Executive Insights on the Current and Future State of the Cloud

DZone 's Guide to

Executive Insights on the Current and Future State of the Cloud

From our latest Cloud Guide, we asked cloud professionals what they see in the cloud industry now and what predictions they have for the future.

· Cloud Zone ·
Free Resource

This article is featured in the new DZone Guide to Cloud: Serverless, Functions, and Multi-Cloud. Get your free copy for more insightful articles, industry statistics, and more!

To gather insights on the current and future state of the cloud, we talk- ed to IT executives from 33 companies about their, and their clients’, use of the cloud. Here’s who we talked to:


1. The most important elements of the cloud are scalability, availability, security, maintenance, and cost. The cloud makes it easy for customers to quickly start-up and scale applications on demand.

Customers need easy machine availability that’s scalable, flexible, and enables access to computing resources quickly. They need their solutions to be simple, reliable, and always on. Cloud providers also provide near unlimited availability as well as specialized resources like GPUs and memory.

The cloud provides backup, security, and privacy. Customers can pay per use based on demand. This results in predictable and competitive pricing.

2. There are a number of problems being solved by the cloud ultimately resulting in the delivery of better software, faster and at a lower cost with flexible scalability. There are economies of scale inherent in the cloud. At the big picture level, the most important problem the cloud solves is the inherent disadvantages of economies of scale where small, smart, focused teams have access to powerful platforms that previously would be beyond their reach – financially and operationally.

There are no servers or environments to manage. Organizations have the ability to refocus valuable staff and rent servers as needed. This reduces the data center footprint and avoids hardware purchases.

Organizations can scale infrastructure and services, making them available for everyone in a consumption-based service model. There's near-limitless capacity with the scalability and elasticity to handle demands from various constituencies of an enterprise without worrying about infrastructure, procurement, installation, product tuning, and monitoring.

3. The most significant change in the cloud environment has been the growth of serverless computing as well as containers. Continued abstraction away from cloud primitives has given way to new technologies like serverless. Serverless computing is kicking into high gear. DynamoDB and AWS Aurora Serverless makes it easy to put high-end computing at everyone’s fingertips.

Containers have added to the agility and ease of applications in the cloud and the ability to move on-premise to cloud. Containerization is making a huge impact on architecture in planning, designing, and implementing cloud applications.

4. The three greatest obstacles to success in moving to the cloud are security, data, and perception. There is a lack of understanding of security implications, as well as data security. Developers need to understand the shared responsibility model between the cloud provider and the customer.

Data security and moving data from on-premise to the cloud is not easy, fast, or cheap. Not all data can easily migrate to the cloud, so you may be using a hybrid solution until you can recode the frontend. There is complexity in synchronizing data for hybrid cloud users, including data ingress and egress charges for companies with large data sets.

Organizations do not have realistic expectations of what is involved with public cloud deployments with regards to time, expertise, and expense. There’s a perception the cloud is like the data center, with the only difference that someone else is managing it. It's not. It requires a different set of skills and way of thinking about infrastructure.

5. While the concerns  were not significant relative to the benefits the cloud is providing, the main areas of concern were security, vendor lock-in, and speed and complexity of change. Security coding rests with solution providers. You need to insure they encrypt data at rest and you have the master key, not the provider. Many consumers of the cloud do not understand they share responsibility for security of the cloud with their provider. The cloud is not a fully managed service; the cloud provider promises to build a secure cloud, but the customer is still responsible for configuring their infrastructure inside the cloud appropriately.

As cloud providers continue “moving up the stack” by creating higher level services, such as solutions for IoT, data analytics, and hosted databases, customers risk being increasingly locked into their cloud provider, especially as more data sets are stored there. There is some concern with lack of choice whether we end up with two cloud providers, AWS and Azure, or ten, rather than hundreds. Each one is proprietary and you’re getting locked into something.

While it’s a very exciting time, there’s a danger that technology is changing so fast, it’s easy to make a bet on the wrong horse. The number of options is growing exponentially. It’s getting more complex for enterprises to make well informed decisions. The cloud has turned into a complex ERP implementation. Stacks do not have to be as complex as suppliers are making them.

6. The future of the cloud is more companies pursuing hybrid multi-cloud environments and the number of services to meet specific customer needs. The cloud is becoming pervasive and cloud-based services are becoming the norm for start-ups and enterprises. Currently, 60% of companies are either in the cloud or evaluating cloud strategies. We’ll reach general acceptance of 80% at 2021. Cloud services are becoming a utility like power and water. Everything will be on the cloud with backups of backups.

There will be more services with more capabilities, and more quiet ways to lock in clients at higher levels of value to their business. More services will work across cloud vendors. There will be more democracy in the ecosystem and consolidation of platform definition to establish a de facto software platform moving forward. There will be a proliferation of one-off services offering very specific microservices and APIs that perform discrete functions.

7. Security is mentioned most frequently as what developers need to keep in mind when developing for and deploying to the cloud. Security is always a priority. Adopt the concept of security as code. While security controls are specified by the security team in conjunction with development and operations, security design and architecture are specified and updated by the development team.

This article is featured in the new DZone Guide to Cloud: Serverless, Functions, and Multi-Cloud. Get your free copy for more insightful articles, industry statistics, and more!

cloud, cloud containers, cloud guide, cloud security, executive insights, hybrid multi cloud, microservices

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}