Gartner forecasts that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow 20.7% from $490.3 billion in 2022 to $591.8 billion in 2023. By 2026, the Public Cloud market will double its size today to $1 trillion, also predicted by Gartner. AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud all maintained double-digit growth in Q4 2022, especially Google Cloud grew 32% to $7.32 billion. CDN giant Akamai also unveiled Akamai Connected Cloud and New Cloud Computing Services on Feb 14, 2023. Obviously, the Cloud market is hot. According to The Wall Street Journal, the CIOs are investing more in the Cloud. Why do companies accelerate their investment in Cloud?
A fundamental change to our society
One of the most recent technology breakthroughs nurtured by Cloud technology is ChatGPT, which is developed by OpenAI, who received more than $10 billion dollar investment from Microsoft. As OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, Azure powers all OpenAI workloads across research, products, and API services. Azure’s high-performance computing (HPC), data storage, and global availability are foundational for OpenAI and ChatGPT to deliver the performance and scale necessary to run their artificial intelligence (AI) training and inference workloads. For example, Azure’s Voyager-EUS2, which runs Ubuntu 18.04 as its OS, utilizes 253,440 cores CPUs and an Nvidia A100 GPU with 80GB RAM. The immense HPC capabilities of Azure helped ChatGPT train its model more efficiently and quickly.
ChatGPT is just one very recent innovation enabled by Cloud. Imagining if Cloud had never existed, a lot of things that are commonplace today would not be possible:
- Virtual Work – Cloud computing enables virtual workers to access their resources, such as data, software, and hardware, from anywhere with an internet connection. This means that employees can work from any location, and businesses can hire remote workers from anywhere in the world.
- Video Streaming – Cloud computing allows video streaming services to scale up or down their resources based on user demand. Netflix wouldn’t be able to serve 100 million members across 190 countries solely relying on its own data center, instead of AWS.
- Payments – Cloud-based payment processing enables businesses to reduce processing times, and provide customers with a seamless payment experience. Paypal even established a mission to move to zero data center ownership and has collaborated with Google Cloud for years.
- Drone and Robotic – Drones and robots can be equipped with sensors that generate large amounts of data. Cloud computing provides the infrastructure needed to train machine learning models and develop AI algorithms that can analyze this data and improve the performance of these devices.
- Significant Citizen Development – cloud provides easy access to low-code or no-code development platforms. These platforms allow non-technical users to create and customize business applications and workflows without the need for advanced coding skills.
- AI for Many – Like how the Cloud enables Citizen Development, the Cloud also greatly democratized AI to make them accessible to a wider range of users. Cloud providers offer pre-built AI models and APIs that can be used to build custom AI solutions. These AI-as-a-Service offerings provide easy access to AI technologies and enable organizations of all sizes to incorporate AI into their applications.
- Commercial Marketplace – Cloud not only enables companies to buy and sell software through Cloud Marketplace but also powers Marketplaces for other commodities. Think of how AWS powers Amazon and how Ali Cloud enables Alibaba.
The future of Cloud
The future of cloud computing is likely to involve several key trends, including cloud native computing, multi-cloud adoption, industry-specific cloud solutions, and sovereignty cloud.
- Cloud-native computing: Cloud-native computing involves designing and deploying applications using cloud-native technologies, such as containers, microservices, and serverless computing. This approach enables organizations to build and deploy highly scalable, resilient, and portable applications that can run in any cloud environment. However, there is a debate between CSP (Cloud Service Provider) focused, which refers to the cloud-native services and capabilities offered by specific cloud providers, such as Google Cloud, and container-focused, which emphasizes the use of lightweight, portable containers as the primary means of packaging and deploying applications, with the goal of achieving greater scalability, flexibility, and resilience.
- Multi-cloud adoption: Multi-cloud adoption involves using multiple cloud providers to meet different business needs. By using multiple CSPs and private clouds, organizations can achieve greater flexibility, resilience, and cost efficiency. By using multiple cloud providers, organizations can avoid being locked into a single cloud vendor and reduce the risk of being unable to move their applications and data to another provider. Canonical released a business guide to multi-cloud for enterprises to better embrace this strategy. Google Cloud is also a supporter of this multi-cloud movement.
