In 2020, cloud computing will see new alliances and new security concerns

7 Jan 2020

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Forrester’s Dave Bartoletti shares three key cloud computing predictions for 2020.

In late 2018, Forrester predicted that enterprises would start modernising core business apps with cloud computing in the coming year, and that transformation has indeed taken off.

2019 also brought major acquisitions (IBM completed its acquisition of Red Hat, and VMware reabsorbed Pivotal) and surprising new alliances (Oracle partnered with Microsoft on high-speed links between Oracle Cloud and Azure, and VMware brought its Cloud Foundation to Google Cloud).

The always-changing cloud provider landscape changed again, bringing frenemies closer together and expanding the reach of incumbents. Think you know who’s winning the cloud computing wars? Think again, because the battleground has shifted.

‘Even with slower growth on the horizon, this is tremendous success for a consolidating, maturing market on its way to half a trillion dollars in just a few years’

In 2020, we’ll see the public cloud market – including cloud applications (SaaS), development and data platforms (PaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS) services combined – grow to $299.4bn. Even with slower growth on the horizon, this is tremendous success for a consolidating, maturing market on its way to half a trillion dollars in just a few years.

Also, currently, 65pc of North American enterprises rely on public cloud platforms, and 66pc run internal private clouds.

As you prepare for 2020, we predict that the hyperscale global public cloud leaders will form more alliances while refocusing on their core strengths; leading business app vendors will ditch their proprietary infrastructures; high-performance computing will take off; the crowded cloud-native development ecosystem will deliver service meshes and serverless computing; and cloud management vendors will shift focus to security after a well-publicised public cloud data breach.

Here are three key takeaways from Forrester’s 2020 cloud computing predictions:

1. IBM and Oracle will retreat to familiar territory while Alibaba threatens Google

IBM and Oracle will not exit the hyperscale public cloud market, now dominated by AWS, Microsoft, Google and Alibaba. IBM will focus on helping enterprises use Red Hat’s OpenShift development platform – on any cloud – to modernise core business apps. Oracle will focus on its SaaS and autonomous database products, recommending Azure for general-purpose cloud development services such as AI and machine learning, Kubernetes and containers, internet of things, and other emerging innovations.

We also predict that Oracle will ink a high-speed connectivity deal with AWS or Google – it must in order to serve its customers.

Alibaba will generate $4.5bn in global cloud platform revenue, surpassing Google, but Google will retain its third-place ranking for North American clients due to Alibaba’s small footprint in that region.

2. Open-source cloud-native development battles target service meshes and serverless

The hundreds of open-source projects and vendors vying for developer attention in the cloud-native development ecosystem will wage a pitched battle in 2020.

Last year, Kubernetes won the battle for container orchestration and launched a host of new commercial offerings that infrastructure and operations pros are only now learning how to implement, secure and operate. Service meshes promise even more powerful interservice networking, visibility and security, and serverless opens new programming models abstracted completely from infrastructure concerns.

While no one solution has won, Istio stands out today in the service mesh space, and Knative is a solid bet for serverless. Both will most likely be consumed by enterprises as part of a cloud-native development platform from AWS, Microsoft, Google, VMware/Pivotal or IBM/Red Hat.

3. Cloud management players must – and will – tackle cloud security

The Capital One breach in AWS has brought attention to the next big cloud management challenge: securing apps and data in an increasingly hybrid cloud world. The hyperscale cloud leaders will ramp up investment in their native security offerings, while cross-cloud management providers must buy, build, and/or acquire security capabilities that go beyond past identity and access management.

Early moves began in 2019 when VMware acquired Carbon Black to infuse security throughout its cloud management, virtualisation and container products.

By Dave Bartoletti

Dave Bartoletti is a vice-president and principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals at Forrester. He has developed, delivered, supported and marketed game-changing technologies for more than 25 years as a software executive at several high-profile technology and financial services leaders.

Download Forrester’s Predictions 2020 guide for more information on the major dynamics that will impact firms this year.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Forrester blog.