Where the wind is blowing

1) Big three will capture the lion’s share

The one thing that all market forecasters and industry analysts appear to agree on is the dominance that the big three public Cloud players will continue to have moving forwards. While Forrester expects AWS, Google and Microsoft to control 76 per cent of the cloud by the end of 2018, IDC predicts that that figure could be as high as 80 per cent. And with the total global public cloud market estimated to worth $178 billion in 2018, up from $146 billion in 2017, the big three will be keen to cash in. As a result of what is at stake, IDC chief analyst Frank Gens expects to see some savvy business moves in order for the big threes. “I think we’ll see those top three make some very interesting alliances and maybe even some acquisitions,” he said.

2) True hybrid clouds to emerge

There was quite a buzz around the prospect of hybrid clouds for the majority of 2017. However, nothing of note actually came to fruition. That is about to change. With 79 per cent of businesses now running workloads in the cloud, the prospect of simultaneously operating private and public clouds with common orchestration and management tools, is exciting for any enterprise-sized business. In all likelihood, this form of ‘multi-cloud’ set up will become the dominant model in 2018, as true hybrid clouds begin to come to market. There are already key developments and partnerships forming to make this a reality. For example, Azure and Azure Stack from Microsoft provide a uniform set of infrastructure and API capabilities across public and private clouds; the partnership between VMware and AWS; and the teaming up of Cisco and Google. These collaborations are just a few examples of how hybrid clouds will start to emerge.

3) SaaS vendors to pack more of a punch

SAAS vendors are expected to compete more at the platform level as they integrate services such as Azure, AWS and Oracle Cloud in 2018. Due to the ever-increasing demand for customisation, combined with the expected rise of IoT and AI, Forrester is predicting that ‘SaaS vendors will de-prioritize their platform efforts to attain global scale and select from AWS, Azure, or Oracle Cloud’. The report continued: “With Salesforce emphasizing platform capabilities that enable Artifical Intelligence (AI), advanced development of its Lightning platform, Cloud, and their rapidly evolving Einstein solution. Like Salesforce, Workday is investing in its platform with greater depth of features. Both companies need a broad public cloud platform capable of scaling fast to support global deployments, which is one of the primary factors that led Salesforce and Workday to choose Amazon AWS to scale global deployments.” The only thing that could perhaps trip up SaaS vendors is GDPR. Coming into force in May, Madhan Kanagavel, CEO at FileCloud expects these new regulations ‘will catch many SaaS providers off guard’. Kanagavel adds: “Even though a long lead time has been granted to prepare, many enterprises and SaaS vendors will not be ready to meet the strict GDPR requirements. The fact that these regulations go well beyond the physical borders of the EU, and cloud-service providers across the globe will be bound by the GDPR’s guidelines, is where the predicted troubles lies.”

4) Container war will be won

For much of the last two years, a three-way battle between Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos has waged with all aiming to be the dominant force when it comes to the Cloud’s container orchestration, one nor the other has really flagged itself up as the go-to service. However, come 2018, many analysts are predicting that Kubernetes will once and for all take the container crown. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud have already launched managed Kubernetes services. Meanwhile IBM has announced its private cloud will support Kubernetes in its Bluemix public cloud. AWS is also backing Kubernetes in the container war as it joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a platinum member. With powerful friends on board combined with more mainstream deployments, Kubernetes is set to win the container war. How Docker and Mesos react is however going to be just as interesting to see.

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