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Guide to 2021 Cloud Computing Trends

The cloud has existed on the Internet since the late 1990s, though it looked and performed far differently than today’s offerings. Once e-commerce retailers like Amazon and virtual services like Google Docs launched in the mid-2000s, cloud computing planted itself within the virtual world and started evolving at a rapid pace. By 2021, experts predict that 94 percent of the internet’s workload processing will rely on cloud computing in some form, with many companies switching most or all of their daily front- and backend operations to the cloud.

Want to learn more about future technology trends in cloud computing, including the latest cloud technology developments and upcoming cloud technologies you should expect to see more of in 2021? Read on.

1. Machine Learning and AI Adoption

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are among the top trends expected to see growth in 2021 — though many businesses and companies are already utilizing the technologies across their workforce. Machine learning and AI adoption include features like image recognition, product recommendation engines, energy optimization, adaptive security learning, system failure monitoring, and language processing — and not just for businesses. Consumers also can utilize the same technologies to get better insights into products and interact with companies in a new way.

The growth of machine learning and AI in 2021 and beyond will aid businesses through:

  • Security: Machine learning allows businesses to automate their security features, often using a type of automated reasoning to make decisions about a specific program’s permissions and the efficacy of its malware detection or data security. Sophisticated machine learning can also “see” things from a potential attacker’s perspective to identify vulnerable areas before real hackers can exploit them.
  • Productivity: AI and machine learning can increase workday productivity by eliminating the need for humans to do repetitive or manual tasks. Instead, machines handle these jobs — mundane, routine elements of your workforce — often on their own, without prompting or overseeing. This frees up employees to concentrate on other business areas, proving a better utilization of time and budget. The machine may become quicker and faster at these tasks as it learns more about potential issues. As your machine gathers information, you can use that data to make more informed decisions.
  • Accessibility: In the past, AI was not in the realm of possibility for many companies due to associated costs. Today, AI has become more readily accessible for all types and sizes of operations, with no need for specialized training. AI features are even compatible with individual applications and software for smaller-scale use. 

2. Hybrid Cloud Services

Companies access the cloud through different formats, including private and public access. Hybrid cloud refers to a combination of private and public cloud options, including on and off-premise equipment, to create the optimal setup. Hybrid cloud allows businesses to operate on the cloud within their budgetary and space needs, but without sacrificing the features they want. This is often an optimal arrangement for smaller companies that may have fewer resources but still desire certain features of a cloud-based service.

In 2021, expect to see more businesses taking advantage of the following hybrid cloud computing trends:

  • Security options: Hybrid cloud is ideal for companies that are hesitant to move all data to a single cloud-based location and prefer to keep it on-premise. This way, they get all the enhanced privacy of a private cloud with the benefits of public cloud applications and support. 
  • Remote support: Permanent remote work is expected to double in 2021. Hybrid clouds let businesses enable remote work for off-site employees by putting necessary data and software on public clouds while keeping other data secured on-site. As your remote workforce grows and shrinks, the cloud makes it easy to scale operations up and down to suit your changing needs
  • Increased speed: Hybrid clouds are one method for boosting operational speeds and reducing latency, allowing you to take on more tasks with less downtime.

3. The Rise of the “Distributed Cloud”

Among the top trends in cloud computing is the rise of the distributed cloud. When you want to use the cloud, but your business requires specific geographical or residency ties — whether for regulatory compliance, security preferences, or convenience and accessibility purposes — the distributed cloud is the solution.

The distributed cloud lets you keep and manage certain data and operations tied to the necessary location, while still granting access to the public cloud and all of its features. Departments utilizing a distributed cloud can provide customers with local data processing, resulting in shorter wait times and more privacy.

The distributed cloud of the future will likely see a few different variations or phases, including distributed platforms that act similarly to hybrid clouds for private, industry-based settings, and a larger-scale variation that may include more of the public sector. As distributed cloud applications increase, departments can expect to see more reliable networks, easier compliance with regulations, and an increase in the number of locations — or zones — where distributed cloud services can be utilized.

4. Container and Kubernetes

Containerization, a long-running standard of utilizing containers for cloud-based application architecture and development, will continue to grow in conjunction with Kubernetes in 2021.

Kubernetes, also called “k8s,” is an open-source container software that helps automate clustered container processes that typically rely on manual operation, like scaling, scheduling, and managing. With Kubernetes container automation, departments can save time and make containers faster and more usable on private clouds. K8s exonerates departments of the responsibility and resources for handling some DevOps tasks, like rollbacks, rollouts, health checks, automated service advertising, and monitoring and restarting containers as needed. They also help you replicate clusters.

5. Cloud Dominance With Streaming and Entertainment

Most homes in the United States have some type of video streaming account, with well over half using more than one platform. Today’s most popular video streaming services all use the cloud to power their platforms. This trend will continue to proliferate into 2021, with cloud power enabling companies to host a rotating and scalable inventory with ample storage. The cloud enables consumers to enjoy entertainment free of excessive buffering, even in high definition.

Cloud gaming is another type of cloud-based entertainment that will continue to see growth. Like video streaming, cloud gaming allows consumers to access and play video games on cloud platforms for better bandwidth and server capacity. Cloud gaming is a type of equalizer — consumers do not need the latest console or a PC with top-performing specs to experience the game in the same way others do.

