In recent years, analysts from various international agencies have noted the rapid growth of cloud services. The real “explosion” in this segment occurred in 2020. Without using public cloud platforms, during a pandemic, companies would not have been able to change the usual business models and enable millions of employees to work from home in a matter of weeks without disrupting supply chains. By the end of 2020, the global market in this industry grew to $129 billion (in monetary terms). This exceeds the figures recorded for the previous year by $32 billion.
The trend towards cloud migration will continue in 2021.
According to Forrester Research, the global market is predicted to grow by 35%.
At the same time, IDC analysts say that by the end of the year, almost 80% of companies will move to cloud services 2 times faster.
Experts say that enterprise CIOs need to promote this solution so that manufacturing can remain competitive.
The high popularity of cloud platforms is due to the wide demand for online services during the pandemic, as well as the widespread transition to remote working. The increased load required companies to modernise their own IT infrastructure, which was not always possible due to a lack of resources. Cloud services offered the best solution to this problem. Migration to them made it possible to reduce the standard IT infrastructure and the costs of its maintenance. At the same time, companies can easily cope with high peak loads.
Today, entrepreneurs perceive cloud services not only as a platform for hosting data, but also as a separate platform with its own set of tools. Cloud platform services (Platform as a Service, PaaS) are recognised as the fastest growing segment. The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS, transfer of computing to virtual capacities) model and the Software as a Service (SaaS, readymade software transferred to third-party service providers) model are not lagging behind. In the experts’ view, the Desktop as a Service (DaaS) model, which allows you to create remote desktops, deserves special attention. According to current forecasts, this segment is expected to grow by 50% over the next 2 years.
After the end of the pandemic, the trend towards rapid cloud migration will continue.
However, the widespread transition to remote working leads to a number of specific challenges. CISO services have to face the following problems:
- lack of full protection of remote workplaces of employees;
- uncontrolled movement of data fallen into the hands of insiders.
Experts recommend that businesses be careful about cybersecurity and ensure that they maintain an ethical workflow so as not to push employees into malicious insider behaviour. In 2020, the share of incidents of a similar nature among all cybersecurity threats was 25%. This number is projected to rise to 33% in 2021.
Previously, active cloud migration was hampered by issues related to information security. They remain relevant today; and, therefore, experts are actively working to increase the resilience of data centres, as well as of private and public cloud platforms to accidents and external attacks.
In addition to the active cloud migration of businesses, their growth against the background of the development of the edge computing technology, which is predicted by leading experts, also draws attention to the security level. According to industry specialists, in 2021, such solutions will penetrate deeper and deeper into various areas of activity.
Analysts say that in 2021, the growth rate with regard to the number of data centres will be 24%. In order to enable centralised clouds to compete with the latest technologies of serverless solutions, it is necessary to rethink the issue of their resilience to man-made and emergency factors. At the moment, there are several vulnerabilities in the structure of a data centre.
- Power supply
- Cooling systems
- Impact of the human factor
Most problems arise from design and maintenance errors. As preventive measures, control of the correctness in respect of the design and installation of the power grid infrastructure and competent redundancy with regard to cooling systems are used. It is also important not to forget about timely preventive maintenance.
To reduce the impact of the human factor, which reduces the resilience of a data centre to accidents by 22%, special attention should be paid to the comprehensive training of staff and detailed documentation of the procedures performed.
Structural changes with regard to data centres are also required due to the introduction of new technologies that are no longer autonomous. Solutions are becoming more and more interconnected, which contributes to their effectiveness. To enable data centres to meet ever-growing demands, mechanisms are created in them that help to optimise the use of resources by reallocating capacities.
Cybersecurity threats also make a significant contribution to the development of data centres. To provide comprehensive protection against new forms of viruses, as well as against new methods of their spread, specialists will further improve the principles of building, segmenting and attesting network infrastructure, including the integration of SASE services.
In today’s highly competitive environment, the quality and speed of service comes to the fore.
For this reason, companies aiming at long-term strategic development strive to ensure the smooth and stable operation of their digital services. For this purpose, managers and IT experts connect different monitoring systems, track sets of understandable metrics, as well as identify emergency triggers.
The desire to make the operation of an enterprise and its services controlled and predictable led to an increase in the popularity of hybrid clouds. While this decision was previously at the hype level, it will enter the stage of conscious industrial consumption in 2021. According to Gartner predictions, the global market for public cloud platforms will grow by 6.3%. At the same time, according to analytical surveys, 81% of corporate users reported that they used the services of two or more providers.
The demand for hybrid cloud solutions during the pandemic is also driven by the need to use not only one’s own infrastructure in the office, but also clouds. Consequently, interest in hybrid IT solutions has grown among customers.
A multi-cloud and hybrid approach that connects different services, including regional ones, brings the quality of applications and software, rather than that of virtual machines, to the fore. In addition, this solution provides the following important advantages.
- Increase in the data transfer rate due to the optimisation of the network.
- Customisation with regard to the IT architecture model and the integrated services depending on the personal needs of a business.
- A high level of security, which is achieved through the use of both private and public clouds, with the possibility to use modern encryption technologies.
By the end of 2020, the size of the global cloud services market was more than $ 250 billion. In 2021, growth will once again be noticeable, which will provide ample opportunities for entrepreneurs so that they can effectively manage the virtual business environment.
