Internet today is a ubiquitous phenomenon. There are hardly any realms of our lives left that can do without the need of interconnecting. With user numbers piling up by the second, there is a heavy reliance on data and an ever rising need to manage this humungous data. As a result, Cloud has been a buzz word for a quite some time now. On the business side of it, there has been spike in demand for storage solutions that are agile, cost effective and scalable all at the same time. As per Gartner, public cloud revenue is expected to grow 6.3% in 2020.
So, what’s defining the market?
1. Multi-Cloud is here to stay
In recent times, enterprises seem to have been smitten by the concept of ‘multi-cloud’. With a multi-cloud environment, you have the liberty to choose multiple services from different cloud vendors. You can curate a perfect amalgamation of private and public cloud based on your needs. A multi cloud environment can minimize the risk of downtime or data loss, as your dependency on a single provider lessens. Which in turn also saves you from entering the zone of vendor lock-in. Vendor lock-in is a major issue faced by companies these days that rely on a single provider for their cloud computing needs. If for any reason, you might want to switch to another vendor, due to performance or pricing issues, often companies end-up finding themselves in a deadlock, as moving or migrating to a different service provider incurs significant technical expertise, legalities and costs. A multi cloud model for such reasons comes as a breather with no strings attached.
2. Make hay while the sun shines
Year 2020 has been a tumultuous one for many reasons. With the job market and the entire world economy for that matter, tumbling in a downward spiral, not much was left to look forward to (well at least for 2020). The Cloud sector however proved us wrong, refusing to succumb to the wrath of COVID 19. In 2020, while most of us are home bound with companies across the world implementing stay-at-home policies, there has been a tremendous rise in remote working opportunities. In order to meet greater workload demands, higher security channels and operating a geographically diverse workforce, there has been a significant rise in Cloud adoption among businesses. As a result, Cloud transition has been a topmost priority for enterprises adapting to the sudden explosion of work-from-home during COVID 19 pandemic.
3. Acquisition — the key to stay competitive
Strategic partnerships in the form of research, mergers and acquisitions have been a major theme recently with organizations aiming to beef up their existing portfolios. Massachusetts based Facilis Technology in 2019, entered into a partnership with Qualstar to create high performance media retrieval solutions. Facilis leverages Qualtsar’s LTO libraries for its Object Integrated Archive. Qualstar is a developer of data storage and power supplied having an industry experience of over 35 years while Facilis Technology builds shared storage solutions for collaborative media production. VMWare acquired Carbon Black, a company focusing on securing cloud-native workloads for a $2.1B, while semiconductor giant Broadcom purchased Symantec’s Enterprise business for a whopping $10.7B cash deal. Similarly, Google in order to strengthen its Cloud security portfolio, cinched a deal with Alphabet’s Chronicle.
4. The rise of AI
Artificial Intelligence has definitely become the buzz word in recent times. While it may not really be needed at all times, companies just throw in the term ‘AI’ sometimes to elevate their sales pitch. The world of Cloud is no exception when it comes to adopting AI. Here are some of the excerpts from leaders across the Cloud industry sharing their thoughts on the AI revolution.
“There are several AI in cloud computing trends that matter. The first is the growth of AI optimized hardware and Virtual Machines (VM) in the cloud for AI training. GPUs in the cloud and specialized VM’s for deep learning are allowing faster design and testing of AI systems in the cloud. The second trend is improved tools and services — image recognition, natural language processing, TTS/STT, and other ML services are all improving in leaps and bounds.. They are more accurate and take less space and processing then they did in the past.” — Bret Greenstein, Vice President and Global Head of Artificial Intelligence at Cognizant
“We see a lot around the disaggregated data stack when it comes to managing AI data. Over time systems have become more distributed, hardware has become much faster, and a ton more AI-driven data needs to be managed. Add cloud computing to that, and today the data stack that most innovative companies like Uber, Twitter, etc are building is a fully disaggregated stack. Each core element of the original relational database management system is now a standalone layer. Storage engine options range widely from HDFS to cloud object stores to on-prem object stores. Table catalog choices range from Hive Metastore on premises to AWS Glue on AWS. Data orchestration technologies have emerged as the buffer pool layer.” — Steven Mih, CEO of Alluxio
“AI is bringing new functionality to operations that in the past have not been inherently user-friendly or intuitive. In the world of cloud storage, platforms are becoming more experiential for users, now more valuable to them in ways beyond their conventional role of purely existing for storage purposes. AI is capable of (securely) utilizing user data to provide a more personalized touch to various cloud functions whether it be saving information or organizing and reviewing files and photos.” — Carl Hasselskog, co-founder and CEO of Degoo
5. Disaster Recovery as a Service drives growth
DR as a Service (DRaaS) — Is a subset of the larger Cloud picture. It is a backup service model leveraging on Cloud elements to protect a user against any disruption or outage caused by an unforeseen circumstance. As per an IBM report, average cost of data breach nears approximately $3.92M. A DRaaS is particularly beneficial for smaller business, that lack the expertise or capabilities to curate an effective recovery plan. With DR as a service, organizations can focus on their business priorities, while the DRaaS provider ensures you a seamless business continuity.
6. Kubernetes — the new ecosystem
One of the most popular container solutions, Kubernetes is an enabler technology, optimizing the use of available computing infrastructure in Cloud. It is an open source container orchestration platform that automates manual processes like deploying, managing and scaling containers. It can scale up or down depending on the load, providing an optimum performance. Developed by designed by Google, Kubernetes in now managed by Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The term ‘Kubernetes’ is originally a Greek word meaning pilot or helmsman and is undergoing continuous evolution with projections to grow and diversify in the coming years. The market witnesses increasing partnerships among companies emphasizing their footprint in the Cloud segment. One deal in particular, that stands out in the market is the IBM’s acquisition of the popular open source software maker, Redhat in 2019. Valued at a massive $34B, the deal aids IBM to bolster its presence in the Cloud segment, IBM’s one of the growth drivers amongst mobile, social and analytics.
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