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Prepare for these cloud computing technologies in 2018

It seems that every year, a new set of cloud computing technologies emerge and shake up the enterprise market. Containers and serverless were buzzworthy in 2017, but what other new trends will this year bring?

AI is expected to be a hot topic, as organizations look to gain more business value out of their data, and cloud security will continue to garner a lot of attention, especially if – or when — more breaches make headlines. Meanwhile, many enterprises in 2018 will prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation, and its effect on their compliance policies.

We asked members of the SearchCloudComputing Advisory Board to share which cloud computing technologies and trends they think are worth following closely this year. Here are their responses:

Gaurav “GP” Pal

2017 saw rapid growth and adoption in public cloud services from major providers, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. A number of other cloud providers, including Google and IBM, also managed to score a few high-profile wins. Clearly, commercial cloud computing platforms are here to stay and have rapidly evolved way beyond infrastructure services. Now, these platforms are increasingly focused on business and data services to deliver greater agility and innovation.

2018 promises to be an exciting year and will be all about security, AI and voice-commerce. The continued high-profile data breaches have spurred government agencies to drive new regulations to force companies to take cybersecurity and privacy concerns more seriously. New York’s Department of Financial Services mandated specific cybersecurity and compliance requirements in 23 NYCRR 500, while the Department of Defense mandated the use of NIST SP 800-171 security guidelines by suppliers. More sectors and industries will be forced to seriously evaluate their cloud security posture and make investments to ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability of their digital assets.

After years of hype, AI will finally take off in 2018 due to the confluence of multiple factors, including big data, cybersecurity issues and new user interfaces using voice commands. Major cloud platforms increasingly offer easier-to-use AI-enabled services. For example, AWS GuardDuty is an AI-enabled cybersecurity service that analyzes thousands of log records to provide anomalies and patterns.

AI adoption by mainstream businesses will be driven through the creation of specialized decision support systems (DSS). DSS is an old technology that will get a new lease of life through cloud-platforms and AI services that will support decision-making and provide major productivity enhancements for businesses. For example, one can see a CIO or CFO within an organization having access to a DSS that helps answer specific questions like, “Should I buy this software?” In part, the emergence of voice-driven interfaces through devices like Alexa will drive the rapid adoption of DSS.

Bill Wilder

Sometimes the best way to predict tomorrow’s weather is to look out the window today. I expect the cloud weather in 2018 will look a lot like it did in 2017. Expect to see the march of packaged machine learning and chatbot services progress with new features. In addition, serverless computing will continue to take mind- and market-share from traditional IaaS and PaaS models, as it’s more flexible, less costly and more fun.

To pinpoint other cloud trends in 2018, we can look to privacy and security. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on March 25, 2018 and includes sweeping new rules for data privacy protections for individuals in the EU, with harsh penalties for non-compliance. I forecast two outcomes:

  1. For many businesses, implementing new privacy measures will have a side-effect of better overall security processes, including encryption and password protection, and;
  2. Companies will double-down after seeing other companies hit with big penalties.

Part of this cycle may be delayed, as companies not based in the EU belatedly realize that GDPR applies to them because they do business there. Aside from GDPR, expect the big three public cloud platform providers — Amazon, Azure and Google — to continue to have stellar security records at unprecedented scale, enhancing their collective reputation as the least risky home for the majority of modern compute workloads.

Chris Wilder

I think 2018 is going to be the year of software-defined everything. I think we’re moving away from really expensive hardware… [and] are living in a point where we need to be able to use commodity-based hardware just to reduce the cost of our infrastructure. This is the year that software-defined anything — especially SDN — really takes off.

I think we’re still going to see application containers. There’s still going to be a foothold there, but when you get past that, it’s probably still early for Linux containers. Containers are an interesting way for organizations to pass and process information really quickly; it’s an interesting way to manage information. When you look at DevOps environments… and the development world, containers are just going to be massive.

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