Cloud Trends to Look for in 2021 and Beyond

Of all the technology trends that have hogged headlines in the last decade, the one that has arguably garnered the most attention is the cloud. The popularity of the cloud has burgeoned so much that the cloud isn’t looked upon just as a tool. Businesses are harnessing the versatility, flexibility, and scalability of cloud servers to accomplish long-term goals and solve their most pressing challenges.

The pandemic COVID-19, in particular, has emphasized why we cannot do without the cloud, prompting organizations working with legacy systems to reinvent their business models around the cloud. As companies count on the cloud to run critical functions, cloud penetration continues to skyrocket. In light of these circumstances, let’s check the latest cloud computing trends that will shape the industry in the coming years.

1) Hybrid Cloud for Customizable Cloud Solutions

Hybrid cloud refers to the combination of public and private clouds. A hybrid model allows workloads to move between an on-premises private cloud and a third-party public cloud, allowing businesses the flexibility to select the cloud model of choice.

Hybrid cloud servers lend businesses the requisite security, SaaS capabilities, reliability, customizability, control, and first-rate performance-in short, everything they need to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive industry. No wonder, the market for the hybrid cloud is burgeoning with no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future. The hybrid cloud market was valued at $52 billion in 2020 and is predicted to reach $145 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 18.73% during the period.

2) Containers to Expedite Application Development

The usage of containers has risen manifold since the release of Docker in 2013 and Kubernetes in 2014. Organizations can containerize workloads to make their applications agile; as a result they can easily move resources to new environments.

Now that we have premium-quality cloud solutions, IT teams can deploy containers directly on the top of a cloud application layer. While developers in an organization focus on building the application container, their DevOps team concentrates on implementing the application.

We all know containers are far more nimble and light-weight than virtual machines; the former offer fast application load-time in addition to improved security and reliability. The adoption of containers enables businesses to build, test and deploy applications on multiple environments. This enhances the portability of applications, maintains consistency of operations, and speeds up the development and testing phase. Grand View Research Inc. has predicted that the global application container market size will reach $8.2 billion by 2025.

3) Serverless Architecture for Hassle-free Operations

A serverless architecture does away with the bottlenecks that a conventional IT infrastructure comes with. Users don’t need to buy or lease servers they run their data and applications on. A third-party handles it for you, letting you tackle other tasks.

A serverless architecture brings in a range of benefits including built-in availability, automatic scaling, reduced overheads, improved offline experience, etc. Thanks to the rise of the shared economy, such an architecture is becoming mainstream in the cloud space. Businesses count on serverless computing as it offers them the freedom to develop their product sans the burden of managing servers.

Serverless cloud solutions eradicate operational overheads, allowing companies to move from the inception to the development and deployment phase in a hassle-free manner. Serverless applications have built-in service integrations that let you focus on building the application and not on configuring it.

In light of the aforementioned benefits, it comes as no surprise that the segment is poised for expansion. The global market for serverless computing is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.9% in the period 2020-2025-from $6.4 billion in 2020 to $13.35 billion in 2025.

4) Automation to Simplify Cloud Management

While the cloud may have made it easy for enterprises to access computing and storage on demand, little has been done to curtail the workloads related to cloud infrastructure management. Deploying and operating workloads in a cloud environment have always been time-consuming and demand extensive manual configuration. Had cloud automation not been there, tasks such as configuring virtual machines, setting up VM clusters or managing availability would become cumbersome.

Cloud automation i.e. the practice of using specialized software for automating the tasks related to cloud-based IT infrastructure management has been leveraged by enterprises to ease the complexity of managing multiple public, private, and hybrid environments with limited resources.

Cloud automation and orchestration tools that run on top of virtualized environments automate the provisioning of computing infrastructure into any cloud platform. Automation finds immense usage in capacity planning as infrastructure needs can be predicted in advance and server component failure can also be avoided.

Done right, automation enhances efficiency, improves the quality of systems, networks and minimizes the risks associated with downtime. As cloud environments grow in scale and complexity, we expect to see cloud automation play a bigger role in managing application performance.

5) Edge Computing to Ease Real-Time Data Processing

Notwithstanding its outstanding features and benefits, the cloud has one weakness-it is usually a large, centralized entity. This may create issues if you work in a remote or overseas location. Besides, if you have to process large volumes of data, you will count on your cloud hosting provider’s resources to get the task done quickly. This classic example of such a scenario is Internet of things (IoT) wherein thousands of devices transmit a large number of values from time to time throughout the day, resulting in a huge amount of data being fed upstream to the cloud.

That’s where edge computing comes to your rescue. A cloud edge is a localized data center comprising powerful servers and fast storage. Owing to the presence of these edge data centers, the data emanating from IoT devices and sensors gets processed close to where it is being generated. This offsets the load from the main cloud server hosting, resulting in fast data processing, low latency, and rapid data transfers.

Edge servers act as a caching server for the cloud by processing data close to its source and then transferring the processed data to the cloud sequentially. Such an arrangement frees the infrastructure of cloud service providers and trims down their bandwidth usage.

The convergence of IT and telecommunication will spawn opportunities in the space of edge computing. As IoT devices continue to proliferate, edge data centers will play a pivotal role in real-time processing of data and streamlining the flow of information from IoT devices.

6) Cloud Security to Build Foolproof Systems

Security is a challenge even for conventional IT infrastructures. Now that more and more companies are shifting to the cloud, they need to have a foolproof security system to safeguard data. With the introduction of GDPR, these companies also need to ensure that their data security practices comply with all such regulations.

Organizations need to realize the significance of centralized authentication for maintaining control over users and systems accessing resources through various cloud platforms. Stringent web application firewalls and DDoS protection are critical to ensuring the safety of cloud systems.

Companies with hybrid or multi-cloud systems need to synchronize security policies across various CSPs, implement different security measures for different applications, and monitor cloud security threats on a constant basis. They need to train their employees on the importance of security and what they should (and shouldn’t) do to avoid falling prey to malicious entities. Remember, a large number of security breaches occur simply because employees tend to overlook simple rules when logging into their cloud systems.

The cloud trends mentioned above are sure to take precedence in the IT strategy of organizations in 2021 and beyond. These trends will witness growth as the digital transformation initiatives of these businesses mature. So which of these do you plan to implement this year? Let us know in the comment section below.