COVID-19 certainly accelerated some trends. For example, in my view, COVID-19 accelerated the pace and progress of digital transformation by five to 10 years, as companies faced the need to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, involving permanently the higher adoption of remote work, remote education, and digital touch-points. Technologies requiring less human touch and more digital touch-points will be adopted faster in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The global pandemic has proven the importance of businesses to be agile to flex to scale up or down with changes in demand. The pandemic also validated the cloud’s value proposition. A public cloud platform provides enterprises with an agile, on-demand, flexible scale up or down to align with the business’s changing needs. However, the public cloud is not appropriate for all types of workloads. Some workloads are better to be on-premises – using an in-house data center or on private clouds. This approach, for example, delivers better performance and greater compliance with regulations.

Also, businesses are not sufficiently prepared to implement cloud roadmaps due to migration and skills-related challenges. According to IDC 2020 research, less than 20% of applications have migrated to a public cloud to date. Just under 30% of medium-to-large organizations responding to IDC’s META CIO Survey 2020 highlighted migration as a key challenge. 39% cited a lack of skills as an obstacle hindering their rollout of cloud strategies.

A survey of IT decision-makers in the United States and the UK, commissioned by Virtana and fielded by Arlington Research in November 2020, confirmed that of enterprises that moved workloads from on-site data centers to one or more public clouds, 72% subsequently moved some of them back. The top reasons cited were the applications should not have been moved to a public cloud in the first place (41%), technical issues associated with public cloud provisioning (36%), degradation of performance (29%), and unexpected cloud costs (20%).

To achieve success in their multi-cloud journeys, we advise enterprises to use a data-driven, phased approach for moving application workloads, to enable them to make appropriate cloud decisions for hybrid/multi-cloud environments.

In the past year, public cloud adoption was accelerated by the pandemic which led to faster growth. According to IDC, enterprise cloud spending, both public and private, increased 34.4 percent from a year previous, while non-cloud IT spending declined by eight percent.

By the end of 2021, the digital transformation pace will accelerate by 2x, as companies face the need to adapt to a post-COVID-19, digital-driven world. Global cloud spending will grow several times faster than overall IT spending throughout this period.

Here are my cloud predictions for this year and beyond:

  • Prediction 1: By 2022, over 90% of enterprises worldwide will be relying on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds, and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs.
  • Prediction 2: By the end of 2021, more enterprises will deploy a hybrid cloud management platform for on-going cost control, observability, and real-time analytics for all IT operations initiatives.
  • Prediction 3: Cloud waste and cost will continue to hinder cloud adoption. Operational inefficiencies will decrease; however, customers will not see cost curves being bent down without proper instrumentation.
  • Prediction 4: In 2021, we will see joint provider cloud offerings as providers realize they can partner to accelerate public cloud adoption since most enterprises use a multi-cloud approach.
  • Prediction 5: We will see increased containers and serverless adoption, creating a spike in global demand for both multi-cloud container development platforms and public cloud.
  • Prediction 6: Greater skills gap for cloud and AI technologies.
  • Prediction 7:  All cloud companies will grow with the rise of the public cloud; Google’s growth may outpace the market as they become a stronger defacto #3 after AWS and Azure.
  • Prediction 8:  Look for on-premises companies such as Cisco and Dell to offer cloud-like as-a-service consumption options for their infrastructure.
  • Prediction 9: Channel partners will become more important as enterprises want more guidance to know before they go.
  • Prediction 10: Machine learning and AIOPs will accelerate in the management of cloud migration and monitoring. Data from these AIOPs/ML initiatives will require a hi-fidelity approach to de-risk cloud mgmt.

The cloud will continue to be a crucial aspect of companies’ digital transformations, but what will make or break their success is how prepared they are before they take the leap. We strongly believe in a ‘know before you go’ approach, and would be happy to share various use cases that prove the success (see AUCloud’s 30% capacity savings) of this method. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Kash Shaikh
Kash Shaikh

President, CEO, Board Member of Virtana

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