Along with social, mobile and analytics, cloud technologies and models have earned a place as one of the core disruptors of the digital age. And while the cloud market has matured over the years, its interaction with the rapidly growing data and analytics landscape suggests there are plenty more disruptive opportunities for cloud in 2016. As 2016 gets underway, five insiders share their predictions for what 2016 holds in store for the cloud.
Dustin Smith, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at business intelligence and analytics company Tableau Software predicts:
- It's a data land grab. The race is on for your data, Smith says. From Salesforce to Amazon Web Services, the big cloud players want organizations everywhere to move their data into their ecosystems — and not just typical internal data assets either. Data from web platforms like Workday, Zendesk, as well as from machines and devices are now prime targets for the cloud giants. "Are we surprised? Not especially," Smith says. "Data assets are now to companies what oil resources are to nations. This means that any cloud service provider looking to cement themselves as a mission critical foundation for companies needs to make a play for all of an organization's data on their platform. The idea of a building an enterprise data lake in the cloud has already begun to take hold. It's especially attractive given cheap storage options that cloud players provide as well as the always attractive zero capital expenditure of hosted solutions. Companies that have already taken the step of moving their data warehouses to the cloud will be especially open to easy paths for including non-traditional (but increasingly vital) data sources in ever-scalable platforms. This could include everything from IoT assets to social media metrics — all with the intent of building an increasingly connected analytics view of a company's resources and customers."
- Big companies go cloud in a big way. "The tipping point is upon us," Smith says. "Cloud adoption is well past the perception of something that "only start-ups do." Large enterprises from every conceivable industry are transitioning their entire infrastructure and data ecosystems into the cloud. In an effort to do everything from offer better in-store customer service to fully leverage advances in manufacturing, companies from even most traditional and change-resistant sectors are seeing the writing on the wall: Cloud technology strategies cut cost and risk. That messages is impossible to miss, especially as CIOs peer five years into the future and the alternative of massive unsustainable overhead stares menacingly back."
- Cloud analytics helps IT. Keeping tabs on cloud deployment costs, and their capacity to expand rapidly, will lead IT leaders to rely on powerful analytics solutions that are on-hand all the time, Smith says. "If a prime lure of cloud technology strategies is cost reduction and efficient resource utilization, then CIOs must be able to verify that they're getting those benefits. Cloud analytics solutions that allow for digging into both usage and billing data will give IT leaders the power to quickly spot potentially costly services and prevent budget overruns. And they'll be able to do it all from mobile devices, in the middle of meetings.
- Moving data to the cloud gets closer to copy/paste. Self-service data integration and data prep solutions may have been the rage in 2015, but 2016 will be all about simple methods for pushing data from inside organizations as well as from web platforms into cloud data ecosystems, Smith says. "With self-service cloud analytics and data prep now a reality, the chance of letting an individual move data into a cloud ecosystem quickly and easily (and without a technical background) is on the horizon," he says. "Simple solutions that largely decouple the complexity of data integration, staging, and transformation and focus solely on letting business users drop data into preferred cloud databases and warehouses are on their way."
- Hybrid cloud strategies get easier. "One foot in the cloud and one foot on the ground? When it comes to a technology roadmap, this largely lost the "playing safe" stigmata and is now openly accepted as the right path for some organizations," Smith says. "As a result, solutions and services built to support this model will bloom like never before. Everything is always in transition. Even for companies that want to be "all-in" when it comes to cloud adoption, it's not always possible. Legacy solutions, compliance and a host of issues can keep a portion of an IT roadmap anchored on premise. Still other organizations prefer it that way. The big cloud club has slightly eased its "if you're not all cloud you're doing wrong" messaging and started to openly build practices around supporting hybrid deployments. This in turn validates smaller solution players already catering to this need in the market, and will undoubtedly encourage additional entrants into the space. Make no mistake though, this is not a polarity shift in the momentum of organizations adopting a cloud approach. If anything, the fact that hosted infrastructure giants are softening their messaging (somewhat) on the hybrid approach merely signals their confidence of the existing momentum already in their favor."
Sanjay Beri, founder and CEO of enterprise cloud app security specialist Netskope, predicts these trends will dominate the cloud in 2016:
- IT assumes the role of innovation brokers. "Cloud adoption will peak and shift the role of IT from system fixers to innovation brokers as IT professionals develop new productivity tools and proactive policies to help enterprises make use of the cloud," Beri says.
- The Cloud Access Security Broker market becomes hot, hot, hot. "The Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) market will emerge as the hottest market in enterprise IT after nearly $1 billion in M&A activity in the latter half of 2015 alone," he adds.
Rohit Gupta, founder and CEO of cloud security automation specialist Palerra predicts:
- Vendors provide APIs on Demand. "We expect to see cloud vendors selling APIs as new revenue streams,"Gupta says. "SaaS, PaaS and IaaS vendors will be pressured to provide rich sets of APIs, enabling security vendors and application vendors to provide value added services."
Tomer Okavi, CISO for Pepperi, a specialist in B2B mobile sales automation, predicts:
- Security standards for the cloud emerge. "With an increasing number of organizations relying on cloud services, 2016 will witness the formation of a baseline for security standards in the cloud, enabling even greater migration to the cloud and compelling enterprises to integrate cloud based services into their IT resources," Okavi says.
Amit Pandey, CEOAvi Networks, specialist in delivering enterprise applications via the cloud and mobile, predicts:
- The enterprise will be able to achieve "public cloud-like" flexibility, agility and scale in the data center. "Low cost computing infrastructure, seamless scaling of applications, and easy integration into development practices have largely been confined to public cloud services like Amazon AWS," Pandey says. "A nexus of forces including the maturing of OpenStack implementations, container tools/implementations (such as Mesosphere, Docker, and CoreOS), and software-defined networking will lead to enterprises achieving cloud-like capabilities in-house."
- Cyberattacks and data breaches in the cloud could go from perception to reality. "The International working group on cloud resiliency monitors downtimes and security risks in the cloud," Pandey says. "So far no major security breaches or significant availability challenges have affected the cloud. Yet, security challenges are often cited as a reason that enterprises are hesitant to move their computing to the cloud. So far these security concerns have primarily been driven by perception with data center security breaches far exceeding any such events in the cloud. However as more and more businesses adopt the cloud and a greater share of confidential data and apps are put in the cloud by users, security challenges (DDoS or other cyberattacks), data loss and potential outages can increase."