The final weeks of 2021 brought a reminder that with the transition to a cloud-driven world, a future projected by the likes of Gartner, also comes the risk of occasional lost service and the need for fallback plans. Just days before Christmas, Amazon Web Services (AWS) dealt with yet another outage, this time stemming from a loss of power, that struck the morning of December 22, affecting a data center in the company’s US East-1 region based in Northern Virginia.
Disrupted services included video streaming platform Hulu, online game Fortnite, and Peloton’s exercise and training classes. AWS got its recovery going that morning; the incident came just a couple weeks after a prior outage attributed to an “impairment of several network devices” hit the very same cloud service region, though the earlier outage saw more widespread repercussions.
It seems the digital landscape is marching inexorably to the cloud -- though there may be potholes in service to cope with along the way. In early December, David Mitchell Smith, distinguished vice president analyst and Gartner fellow emeritus in Gartner Research, gave a talk on “The Cloud Computing Scenario: The Future of Cloud” at the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference.
He boiled down the future of cloud as being distributed wherever it is needed, ubiquitous, and the underpinning of business. “The future of cloud is about essentially that connection between business and technology and strategy,” Smith said. “There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy and there is no real cloud strategy without paying close attention to business outcomes that you’re trying to accomplish.”
The pandemic obviously accelerated some investment in and migration to the cloud and Smith said there should be continued heightened interest in leveraging such resources. “Nearly all companies, we believe, are going to have a cloud-first principle,” he said. That does not necessarily mean cloud-only, Smith said, rather public cloud is vetted as a potential first option before looking to other resources.
Spending on cloud is expected to eventually surpass non-cloud IT spending, he said, and with that create new business opportunities, business models, and revenue streams with IT being an enabler of digital business rather than a cost center.
Smith laid out a projection from Gartner showing how some cloud trends in 2021 might evolve by 2025, with a prevalence for resources seen now as novel becoming more commonplace. For example, cloud computing is expected to grow from a popular to a pervasive computing style. Application development in the cloud will give way to application assembly and integration. Private cloud is expected to give way to distributed cloud. “That doesn’t mean things like VMware and other cloud-inspired things are going to go away, but the efforts to do real private cloud have been quite difficult,” he said. “Distributed cloud, in many ways, is the next step.”
The stories below represent a sample of InformationWeek’s coverage of cloud in 2021. They may assist decision-makers as they plan for this new year:
Many services were restored that morning, but it was a reminder of questions remain about the risks of concentrated reliance on cloud providers.
Adena Friedman laid out plan to bring more of Nasdaq’s innovations and the cloud to financial markets by partnering with AWS.
The Infosys Americas Leadership Forum brought out perspectives on leveraging the cloud and how technology may help the economy recover further.
Experts recommend that IT professionals working in the cloud deepen their understanding of these key areas.
Enterprises that employed "business composability" were more likely to succeed during the volatility caused by the pandemic, according to Gartner. That volatility is here to stay, so now is the time to get ready for it.
Kickoff for annual conference shows how some enterprises explore new layers of transformation through cloud migration.
Accelerated moves to the cloud made sense at the height of the pandemic -- organizations may face different concerns in the future.