In 2020, experts made many predictions about how the cloud would evolve over the next decade, and yet no one could have anticipated that digital transformation and the cloud explosion would arrive so quickly. While a lot of the trends may have died down (or floated beyond the clouds!), some of the predicted trends are here to stay, says Nauman Mustafa, vice president of business development at Aviatrix.
Three years into the decade and it’s become clear that cloud computing has and will continue to shape the trajectory of major business operations. While many are making predictions about what might happen to the cloud in the future, Gartner suggests that worldwide end-user public cloud spending will skyrocket to $600 billion in 2023, while Forrester points to economic uncertainty, cloud-native technology, and demands for data sovereignty as driving factors that will reshape cloud environments in 2023. As I regularly interact with IT decision-makers at leading global companies, I would like to highlight six growing trends in cloud infrastructure.
Let’s dig into how these trends are impacting enterprises, as well as how cloud service providers (CSPs), vendors, and partners are responding and adapting to cloud change today and in the future.
Few visionaries predicted this years ago, but this year we’ve seen enterprises finally shifting from cloud strategy to execution. Cloud has officially become the new normal, acting as the center of gravity for critical business applications.
Looking ahead, enterprises will continue to modernize their strategy by extending their existing cloud operating model to branches, data centers (DCs), retail stores, and edge locations. Companies are already asking for this expansion, and they desire the same level of key routing controls, visibility tools, and security posture throughout as they significantly scale their adoption of the cloud.
The other driving force behind this trend is that many existing SD-WAN products have been acquired by legacy incumbents, where the talent drain has not supported the innovation required to keep pace with a fast-moving cloud world.
See More: The Past, Present and Future of SD-WAN
Building modern cloud architectures involves consuming myriad cloud-native innovations while integrating cloud-smart partner products to provide optimal connectivity between an enterprise’s apps and its users. Flexible and future-proof cloud network architectures require a working knowledge of new hyperscale innovations such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) global accelerate, Azure front door, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) global virtual private clouds (VPCs), and network connectivity center products, as well as Equinix Network Edge and Fabric offerings – to name a few.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that customers are starting to pay more attention to the cloud skills of a vendor’s staff when evaluating their technology products. Hybrid cloud vendors may be overlooking this trend, while legacy vendors have failed to upskill their staff, leaving them unable to fulfill the expectations of cloud-smart and modern digital enterprises.
On-prem architectures for SAP products have been well-understood with matured best practices available for some time now, but reference architectures in the cloud are still evolving. SAP has already made positive waves by offering their customers the choice of hyperscalers, allowing customers to use best-of-breed extension services regardless of which cloud they are available in. This new application landscape across multiple clouds and hybrid locations requires secure and high-performance connectivity between clouds, branches, data centers, and edge locations.
With SAP S/4HANA and other similar business-critical applications moving to the cloud, cloud infrastructure and support teams will simultaneously have to rise to the challenge and up-level their “cloud game” multi-fold. Cloud service providers are already investing in making their infrastructure more favorable to host SAP products, but enterprises also require unified network connectivity across their SAP product landscape and intelligent network analytics that ensure maximum uptime.
As enterprises make the push to move applications to the cloud, they are also looking to evacuate data centers. As a result, mid-mile connectivity players have become extremely prominent to enterprises that now view them as step one of their cloud journeys.
Take for example Equinix, which has the largest global data center footprint for colocation services and interconnecting cloud connections. With more than 250 data centers across 27 countries and 5 continents, Equinix has slowly been enjoying the revenue pull-through opportunity that the cloud rush has provided.
Looking further ahead, integrating mid-mile connectivity offerings like Equinix’s Edge and Fabric with intelligent cloud platforms will be extremely valuable for enterprises to provide cost-effective and secure private connectivity between clouds, branches, and customer data centers.
See More: Cloud vs. the Edge? Key Strategies to Optimize Critical Distributed Applications
Three years ago, most enterprises started their cloud journey with a single cloud approach. Fast forward to today and almost all are now looking to modernize and build a multicloud strategy. While a multicloud strategy can bring many benefits, one that’s growing in popularity is the ability to better manage and control costs.
It’s important to note that a multicloud strategy does not mean that an enterprise’s applications are equally distributed, but rather it allows them to distribute workloads more wisely to leverage best-of-breed services from each CSP and gain a competitive edge for the business.
Enterprises have quickly realized that traditional perimeter-based firewall approaches are too hard to manage and more costly and complex to operate in the cloud. Meanwhile, cloud security requirements for protecting applications and user data are becoming better understood, and enterprise responsibility within the shared responsibility model is becoming clearer.
Enterprises are looking to leverage more cloud-native security capabilities and embedded security built into the multicloud network platform itself. As a result, CSPs are introducing their own firewalls, while intelligent cloud networking platform offerings from cloud-independent software vendors (ISVs) are stepping up to act as the central policy engine that seamlessly brings the cloud-native capabilities from multiple cloud providers and its own embedded network security and analytics, under one security umbrella.
To summarize, enterprises are moving full steam ahead with the cloud, and most, if not all, have already found themselves working in multicloud environments. The modernization of a multicloud strategy is not only giving organizations new ways to optimize costs and gain a competitive edge, but it’s also providing a second chance to get cloud security “right” in the coming years.
With multicloud trending globally, CSPs, business-critical application providers, mid-mile connectivity players, and ISVs must find new ways to innovate and adapt to the multicloud needs of customers. Looking ahead, technology vendors and service providers must invest in deep cloud knowledge on their teams to impress customers and gain multicloud trust. Mid-mile connectivity players should recognize their new perception as the cloud’s first step and find innovative ways to provide value throughout more steps in the cloud journey.
Finally, CSPs should continue to tweak their infrastructure to be more favorable to business-critical applications and improve upon cloud-native security capabilities and ISV partnerships to stay relevant in an evolving multicloud world.
What cloud infrastructure trends do you think are here to stay for a while? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We’d love to know!
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