All access to the game is equal, regardless of hardware or device, further opening doors for more online competitive gaming opportunities and business sponsorships. This format also helps developers keep production costs minimal thanks to the single point-of-use and gives better protection against pirates.

Smaller or non-entertainment-related businesses can also harness the power of the cloud to attract and interact with their customer bases in new ways, like video streaming and outreach, making it a powerful marketing and public engagement tool. Use cloud-based video services to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at operations, answer questions about products and services, or give them a better understanding of who you are and what your business can offer them.

6. Cloud-Native Developer Demand and DevOps

The DevOps team’s primary focus is to create, improve, and manage processes — and cloud computing lets that happen. With cloud-native developments, DevOps can integrate application-specific designs with faster response times, utilize advanced tools to get the product in the consumers’ hands faster, and merge platforms seamlessly. This demand will continue to grow in 2021 — especially as businesses grapple with the new changes 2020 brought to structure and workflow — with more focus placed on higher security, scalability, speed, and serverless technology.

7. Serverless Computing

Server technology trends continue to shift when powered by the cloud. Serverless computing either entirely or partially eliminates the need for physical, on-site hardware — you are just billed for the space and features you use, and the time spent using them. This lets businesses focus more on their products, services, and customer relations without having to staff, train, manage, budget for, and operate an entire server.

These serverless trends also allow businesses to:

  • Implement simple, auto-scale platforms with easier backend code.
  • Minimize or eliminate wasted server space by only accessing and paying for what you need.
  • Develop smarter applications and programs with fully managed services.
  • Get faster turnaround during server or business changes.

Serverless solutions will continue to grow, including access to more flexible options, like pay-as-you-go models and as-needed backend services.

8. Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

One of the most significant cloud trends to come out of 2020 is the pressing need for businesses to have a usable, scalable, and accessible form of cloud-based disaster recovery (DR). The sudden shift to remote work, along with fewer in-person tasks, exposed the vulnerable areas in many companies’ disaster response plans, prompting a strong surge of cloud-based solutions as we head into 2021.

When fire, disease, flood, data breaches, hurricanes, viruses, power outages, and unstable internet connections threaten to interrupt your operations, you need a solution that travels and adapts to your changing situation. Cloud-based recovery allows staff to handle tasks from their homes or remote locations when in-person work is not possible. Cloud-based recovery includes more hands-off recovery websites that eliminate the need for ongoing manual support and troubleshooting, with simple-to-use technologies that don’t require special training to operate.

Cloud-based disaster recovery also includes solutions for virtual attacks. Backing up files and information on a cloud server helps businesses continue without interruption and protect valuable data that could otherwise be lost or compromised.

Cloud computing lets businesses take control of their recovery time with automated solutions, flexible payment models, application portability, and the ability to test and utilize your own disaster recovery resources. This allows for far faster service restoration while enabling you to communicate with others in the company and your clientele.

9. Increasing Demand for Cloud Services

According to cloud adoption projections for 2021, businesses that relied on the cloud for 2020 will continue to do so as they move forward. Cloud growth statistics show the cloud computing market is booming and is expected to grow by nearly 18 percent for each year by the end of 2025. The need and demand for these services will continue increasing with no signs of stopping as public and private cloud servers become the new standard for daily frontend and backend operations, information storage, and disaster recovery.

This rapid growth — which includes Business Process as a Service (BPaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) — is likely due to several factors:

  • More accessible knowledge surrounding cloud services, including how they work and what they offer businesses of all sizes.
  • An increased need for virtual means of conducting business across distances.
  • A desire for stronger security and privacy, but without sacrificing usability.
  • More streamlined technologies that eliminate time-consuming learning curves or costly adoption techniques and training budgets.

10. Rise of Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service will see more growth in 2021, as cloud computing increases businesses’ ability to build, manage, and run platforms for clients as a service. Instead of companies relying on their own resources to develop and maintain complex infrastructure, PaaS allows third parties to handle it for them and make those services available to them via private or public cloud platforms. PaaS for businesses makes it easier to store data, test software, develop applications, and increase stability across a platform.

Examples of PaaS might include:

  • Database management
  • Developmental tools
  • Operating systems
  • Network security

As PaaS offerings expand, small and mid-size businesses can take advantage of those new resources to streamline their processes, utilizing those tools to track trends and patterns in their data. Increased availability for PaaS allows a lower barrier to entry with lower costs and less need for equipment and trained professionals on-site. Cloud computing stats also note that, as PaaS and demand for cloud services continue, the market will become more competitive.

While this provides consumers with more options at lower costs than ever before, there will be a continued need for services to aid in managing, organizing, choosing, and utilizing those new features and processes.

Contact Consolidated Technologies, Inc. to Learn More About Our Managed Cloud Services

Don’t get left behind — let Consolidated Technologies, Inc. help you navigate and manage cloud-computing solutions for your business needs. We are dedicated to helping our customers succeed, and have years of industry-leading experience in offering private, public, and hybrid cloud services, backed by the latest technologies and cloud-computing trends. As your business adapts to changes, our experts are standing by to help you transition to cloud-based platforms, like disaster recovery, secure data storage, cloud-native application development, distributed cloud services, cloud communication, and distributed workforces.

Our team is available 24/7 for support, with a dedicated project manager on each account for training and installation. Learn more about our cloud communication solutions and management services and request a consultation today.