3 post-pandemic cloud architecture trends

The stakes are much higher and the timelines much shorter. Here’s what to focus on in the next few years

Organizations across the globe spent a record $107 billion on cloud computing infrastructure as a service in 2019, up 37 percent from the previous year, according to analyst firm Canalys. Almost all firms are tracking higher cloud computing sales, even before the pandemic. However, most cloud industry analysts predict a post-pandemic run on public cloud services.

Right now during the crisis, most enterprises fall into one of these generalized operating modes: 

Those in holding mode will not make any expenditures on IT-related projects until they get the all clear. This category includes most medium and large enterprises. Many projects are on pause, and this widespread delay may come back to haunt them.

Businesses operating in emergency mode are disabled in part or in whole by the current pandemic-related restrictions. Examples in this category include restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, and many small storefronts. They are shifting resources to shorter, quick-fix projects. These fixes may occur without good holistic planning, and thus some bad decisions will be made that will need to be corrected later.

Finally, some continue to operate in normal mode, where most days are business as usual. This would include businesses with employees who operated from self-contained, home-based locations before the pandemic, such as IT consultants and employees, artists and craftsmen, and other service-based businesses that already could be done remotely.

Regardless of the mode you’re in now, things will change when we get to the other side of this pandemic. Here are three cloud architecture patterns that will most likely take center stage:

  • Serverless everything. Serverless computing went from a good idea to a fantastic idea. No need to size servers and place them online—same with storage. Most public cloud providers can now offer serverless computing for containers, databases, and artificial intelligence. The benefit in a post-pandemic world is speed to deployment and speed to change, which means that you create an architecture that’s designed for change. 
  • Federated security. Typically, IAM (identity access management) is the best way to approach cloud computing security, given the distributed nature of cloud resources and applications. Centralized security management of distributed resources is an emerging concept whose time has come. Federated security covers all compute and storage resources, as well as all devices and humans. This approach takes change in stride, no matter how much is needed to adapt to a new market opportunity or global crisis. This will be a better way to go moving forward.
  • Distributed containers. You’ve heard of containers and clustered containers using container orchestration technology such as Kubernetes. What’s a distributed container? It’s the federation of containers that either run standalone or in clusters, with the capability of running these anywhere, in the cloud or not. Again, we’re looking for flexibility to keep us out of future trouble. The quicker you can move processing around, say from cloud to cloud, or data center to cloud, the more options you have during a crisis.

Crisis planning—before and after—all comes down to common sense. The businesses that do not prepare or at least brace for the post-pandemic run on cloud computing will operate in chaotic or crisis mode during the transition. You may encounter shortages in services from cloud providers as they struggle to obtain the necessary hard goods and employees to handle the post-pandemic surge in demand.

If you can play a bit of defense now to research options for serverless, federated security, and distributed containers, your cloud configurations and choices will be that much easier to slide into place when life returns to a new normal. 

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.