Predictions for Cloud Platforms 2022

Over the last few years (20192020), 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.

Vendor Lock-in

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.

Availability

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!

Operating model:

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?

Value realisation:

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.

Connectivity

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.”

What can Microsoft achieve with LinkedIn?

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On 13 June 2016, Microsoft announced that it would acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion! The deal is for $196 per share, a 50% premium to its share price.

The deal came as a surprise to everyone. Microsoft and LinkedIn are not sharing market segments, and their focus is different. This was not the only surprise, a lot of industry analysts tried to make sense of the deal, but the bigger surprise was the deal size — $26 BILLION!!!!!

This deal looks huge compared to other technology acquisitions like Skype $8.5bn, YouTube $1.65bn. LinkedIn has around 430 million users (this includes me), this makes the price is $60 per user, Not bad!

Having that said, let’s look what I think Microsoft could achieve through LinkedIn acquisition. This is not an attempt to justify the price though!

Azure case study

Moving Linked Infrastructure to Microsoft Azure would be a great study for Microsoft and a proof that Microsoft’s cloud platform can support large websites with huge demand.

In addition, LinkedIn technology stack is far from being based on Microsoft technology. This will be another success story for Microsoft, it will prove that its leading cloud platform is open to any technologies and not limited to Microsoft technologies.

Graph Database

A graph database is a database that uses graph structures for semantic queries with nodes, edges and properties to represent and store data. The relationships allow data in the store to be linked together directly, and in most cases retrieved with a single operation. (Wikipedia)

What is a Graph Database? A Property Graph Model Intro

Microsoft has its own graph database in Office 365 and Azure. Microsoft provides a single endpoint to be able to retrieve the information from the graph database. Since all the objects are on the Microsoft Cloud (Azure and Office 365), all the information and links between users, files, emails, contacts, calendar…etc. can be easily retrieved and the graph database facilitates figuring out the connections between these objects.

Microsoft Graph — Home

Integration with Office 365

Also, LinkedIn has its graph database which I believe will become handy to integrate with the Microsoft Graph and allows developers to query the data from both platforms using a single endpoint or even enrich the both databases by connecting the dots.

Microsoft focus is the “Cloud”. Hence Office 365 comes to be an important element of the Microsoft story. Microsoft explained in a presentation its vision for the acquisition.

One of the key requirements I got in many of my SharePoint projects was to build a strong profile page within the intranet for the employees. Many organisations suffer from the inability to find the right expertise within the organisation. For example, a company may go to a translation service to translation a document from German to English and pay money and they don’t know that they have employees within the company with previous translation experience from German to English or Native German speaking employees.

Intranet projects usually included a requirement to build an engaging profile page “like Linked” which is supported by search related features to find people by expertise. Other features were driven from the same problem like using Gamification to encourage employees to complete their profile, components to show expertise and customised profile metadata…etc.

I see a huge opportunity for LinkedIn to fill in this gap by integrating LinkedIn profiles with Office 365 or Azure Active Directory profiles. This will allow the organisations to trust the information and employees don’t have to maintain two profiles.

Conclusion

Microsoft acquisition to LinkedIn is a big leap for Microsoft into a new direction with a lot of potential to realise the synergies. however, still the deal price tag is a question mark and will LinkedIn be valuable to Microsoft long term plans.

Related Resources

What is LinkedIn’s technology stack? — Quora

4 Reasons Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion to buy LinkedIn

Is the LinkedIn Acquisition Microsoft’s Attempt to Build Its Own Alphabet?

A Brief History of Scaling LinkedIn | LinkedIn Engineering