I still hate New Year’s cloud predictions, but here are mine

It’s that time of year when everyone has an opinion about the next 365 days of cloud computing

I still hate New Year’s cloud predictions, but here are mine

I’m getting about one a day now, sometimes more. PR people are sharing their client’s deeply profound predictions for cloud computing in 2020, with the hope that I’ll take note. The large majority are along the lines of  “Cloud computing will continue to grow in 2020,” or “Machine learning, containers, and serverless computing will still be big in 2020.” Thank you, Captain Obvious, for going out on those limbs.

The trick to the prediction game is to think about what’s next beyond what is clearly apparent. What’s not on most prediction lists that could be game changing for 2020? 

The fact is that not much changes in a year. New trends will begin, but it won’t be clear if they’ll be major movements. You need to watch a trend over a few years’ time. This can be said about containers, serverless computing, container orchestration, and devops integration. These are the common focal points of today’s cloud projects, but they were not so popular five years ago. These technologies showed up in the market with little mainstream fanfare; it took time to realize their impact. 

I keep a constant eye on all new technology that makes a ripple in the market. My yearly predictions are more aligned with products and technology that will continue to make waves. I believe they will increase in importance in 2020, but we’ll not truly understand their impact for a few years. With that approach in mind, here are two of my predictions for 2020:   

The rise of the “metacloud,” also known as the “omnicloud.” Whatever name sticks, this is the idea that multiclouds need common management, monitoring, governance, and security layers. It’s much better to look at plural cloud deployments using a “single pane of glass” toolset that leverages abstraction and automation services to view more than one public cloud as a single collection of common cloud services. 

Most enterprises are new to multicloud and are still trying to make sense of how best to use the same but different resources. Under the battle cry of leveraging best-of-breed cloud services, we’re mixing and matching our way to complex applications and infrastructure deployments. 

This growing complexity is something we’ll soon need to address or the meta-/multicloud will not provide the value we need. The new thinking considers the applications and infrastructure as one set of common resources that are managed the same, versus today’s approach, which is to manage each individual cloud using its native tools.

Public clouds that care how they work with other public clouds will finally put their money where their mouth is. Sticking to the same theme as the prior prediction, most public cloud providers now pay lip service to their use within multicloud deployments. Most providers are reluctant participants in multicloud because it muddies their value to enterprises that use more than one public cloud. That’s about 81 percent of enterprises, at last count. 

What’s likely to change? In 2020, it will be more about funding and creating cloud services that make it easier to work and play well with other public clouds. We’ll see this in the form of cloud management and cloud security tools that work across public cloud providers. Once this race gets going, it will be a battle to see who’s best and plays the nicest with the direct competition. 

There you have it. If I’m right, count on me pointing out that fact. If I’m wrong, I’ll be eerily silent. 

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.