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2018 was a landmark year for cloud with a flurry of mergers and acquisitions, perhaps none more so than the IBM bid to acquire Red Hat, the Kubernetes supporter through Red Hat OpenShift and open source powerhouse behind Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This and other new alliances are certain to accelerate technological advances that set a new standard for adoption. The volume and impact of changes have forced organizations to rethink how they define cloud for their business goals and infrastructures.
Looking ahead to 2019, organizations will likely focus on shifting their cloud strategies from the low-end infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) opportunity to instead extracting valuable data from their business processes; integrating data across the enterprise and with external data sets; and applying new, innovative services such as AI, blockchain and analytics to that data.
Organizations will need hybrid and multicloud environments comprised of the right tools and infrastructure to help get their jobs done more efficiently. At IBM, we believe the following cloud trends will gain momentum as enterprises continue into the next phase of their cloud journey.
1. Hybrid multicloud architectures will replace the “one-cloud-fits-all” approach.
According to research from Ovum, while 20 percent of business processes have already moved to the cloud, 80 percent of mission-critical workloads and sensitive data are still running on-premises because of performance and regulatory requirements. As they enter the next phase of their cloud journey, many organizations will be moving away from “one cloud fits all”.
Public cloud may be a key to cost effectively accelerating digital transformation, but many enterprise data centers aren’t going anywhere, nor should they. Not every workload is a candidate for the public cloud. Businesses will increasingly drive value from the integration of public and private clouds as they seek to get the most out of their cloud investments by taking a hybrid multicloud approach. A hybrid multicloud environment uses a combination of on-premises, private cloud and public cloud architecture, with best-in-class resources from different cloud vendors.
2. Companies will increasingly embrace open cloud technology.
Most major companies have already embraced the concept of open source to help them avoid lock-in and allow them to choose from more vendors. We believe open technology enables interoperability of applications, platforms and data. We believe open technology projects developed in communities committed to open governance tend to attract the largest ecosystems and most expansive markets.
In the coming year, we predict the more advanced companies will identify new opportunities for containers, using open source Kubernetes to arrange them into clusters that support microservices across multiple clouds. Open management tools will be essential to administering, securing and updating those clusters over time.
3. Cloud skills and culture will be the key to cloud adoption.
As organizations embrace a hybrid multicloud approach, IT organizations will undergo a culture shift in the way that they work. They will need teams equipped with new skillsets, such as cross-platform tool and automation experience, and knowledge of API management and data integration best practices. Job titles such as cloud architect, cloud project manager, cloud service broker and cloud automation engineer will become increasingly common to manage emerging hybrid cloud environments.
4. As cloud adoption rises, developers must put security first.
Gone are the days of siloed IT processes in which an application was developed and then security put in place to protect the app. As enterprises enter the next phase of the cloud journey, they’ll use a mix of public clouds, private clouds and on-premises IT.
We often find that many enterprises are already managing between five to 16 different cloud vendors, which can introduce new risks and vulnerabilities due to lack of consistent management, control and visibility into the threat posture of applications and data.
To help overcome these challenges, developers can integrate security even earlier into the app development process and a DevSecOps culture will begin to take root in the enterprise. Incorporating security best practices into every facet of application design and deployment will provide greater application visibility, control and protection.
5. There will be an explosion of edge computing.
The continued convergence of IT and telco will bring edge computing to the forefront in 2019, creating a surge of new opportunities for companies to use new technologies and computing power. The scale and value of edge computing will increase, meaning that companies will be positioned to increasingly drive innovation, expand automation and reduce response times in low-bandwidth locations.
Hybrid cloud platforms and software-defined networks will increasingly use edge networks, giving companies improved visibility and the ability to analyze, protect and harvest valuable data from sensors, cameras and pieces of industrial equipment. Open, interoperable technologies mean that edge locations stay in sync with the cloud to ensure a consistent experience throughout.
With enterprises rapidly entering the next chapter of cloud, it’s an exciting time to work in IT. IBM has been investing to lead in the emerging, high-value segments of the market, from hybrid multicloud to AI, security, quantum and blockchain. We’re looking forward to seeing the new value that businesses generate using cloud in 2019.
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