Crystal Ball Predictions

We asked our in-house Flexiant cloud experts what they expect to see from cloud computing in 2016. Here are some of our thoughts.

1. Containers become mainstream

In 2016, enterprises will embrace containers and start shifting production workloads onto them. They’ll also start more projects to “containerize” their legacy apps with similar enthusiasm as when they visualized their legacy apps from bare metal.

Furthermore, most of the development effort on software managing containers in 2016 will be spent on two things:

  • Security of containers so they can be audited and verified that they have not been in no way altered or tampered
  • Deployment tools which will integrate into IDE making deployment of code into a container as simple as one click

Finally, orchestration of containers will be a challenge. Solutions like Kubernetes, Docker, Swarm, and Nomad will compete and we’ll see an on-going battle to determine which will prevail.

2. Bigger synergy between IoT and Cloud

With emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, consumption of cloud will increase and the reliance will grow. Marc Olesen, Splunk’s SVP and GM of cloud solutions echoed our sentiments recently in a Computerworld article: “Cloud will become the de facto platform for IoT. As organizations increasingly bring IoT devices to market, cloud will be the de facto platform for collecting and analyzing data generated by these IoT devices and to ensure their uptime and performance.” The result? Increased cloud adoption and a tremendous opportunity for telcos and service providers who truly understand IoT and will manage to help their customers when provisioning cloud services.

3. Big Data analytics offers value

During 2016, Big Data adoption will continue, but the difference will be that companies will start to see the return on investment for their business from analyzing their data. Why now? Companies are overcoming the barriers to Big Data adoption such as limited IT knowledge and skills, budget or conflicting views on data management. Let’s look at conflicting views on data management. Many Big Data solutions are based on views that conflict with traditional data centers, leading to organizational discord and inertia, according to a Knowledgent infographic. For a telco or cloud service provider, if you can provide guidance around Big Data to help an organization realize its plan, overcome budget constraints and offer the skills they need to make it a reality, that’s true added value.

4. The gap between successful cloud providers and others grows

We had two predictions here. First that the gap on features and expertise between successful cloud providers (those noted in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service) and other service providers will become even larger than it has been before. We can already see that the gap has expanded in 2015, but as it continues to widen, providers not at the level of the cloud giants will need to beware. Telcos and service providers need to arm themselves with skills and resources to demonstrate value on top of the giants as well as for their own IaaS. Consider how the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service cautions users against AWS by suggesting that it can be a complex vendor to manage and that “customers must ensure that they receive the level of sales and solution architecture engagement they need to be successful.” This one caution presents an opportunity for smaller service providers to offer their services on top of a complex vendor. This type of positioning becomes increasingly important as the gap widens.

Our team also suggests that Microsoft, the closest to AWS in the in the 2016 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide will be an even bigger contender against AWS this year – making the elephant in the room not so big anymore.

5. Raw infrastructure will become even more of a commodity to a point where the only differentiators will be price and geography

For service providers that believe 2016 presents a chance to grow their business based on raw infrastructure alone, we doubt they’ll be a lot to look at in 2017. Infrastructure is a commodity. You can get it anywhere from anyone based on the price that meets your budget. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best value. 2016 is about value added services. Don’t just offer your customers your own raw infrastructure, offer others as well and add value on top. That value can come in the form of access to multiple clouds, platform services, application orchestration, etc. Help your customers be cloud savvy and they’ll appreciate you and make better use of your services.


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