The COVID-19 pandemic was an eye-opener for several enterprises that realized that years of stagnating policies and outdated business processes can cause the entire business to come to a grinding halt when such pandemics erupt out of the blue. Those that digitally transformed their operations earlier were able to leverage technology to enable their workforce to conduct business seamlessly and also create new digital channels for their consumers to transact with them virtually.
The massive growth in e-commerce, streaming services, home delivery of food, grocery, and all other essential items, and the rise of virtual collaboration platforms for remotely working employees were the most common sightings during the pandemic.
A core technology that helped build this digital fortress of support for businesses and consumers during the pandemic is cloud computing. In the first quarter of 2020, global cloud spending rose to over USD 29 Billion.
Read: How to Build a Rock-Solid Cloud Strategy
As we draw near to the closing days of 2020, it is time to see where cloud computing can take us in the coming year.
Let us explore five key trends in cloud computing to look forward to in 2021
Serverless becomes the new favorite
One of the five fastest-growing PaaS cloud services in 2020, serverless computing will achieve greater heights in 2021 as well. We will witness a paradigm shift in application development, which today is done independently, and the serverless cloud platform is configured to work along with the application design. In 2021, this trend looks all set to be reversed and more enterprises will focus on building and deploying applications that work with powerful serverless cloud platforms on offer by leading cloud providers.
Diversification from a one-stop-shop approach
Leading cloud vendors like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, etc., have been trying to on-board as many enterprise systems of a business into their cloud services. It allows them to have control over all facets of an organization’s digital infrastructure, such as computing, storage, and data management. However, businesses have slowly started to move into a multi-cloud hybrid environment to ensure better interoperability of their digital assets with their larger network of partner and vendor systems that may be hosted on different cloud environments. With a hybrid model, it becomes easier for them to share data and information amongst partners that follow different application and data standards and architectures. We may even see a good number of startups that focus exclusively on creating simplified services that unify operations of digital systems across multiple cloud environments.
Read: Why Hybrid Cloud Is Popular Amongst Financial Services Companies
Edge computing to start showing signs of becoming mainstream
By 2021, studies show that the number of connected devices is expected to exceed 46 billion globally. With an increase in connections, the scalability of the underlying digital infrastructure also needs a massive upgrade to ensure seamless performance. Traditional cloud-based services will have to transition into a more accommodative edge computing model where connected devices collaborate with cloud services hosted closer to their actual localized deployment areas. Public clouds work out of an entirely different approach by relying on massive data centers that supply the desired cloud capacity on demand. Distributed service layers that form the core of edge computing are expected to be more common in 2021 laying the ground for more mainstream use cases of edge computing slowly arising from across business domains.
AI will be the cloud’s best friend
From optimizing capacity allocation to deciding the rate at which data center cooling infrastructure needs to work to fulfill assigned workloads, AI algorithms and Machine Learning will be at the heart of all major cloud initiatives in 2021. The already large portfolio of application services created by major players as well as others, which are available as plug-and-play capabilities in modern-day cloud environments, will further see an expansion of capacity, more diversified applications, and optimal utilization. And, all of them will be monitored and managed autonomously by AI algorithms.
Increased cloud penetration, more remote workers, more consumers for cloud services are positive signs of growth in the cloud business. But with massive growth comes even greater challenges in the form of cyber threats. Enterprises will definitely need to invest heavily in upgrading their enterprise firewalls and protection mechanisms. They will have to leverage a large arsenal of weapons that include basic steps such as creating awareness about data sharing and privacy amongst staff members to deploying advanced AI-based cloud security monitoring platforms to enable a risk-free cloud work environment.
Read: Keeping Security at the Center of Your Cloud Strategy
Gartner reports that by the end of 2020, the estimated growth of cloud spending by enterprises worldwide is 19% despite the 8% fall predicted for IT spending as a whole in the year. As businesses of all sizes turn to digital transformation to survive in the post COVID era, they simply cannot ignore the huge potential cloud computing has to help them achieve and exceed their digital ambitions.