2019 turned out to be an extraordinary year for the advancement of Cloud technology. Let’s reflect back on three powerful cloud trends in 2019, and make five predictions for 2020:
1. Hybrid Cloud established that it will be the dominant business model going forward. Adoption blew past the tipping point as enterprises everywhere have some Cloud presence today. Migration tools, now fully matured, are ready to connect your on-premise infrastructure to the Cloud at the click of a button. Vendors dramatically scaled up their incentivization by offering their own architects, recognizing how eager organizations were to accelerate their digital transformation, while customers saw the opportunity to modernize architecture and save IT costs long term. It’s been a clear win-win for both sides.
2. Kubernetes went mainstream. Jordan Edsall, a Software Engineer at BeyondTrust, describes how DevOps Secret Safe—BeyondTrust’s solution to secure and manage secrets while enabling peak DevOps agility—benefited from building on it: "Kubernetes has been an excellent choice for deploying a scalable, resilient, and failure-tolerant application. The active community and broad adoption mean we get major dividends for the effort we invest and that we are never alone when we encounter something new." Chris Nantau, a DevOps Engineer at BeyondTrust, adds: “Kubernetes helped us solve the hard problems of distributed and microservice architectures by providing a framework of orchestration and service discovery that allows developers to focus on business problems that create value for customers, instead of the intricacies of their infrastructure. “
(Still don’t understand Kubernetes? You aren’t alone! Check out this cute, short video and you’ll be orchestrating your containers in no time.)
3. Data continues to get utilized in innovative ways. Using Cloud concepts like Data Lakes, industries such as healthcare and finance are leveraging the Cloud’s near-limitless scalability to make their data stores performant, accessible around the world, and compliant in ways that just aren’t possible when relying on traditional, on-premise datacenters. James Braun, a Senior Database Specialist at BeyondTrust, is particularly enthusiastic about this trend. “Using services like Apache Data Lake, an open-source storage layer, brings ACID transactions to Apache Spark and big data workloads. Crucially, for the Cloud, this has been adopted by the Databricks service, and I can see a big push in utilizing these services in 2020, blurring the line between big data systems and traditional relational databases.”
Top predictions for the Cloud in 2020
1. A cloud-agnostic mindset will be the rule—not the exception. As we've seen expressed in event keynotes at both Microsoft Ignite and Google Cloud Next this year, customers have learned some hard lessons and are looking to de-risk to avoid single cloud vendor lock-in. Vendors will adapt by building in more integration to position themselves as the multi-cloud solution by tailoring their services to easily integrate with other providers, while maintaining users within their ecosystems. Our BeyondInsight UVM platform already meets this challenge by being supported across Azure, AWS and GCP.
2. Managing identity and privileged roles will become the #1 priority. One of the most attractive things about Cloud is the ability to spin up a resource on-demand. One minute, you could go from being a systems admin to a network engineer to a database administrator (DBA). Its critical for organizations to put proper guard rails in place to secure themselves—without hindering that spark of limitless discovery the Cloud provides. While cloud vendor-native tools can help address this, serious enterprises rely on BeyondTrust and its integrated, best-in-class product suite of Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions.
3. Serverless will go mainstream. As my colleague Jordan Edsall summarizes: “As the market moves forward with the ‘less-is-more’ zeitgeist we're seeing today - toward serverless, toward codeless - I think that we'll continue to see a dissolution of the traditional roles, and a collapse of the divide between 'software' and 'infrastructure'.” Chris Nantau adds that: "Given the trends in making more infrastructure automation developer-friendly, and the push towards defining infrastructure in understandable and predictable ways, it is going to become easier and easier to implement best practices in infrastructure and to monitor solutions for known issues. We're seeing bots that can find dependency vulnerabilities in JS code, fix them, and put in pull requests. Infrastructure-as-code provides you with the opportunity to find issues and correct them before anyone even really notices. Taking that approach means that you're increasingly going to see tooling that takes away simpler maintenance tasks and reduces the burden on Ops/Dev." James Braun agrees it applies to Data as well: “Transitioning to serverless databases in the cloud will drive down the costs of systems which have latent data loads and batch processing.”
4. Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) will become the hottest buzzword job role. Often compared to DevOps, which works on product delivery, SRE is primarily focused on building reliability into a product across its lifecycle. In pursuit of the mythical five 9’s availability, enterprises will scale up these teams to match the customer expectation of 24x7 product availability. Interested in learning more? Check out Google’s introduction book here.
5. Skills shortages will continue to rise, but help is coming. The battle to recruit and retain talented engineers will only escalate. Organizations around the world must either compete on the open market, or proactively train up their existing staff. It’s an exciting time as engineers have an incredible and lucrative opportunity to reinvent their careers with the Cloud. To help onboard and validate those skills, industry certifications have been reformatted to fit into role-based designations. Getting certified is now more valuable than ever, and it’s never been more accessible to learn for free.