Over the last few years (2019, 2020), I shared my thoughts on how cloud platforms may evolve and shared my predictions on key changes and direction of innovation. This doesn’t mean that the predictions will happen in that year, the predictions could be over the coming years. My predictions are based on my interactions with customers, industry SMEs and partners where I see the challenges, how cloud platforms are leveraged, and the vendors investments.
Here are my thoughts for 2022!
Multi-cloud for the wrong reasons
I mentioned multi-cloud in my post in 2019. This time I am looking at the reasons driving multi-cloud strategy. Multi-cloud is mentioned in many conversations, conferences, presentation and IT strategies. Multi-cloud strategy is considered for many reasons. However, I see that multi-cloud strategies are considered some times for ill-constructed reasons or the wrong reasons. Let me address two of the common reasons I hear.
Enterprises decide to follow a multi-cloud strategy to avoid “vendor lock-in” i.e. to avoid being locked-in to a cloud provider. Going through a cloud migration and transformation journey is a huge undertaking, and a long-term commitment. Hence, selecting the right vendor is important because most probably you are going to spend years working with that vendor and may be decades (I don’t know how cloud will look like in 20 years!). After all, Cloud is the platform for your enterprise IT so entertaining the idea that overnight you can give notice and hire a moving company to package and move to a new house is far from reality.
Also, vendor lock-in is a one type of lock-in. Gregor Hohpe discussed other types in his article Don’t get locked up into avoiding lock-in like Product Lock-in, Version Lock-in, Legal Lock-in…etc.
Architecture Lock-in is a famous example we are facing in IT, when you decide a certain architecture pattern for a new application and you get locked-in for years!
I encourage CIOs and CTOs to reconsider their definition for vendor lock-in and how they perceive “vendor lock-in” within the other types of lock-ins and embrace the long-term relationship.
I have seen conversations online that cite cloud outages as a reason for multi-cloud strategy. I don’t agree with this because any architecture must be ready for platform failures. Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO, said “Everything fails all the time”. You need to think about your architecture resiliency, high availability. AWS offers services over multiple availability zones or regions. The AWS Well-Architected helps cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for a variety of applications and workloads.
If you spread your workloads across multiple cloud platforms, you are increasing the architecture and operations complexity and not directly addressing availability challenges.
Things to consider when you are thinking of multi-cloud
Skills and talent:
Architects, developers and engineers need to be fluent in more than one cloud platform. It is difficult to get your head around a single platform, what about two or three platforms. When I was a developer, it was not easy to be fluent in many development languages!
You need to think about your operating model, operation processes, and the choices for observability, management, security, and governance cross the multi-cloud operations. This will stretch your team and adds complexity to your operation producers. Do you agree?
Enterprises think of multi-cloud as an exit strategy so when the business wants to move from a cloud vendor the other, it can be done. In order for this strategy to work, Architects will always have to consider “cloud portability” in the architecture. Portability will push you towards decisions like avoiding cloud native services or avoiding capabilities that don’t exist in the other provider. These decisions push the architects to settle for the lowest common denominator among the selected cloud providers, and the architectures will not benefit from the new innovations.
Enterprises are investing in cloud adoption. Connectivity is a key consideration. What is the latency, what if the available region is far, bandwidth requirements…etc.
Investments in connectivity is an important factor in increasing cloud adoption and unlocking new workloads and use cases. Werner Vogels included ubiquitous connectivity in his 2022 predictions citing Amazon’s Project Kuiper of delivering fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world. Telco providers are investing in 5G infrastructure, and AWS announced its new Private 5G service.
Unlocking connectivity constraints will unleash another level of cloud value and increase adoptions.
Data mobility and Open Data APIs
Data is the centre of gravity of any workload and it is a value creation for business. Businesses start with a business model, and using the data they collected, they are capable of offering new services, and value added to their clients. Data in cloud platforms takes many shapes and formats, and with the virtually unlimited compute and storage in public cloud, Data is more valuable.
I predict the growth in investments in offering services to smoothly move data between cloud platforms, creation of virtual data mesh across platforms, which will offer data to consumers through Open data APIs. This will be offered as a service for Enterprises to unleash the power of the data and enables new business models.
Definitely data privacy and security will be a key topic for this!
Continuous abstraction of cloud services
In 2006, AWS started with EC2 instances and continued the innovation and abstractions of services for builders. For example, the introduction of Lambda services removed the worry about any infrastructure to execute code. Moving up the application stack will continue and becomes faster. In re:Invent 2021, AWS introduced Amazon Redshift Serverless to run analytics at any scale without having to manage data warehouse infrastructure. I expect abstraction will continue across services and abstraction will go up in the platforms stack, where we see services are integrated and abstracted from builders then they can focus on the business problems rather than the plumbing.
I would love to hear your opinions. Do you agree or disagree with these predictions or do you have other observations to share?
“Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.”