While businesses are increasingly moving to a multi-cloud load balancing model, vendors are increasingly creating cross-platform alliances, and this trend will only intensify in 2021. This is facilitated by the high compatibility of data integration platforms and the ease of transferring applications and services from different environments.
The establishment of a cross-cloud environment allows a business to receive a wide range of differentiated services and avoid being tied to a single provider. For conglomerates, this trend helps to ensure higher competitiveness in the markets where the company’s business units are present. Vendors understand that this solution offers them the opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths. In addition, the development of a cross-cloud environment stimulates the introduction of new services to the IT market.
When a unified cross-cloud environment is used, the level of information security increases, however, at the same time, the difficulties that have always accompanied cloud migration become of great significance.
According to a study by Intel experts, IT specialists are concerned about the lack of control over the cloud environment, as well as about the issue of compliance with legal regulations and government standards. In the first case, we are talking about insufficient transparency of the allocated resources. While specialists using a standard IT infrastructure are able to control the load with regard to various applications and services, the level of influence is significantly reduced when these are deployed on virtual servers.
The Intel research showed that 57% of survey respondents considered not only reduced transparency of allocated resources, but also the complexity of working with confidential data, the protection of which was regulated at the legislative level, to be an important problem. These are the challenges most often faced by financial and healthcare companies.
Undoubtedly, the trend towards the establishment of a unified cross-cloud platform will gain momentum in 2021; however, vendors will have to prove the environment security, as well as establish boundaries for data distribution and provide the possibility to assess the compliance of services with the requirements of laws and regulations.
Despite the continued growth of cloud services, experts predict a decrease in its dynamics. While it was 40% in 2018, the projected level does not exceed 24% in 2021. This is due to the fact that leading companies are increasingly giving up monopolar solutions and strive to get the most out of their investments by bringing in a variety of innovative solutions.
As already mentioned, in 2021 and over the next few years, one of the most relevant trends is and will be that of business cloud migration. This is due to a number of accompanying benefits.
- Savings on buying one’s own equipment and maintaining the existing equipment.
- Resource scaling efficiency.
- High speed of activation of new functions.
- No need to maintain standard standby equipment.
- Improving the reliability of IT systems and overcoming peak loads more confidently.
Cloud services offer several interaction models. For example, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers access to the required infrastructure as a service. This model is convenient for new companies that do not yet have their own equipment, as well as for large enterprises wishing to optimise their IT infrastructure.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and Backup as a Service (BaaS) make it possible to neutralise the disadvantages of the standard approach to IT infrastructure disaster recovery. In recent years, the so-called DR schemes aimed at creating backups have become more affordable for the average customer, which means that the need for a second, one’s own, remote platform with expensive equipment has disappeared.
Despite the great benefits of cloud resources, an increasing number of users realise that they are unable to solve 100% of existing problems. This is nothing but a marketing myth. In some cases, clouds can even become a source of additional problems and challenges associated, for example, with information security and compliance with data confidentiality requirements.
Realising the weaknesses of cloud platforms, many companies are moving to a hybrid model. According to Gartner experts, about 90% of users will adhere to it by the end of the year
The hybrid model implies the transfer of only a part of the IT services of a corporate customer to the cloud. The remaining share is distributed over its own infrastructure, which includes locally deployed software and related hardware.
A hybrid IT service hosting model makes the transition to cloud services smoother and easier. As practice shows, many corporate customers still use legacy infrastructure much more efficiently than data centre resources. The leap from one’s own hardware to the cloud is also becoming difficult as, in a large number of enterprises, procedures for operating standard equipment have been developed for years and the principles of planning, budgeting and the entire corporate economy in general are adjusted to them.
To implement a hybrid model of IT infrastructure, which will help maintain the company’s competitiveness in the face of active development of new technologies, experts recommend conducting an IT audit. As part of this work, it is possible to identify shadow services, the functioning of which are not controlled by staff members, as well as to optimise the existing infrastructure. During the audit, the current state of the systems is determined and compared against targets. Based on the results obtained, it becomes clear whether a corporate customer needs clouds and to what extent they need them.
For example, services with dynamically changing loads and peak loads can be put in a data centre. The share of such resources is usually about 25%.
The notion that the cloud has to be reached as quickly as possible, actively promoted in recent years, has been overly focused on its public model. This approach does not reflect the hybrid reality of many cutting-edge companies with complex IT portfolio structures.
In 2020, Gartner analysts expected the global market for public platforms to grow by 6.3% to $ 257 billion. In 2021, the focus is on hybrid services that blur the lines between public and private data centres.
Cloud migration has been hampered for a long time due to significant issues that accompanied it. These included the need to refactor applications and the decomposition of massive data processing models, which led to significant costs. A certain level of mistrust in the security of the solution was also considered to be a key deterrent. After having come to the forefront, hybrid clouds provide the right balance between cost, security, performance, and regulatory compliance with regard to storing and managing confidential (sensitive) information.
Experts say that in 2021, the IT market will finally move away from the bimodal model in the field of infrastructure selection. The use of a hybrid cloud, which allows its users to be ahead of their competitors tied to one vendor today, will become the optimal migration method. Now, to benefit from cloud services, companies no longer need to move their applications to the public cloud. Their own data centres can offer similar advantages.
In 2021, according to expert predictions, heads of IT departments will strive to rationalise the application portfolio, as well as begin to deal with the cloud architectures in a more strategic and focused manner. It is this trend that will ensure the widespread demand for hybrid clouds during the current period.