinking network attack surfaces.

Cloud-native devops tools will converge virtualization, containerization, and serverless

Enterprise customers are demanding the ability to compose cloud-native microservices for execution across various orchestrated blends of virtual machines, containers, and serverless fabrics. In 2019, we’ll see more development tools that converge these heretofore distinct programming silos and enable CI/CD across increasingly heterogeneous multiclouds that federate Kubernetes clusters while presenting serverless interfaces for lightweight development of stateless, event-driven microservices.

Key to this convergence of application paradigms will be “infrastructure-as-code” tools that enable declarative specifications of cloud-native application outcomes to drive automated compilation and deployment of the requisite containers, serverless functions, distributed orchestrations, and other application logic.

Containerized microservices marketplaces will expand

Public cloud providers have built up their online marketplaces of trusted containerized solutions, both of their own offerings and of their growing partner ecosystems. In 2019, we will see these marketplaces expand in the scope and diversity of solutions offered, as public cloud providers take more of a partner focus and software vendors rely on these channels as their principal go-to-market approach.

To help customers enforce policies over their users’ adoption of cloud-based solutions, the public cloud providers will provide private-marketplace features that enable enterprise procurement personnel to define and manage approved, curated lists of containerized cloud-ready solutions that align with their organizations’ policies.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.