- Industry-specific cloud solutions: Industry-specific cloud solutions are designed to meet the unique needs of specific industries, such as healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. These solutions provide specialized tools, applications, and services that can help organizations to improve productivity, efficiency, and innovation. For example, healthcare organizations must ensure that their cloud solutions are HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)-compliant in order to protect the privacy and security of their patients’ health information. Healthcare cloud solutions must have strict access controls in place to ensure that only authorized individuals can access patient health information.
- Sovereignty cloud: Sovereignty cloud refers to cloud services that are designed to comply with specific data sovereignty regulations. These solutions provide organizations with the ability to store and process data in a specific geographic location, ensuring compliance with local data protection laws. The Russian invasion of Ukraine alerted the policymakers in Europe to urge Cloud vendors to protect sensitive data managed within a country and prevents foreign access to data under all circumstances, including wars.
The future of cloud computing is constantly evolving and changing as technology advances and new innovations emerge. The same buzzword would likely have different explanations and expectations. Rather than trying to predict the future, why don’t we just focus on the strategy for 2023?
Breakdown your Cloud Strategy for 2023
Every family has its cupboard, every company has its own problems in Cloud Migration. There won’t be a Cloud Strategy that can meet all your challenges in business, however, there are some common questions that you need to answer when you try to execute your strategy.
- Housekeeping your Existing Applications: What would be your strategy for your existing applications? Keep it as-is, Lift-and-shit to Cloud, and migrate to containers. Each of those strategies has its own pros and cons. Check out this article for the best practices. However, before you make a decision, you may need to check the OS version your applications are running on.
- If your application is running on CentOS, keep in mind that the End of Life date of CentOS 7 is June 30, 2024. Make sure your 2023 Cloud Strategy covers your CentOS migration plan.
- If your application is running on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, be aware that it will transition into Expanded Security Maintenance (ESM) phase as the standard, five-year public maintenance window comes to a close. You can either upgrade your Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to 20.04 LTS or 18.04 Pro. In Google Cloud, you can directly upgrade your 18.04 LTS to 18.04 Pro without touching your application or its dependencies. So, no matter your strategies for those existing applications, please don’t ignore them.
- 6 R’s for Existing Applications: The “6 R’s” is a framework for evaluating existing applications to determine the best approach for migrating them to the cloud. The 6 R’s are:
- Rehosting (also known as “lift and shift”): In this approach, the application is moved to the cloud with minimal modifications. This is often the quickest and simplest approach, but it may not take full advantage of cloud-native features and benefits.
- Refactoring: This approach involves rearchitecting the application to take advantage of cloud-native features, such as scaling, elasticity, and resilience. Refactoring can be more complex and time-consuming than rehosting, but it can result in greater performance and cost savings.
- Replatforming: In this approach, the application is moved to a cloud platform that is compatible with the existing application, but with some modifications to take advantage of cloud-native features. This approach may be less complex than refactoring, but still offers some of the benefits of the cloud-native architecture.
- Repurchasing: This approach involves replacing the existing application with a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that offers similar functionality. This approach may be suitable for applications that are not mission-critical or do not require significant customization.
- Retaining: This approach involves keeping the application in its current state and not migrating it to the cloud. This approach may be suitable for applications that are not compatible with cloud infrastructure or for which the cost of migration outweighs the benefits.
- Retiring: In this approach, the application is decommissioned and its functionality is replaced with a new application or integrated into another existing application.
- 4 key competencies for your cloud journey: Strategy, Sourcing, Architecture, and Security.
- Strategy: Developing a cloud migration strategy is essential to ensure that the migration process aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives. The strategy should address factors such as workload analysis, cost optimization, risk management, and performance metrics.
- Sourcing: Selecting the right CSP is a critical factor in cloud migration. The CSP should be evaluated based on factors such as service offerings, pricing, security, compliance, and support.
- Architecture: Cloud architecture involves designing the infrastructure and services required for cloud migration. This includes selecting the appropriate cloud services and tools, designing the network and security architecture, and defining data management and storage solutions.
- Security: Security is a crucial factor in cloud migration. It involves identifying and mitigating risks associated with cloud services, such as data breaches, cyber-attacks, and compliance violations. Security considerations should be integrated into the cloud migration strategy, architecture, and operations. In January 2023, Ubuntu Pro enters general availability. The Ubuntu Pro subscription expands Canonical’s ten-year security coverage and optional technical support to an additional 23,000 packages beyond the main operating system. It is ideal for organizations looking to improve their security posture, not just for the Main repository of Ubuntu, but for thousands of open-source packages and toolchains.