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6 trends that will shape cloud computing in 2017

6 trends that will shape cloud computing in 2017

Public, private and hybrid cloud implementations will accelerate in 2017 as CIOs seek to take advantage of the cloud’s economies of scale to build core applications.

Cloud computing has helped many enterprises transform themselves over the last five years, but experts agree that the market is entering something of a second wave, both for public cloud and private cloud services built and hosted in corporate data centers. The cloud market will accelerate faster in 2017 as enterprises seek to gain efficiencies as they scale their compute resources to better serve customers, says Forrester Research in a new report.

“The No. 1 trend is here come the enterprises,” says Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti, primary author of the research. “Enterprises with big budgets, data centers and complex applications are now looking at cloud as a viable place to run core business applications.” Forrester says the first wave of cloud computing was created by Amazon Web Services, which launched with a few simple compute and storage services in 2006. A decade later, AWS is operating at an $11 billion run rate.

Forrester found that 38 percent of 1,000-plus North American and European enterprise infrastructure technology decision-makers said that they are building private clouds, with 32 percent procuring public cloud services and the remainder planning to implement some form of cloud technology in the next 12 months. Also, 59 percent of respondents said they were adopting a hybrid cloud model.

Forrester offered the following cloud predictions for 2017:

Regional players complement ’mega cloud providers’

CIOs who initially elected to build private clouds may find themselves switching to public clouds as they realize just how time-consuming and costly the work will prove. Capital One shuttered private cloud efforts in favor of Amazon Web Services a few years ago, says its CIO Rob Alexander. “We recognized that we were spending a lot of time, energy, effort and management bandwidth to create infrastructure that already exists out there in a much better state and is evolving at a furious pace,” Alexander says.

[ Related: AWS quietly launches cloud migration tool ]

The global public cloud market will top $146 billion in 2017, up from just $87 billion in 2015 and is growing at a 22 percent compound annual growth rate. The lion’s share of this growth will come from Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google and IBM, which have emerged as "mega-cloud providers,” Bartoletti says. They are opening new data centers and making concessions, such as Microsoft’s agreement to have T-Systems manage its cloud in Germany to meet data localization requirements. But the big players won’t be able to service every unique request, which means smaller regional players will see an uptick in adoption in 2017. Bartoletti recommends: "Keep you options open and don't be afraid to use multiple providers."

Cloud cost containment

One popular theory is that CIOs will save money by investing in public cloud software, but that’s not always the case. The fact that most CIOs leverage multiple cloud providers means enterprises are already waist-deep in complex cloud vendor management. Also, if companies leave public cloud instances running through the weekend when they don’t need them, CIOs can actually spend more money than they did with on-premises solutions.

[ Related: Inside a hyperscale data center (how different is it?) ]

IT executives will get better at containing cloud costs in 2017 as their best practices mature. And it’s already happening. Bartoletti says that a cloud architect for a large software company shaved $300,000 off of a $2.5 million cloud bill by monitoring his consumption. And cost management tools from the likes of AWS, Cloudability and Cloudyn are available. “There’s no reason in 2017 for your cloud costs to grow out of control,” Bartoletti says.

Lift and shift those cloud apps

Forrester also recommends that companies refactor apps to run on public cloud systems, leveraging migration services, rather than simply dumping existing apps into a public cloud. The optimum option to move an application is to rewrite it to take advantage of cloud’s elasticity, although this lift-and-shift migration can be costly. “In 2017, lift-and-shift migration tools will accelerate the rate of cloud migration, given their low cost for bulk application migrations,” Bartoletti says.

Hyperconverge your private cloud

Bartoletti says that while more Forrester clients are citing security as a reason to shift to public cloud services not every CIO wants to accept risks associated with entrusting their customer and other sensitive data to a third-party vendor. Like their public cloud counterparts, private cloud services require advanced virtualization, standardization, automation, self-service access and resource monitoring. Stitching these capabilities together into a cohesive system is daunting and expensive.

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions promise to help, offering preintegrated compute and storage resources that help organizations get their cloud implementations running faster. Forrester recommends that organizations consider HCI as the foundation for their private cloud development, particularly for new workloads that demand rapid, automated scale-out. “HCI is quickly becoming the default infrastructure platform upon which to build the private portion of a hybrid cloud,” Bartoletti says.

There’s a container for that

Containers enable developers to manage software code, particularly software developed for cloud apps. Forrester says that Linux containers will be available in every major public and private cloud platform by early 2017. Developers will consume them directly and often build their own stacks to power microservices development. But the new paradigm means new challenges; companies will need to grapple with new security, monitoring, storage and networking issues that arise as containers are deployed broadly in production. “Your first step should be to evaluate the pros and cons of on-premises private PaaS versus a managed public cloud development platform; you might need both,” Bartoletti says.

Enterprise apps come to public cloud

Several companies are hosting enterprise applications in AWS, suggesting that CIOs have become more comfortable hosting critical software in the public cloud. Dollar Shave Club runs Spark analytics software in AWS. Cardinal Health runs Splunk in AWS. Several others are running business apps, such as SAP, in AWS. Bartoletti says you can expect this trend to continue as CIOs rely more heavily on public cloud providers. “Enterprise are turning great ideas into software and insights faster and the cloud is the best place to get quick insights out of enterprise data,” Bartoletti says.

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