Cloud computing boomed as more work was done online and businesses responded to the global pandemic with digital services. We will see continued rapid adoption and growth in 2022.
We will likely see the focus shift from cloud platforms and tools deployment to improve a particular function (such as Zoom meetings) to more holistic strategies that are focused on cloud migration across the enterprise.
While enhancing the capabilities of remote and hybrid workforces will continue to be a major trend, we will also see continued innovation in cloud infrastructure and data center infrastructure. Here is my summary of some key trends that will occur in 2022.
Cloud continues its growth and evolution with new exciting use cases
Gartner predicts that global cloud spending will reach $482 billion by 2022. This is an increase of $313 billion from 2020. The backbone of almost every digital service is cloud computing infrastructure. This includes streaming media, social media, connected cars, and autonomous internet of things infrastructure (IoT). The advent of ultra-fast networks such as 5G or Wi-Fi 6E does not mean that more data will be streamed to the cloud, but they also mean that new types can be streamed. This is evident in the rise of cloud gaming platforms like Google Stadia and Amazon Luna. These platforms will be subject to increasing investment over the next 2022. The cloud virtual, augmented reality (VR/AR), will be available. This should result in smaller headsets and lower prices. The cloud technology makes all other technologies lighter, more efficient, and more available from the customer’s point of view. This will drive more services to be moved to the cloud.
Sustainability is a driving force behind cloud innovation
Every business that is responsible understands its role in the fight against climate change. This is often focused on tech because of the increased power and storage requirements for digital storage, as well as the energy costs associated with providing “always-on”, 24/7 infrastructure services to customers. The majority of tech companies will spend 2022 investing in innovations and measures that will help them reach their net-zero carbon goals. Amazon, the largest cloud company in the world, is also the biggest purchaser of renewable energy. It also runs 206 sustainable energy projects worldwide and generates around 8.5GW annually. Amazon is now focusing on reducing “downstream” energy consumption once its products are installed in homes. It’s wonderful that sustainability is on the agenda. But for companies like Amazon, the reasons are more than just altruistic. Amazon forecast that climate change will cost businesses up to $1.6 trillion annually by 2025.
Hybrid cloud blurs distinction between private and public clouds
Businesses have had two choices since they started to migrate to the cloud. There are two options available to them: either pay-as you-go public cloud solutions that are easy to access or private cloud solutions that can be customized and more flexible. For security and regulatory reasons, private cloud is sometimes required. This means that an organization can have its own cloud and its data does not need to leave the premises. Companies like IBM, Amazon and Microsoft (the largest cloud providers) are increasing their use of hybrid models, which offer the best-of-both worlds approach. Customers may need to access data quickly and often via tools, apps, or dashboards. Data can be stored on public AWS and Azure servers. Private servers can be used to store more sensitive and mission-critical data. Access can also be monitored. Hybrid cloud has become more popular because many companies have seen the benefits of cloud computing and are now looking for new uses. Many companies find themselves in multi-cloud environments, where they can use a variety of services from different suppliers. This complexity can be reduced by using a hybrid cloud approach. The emphasis is on streamlining the user experience, and making the backend stack invisible when it’s not needed.
AI in Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a critical component in artificial intelligence (AI). Google CEO Sundar Pichai described it as “more profound” than electricity and fire in terms of its impact on society. Machine Learning platforms need huge processing power and bandwidth to train and process data. Cloud datacentres allow anyone to access this data. Machine learning is the basis of most “everyday AI” we see, from Google Search to Instagram filters. Cloud and AI have always been interrelated and will continue to evolve. The “creative” algorithm will lead the AI revolution. This is generative machine learning, which can create art and synthetic data to train other AIs. Language modeling will also be a strong trend in AI. Machines can now understand human language with greater accuracy. These services will be delivered to users via cloud computing, as well as the infrastructure that supports them.
The Rise and Fall of serverless
The serverless cloud concept is relatively new and has gained traction from several providers, including Amazon (AWS Lambda), Microsoft Azure Functions, and IBM Cloud Functions. Sometimes referred to as “functions-as-a-service,” it means organizations aren’t tied into leasing servers or paying for fixed amounts of storage or bandwidth. It promises a true pay-as you-go service, where the infrastructure scales as needed by an application. It isn’t serverless, the servers still exist, but it adds an additional layer of abstraction between the platform and the user, so the user doesn’t have to be involved in configurations or technicalities. Cloud computing’s serverless trend will play a significant role in creating new user experiences that enable innovation.