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Cloud adoption in the enterprise is growing: The average investment in cloud rose nearly 36% from two years ago, with nine out of 10 companies expected to have some part of their applications or infrastructure in the cloud by next year, according to IDG's 2018 Cloud Computing Survey.
IT leaders and cloud experts spoke to us about cloud computing predictions and trends for 2019. They explained that IT pros should prepare for accelerated multi-cloud adoption and expect their organizations to move away from the lift-and-shift cloud migration model. Experts also forecasted that enterprises will become smarter about cloud adoption and said they expect AI to continue to transform the cloud computing industry. These cloud computing predictions also include a warning: The cloud skills gap will continue to grow.
Editor's note: The following has been edited for clarity and length.
Cloud computing predictions: Multi-cloud adoption to accelerate
Scott Crowder, senior vice president and CIO at BMC: The cloud wars conversation will die down -- or, at least, begin to be reframed -- in 2019. A lot has been said about who will win said wars, with Amazon, Google and Microsoft being prime contenders for the winning spot.
In 2019, we will see the industry move toward a conversation around which cloud is better for what purpose. The industry is big enough for all major and nascent players. With multi-cloud becoming the new normal, players will now have to compete on unique and specific offerings, rather than overall market share.
Ed Featherston, vice president and principal architect at Cloud Technology Partners: Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud [are] going to become the norm in 2019. People will still pick a particular cloud vendor that will be their primary cloud vendor. But there will always be some level of on premises. There will always be workloads that don't necessarily fit, so you will always have that hybrid configuration.
Because of the feature offerings and capabilities, people are going to look at more than just a single cloud vendor for their load migrations. I picture that they will have a primary one that they do most of their work in, but it won't preclude them from using other vendors for very specific workloads. They'll have a secondary and possibly tertiary involved, so that multi-cloud and managing all of that is going to explode from a complexity perspective next year.
Andrew Larkin, head of content at Cloud Academy: Multi-cloud solutions will continue to accelerate, because companies have a choice of services. With a well-architected environment, it is possible to blend service offerings to suit a specific use case. An organization may want to continue to leverage the efficiency of Amazon object storage and Amazon CloudFront object delivery, while leveraging Microsoft Azure compute services for core or legacy business applications. The key to a multi-cloud solution is having the knowledge to design API-driven solutions for scale and portability.
AI and automation in the cloud
John Van Siclen, CEO of Dynatrace: IT executives will accelerate their automation efforts, including the adoption of AI, to simplify their increasingly complex, hybrid, web-scale cloud environments.
As more workloads run in enterprise clouds, user experience will re-emerge as a critical success factor for both IT and digital business executives. Today, user experience plays second fiddle to standing up the enterprise cloud and delivering workloads to it. However, as this platform and pipeline are smoothed out, user experience will once again be the primary lingua franca between IT and the digital business owners.
CIOs will shift focus from accelerating cloud adoption to defining and leading new initiatives toward autonomous cloud operations and NoOps to provide greater speed, agility and customer value.
Bill Fenick, vice president of enterprise at Interxion: As companies increasingly integrate a variety of AI-driven technologies across voice, vision, language and machine learning in order to transform their businesses and get the competitive edge in 2019, I believe they will be leveraging cloud technologies as a matter of course.
Moving away from lift-and-shift migration strategy
Featherston: One trend that has already started, and I expect it to get much stronger in 2019, is organizations have started moving away from just the lift-and-shift and going more to refactoring and re-platforming. People are realizing that lift and shift into the cloud doesn't provide the kind of benefits they want.
Fenick: The cloud has quickly become a mainstay in the enterprise. However, early on, many businesses dove into the cloud head first and quickly realized that not only are not all apps meant to be re-engineered for the cloud, but even a lift-and-shift approach doesn't always work. Because of this, in 2019, I believe that while enterprises will continue to adopt cloud in a more ferocious way, they'll do it with a better layer of intelligence on top.
Shortage of cloud computing skills to continue
Olivia Rose, director of global risk solutions at Kudelski Security: Ironically, staffing shortages faced in IT could be exacerbated further by the move to the cloud, as this requires very specialized skills that are in high demand and short supply. Individuals with these skills are not only hard to find, but also in demand and thus every expensive.
In 2019, we expect this trend to continue, but more individuals are obtaining AWS and Azure certifications to take advantage of being in-demand and garnering higher-paying jobs. As we move into 2020 and beyond, the resources are likely to become more readily available.
Kubernetes adoption will continue to grow
Shiven Ramji, vice president of product at DigitalOcean: Kubernetes will continue trending upward as more cloud infrastructure users integrate technology. As adoption increases, more cloud providers will focus on how to simplify the management of container applications and streamline the deployment process. We see a huge opportunity in making Kubernetes easier and more approachable, and that is going to be a focus area.
Read more about cloud computing predictions here.