20 Experts Share Predictions for Cloud in 2020 and Beyond

20 Experts Share Predictions for Cloud in 2020 and Beyond

As part of our Cloud Insight Jam, we got in touch with several experts and asked for their predictions on cloud computing in 2020. These experts represent the top cloud vendors, cloud solutions providers, and IT software companies, and have decades of combined experience with operating solutions inside the cloud. We’ve compiled 26 quotes from 20 experts on where they see the field of cloud in 2020 and beyond.

Thanks to all of these experts for submitting their quotes and advice — and be sure to follow us on Twitter all day for insights, advice, and best practices on cloud computing during our #CloudInsightJam!

Haoyuan Li, Founder and CTO, Alluxio

The Rise of the Hybrid Cloud

“We’ve been hearing people talk about the hybrid cloud for the past three years now. And for the most part, that’s all it’s been – talk. 2020 is the year it gets real. But first, what does hybrid cloud actually mean? Red Hat defines hybrid cloud as “a combination of two or more cloud environments—public or private.” We are seeing large enterprises refusing to add capacity on-prem to their Hadoop deployments and instead invest in the public cloud. But they are still not willing to move their core enterprise data to the cloud. Data will stay on-prem and compute will be burst to the cloud, particularly for peak demands and unpredictable workloads. Technologies that provide optimal approaches to achieve this will drive the rise of the hybrid cloud.”


Nik Koutsoukos, CMO and Evangelist, Catchpoint

High Profile IT Outages Will Continue

“In 2019, major brands like Target, British Airways, Facebook and Twitter all experienced major IT outages. 2020 will be no different as we expect to see some high-profile project failures and/or outages. Digital transformation opportunities are encouraging companies to take risks, but the stakes are high as the technology is being stretched to its limits. The deployment and use of multi-cloud/hybrid service architectures are creating fragile environments where many accidents are just waiting to happen.”


Mark Geene, CEO, Cloud Elements

Some of the Coolest “Products” Will Be Integrations

“Work has changed. We’ve seen the “decomposition” of software applications into tens of thousands of best-of-breed applications, complicating the very nature of work […] thankfully, we’re rapidly moving into a new era of pre-built integrations and powerful new tools that even non-developers can use to quickly and easily integrate their ecosystem of apps. This is unleashing a new kind of innovation, one where enterprises and software companies alike can quickly create entirely new, business processes harmonized across multiple applications. Whether it’s connecting up the many disparate apps required to manage the workforce in a big enterprise, or it’s fintechs and traditional finserv players vying to create the next killer open banking application, 2020 will be the biggest year yet for “productized integrations.”


Aron Brand, CTO, CTERA

Edge Computing Will Go Mainstream

“2020 will mark a notable shift in enterprise IT as the dawn of a new era of edge computing arises. The first-generation model of centralized cloud computing and storage has now run its course, and most of the new opportunities for enterprise data management reside at the edge. […] Such data growth outside the datacenter is the new reality, and it’s creating a need for enterprises to deploy computing power and storage capabilities at the network edge, aka edge computing. Enterprises are already investing in edge computing to move faster, to have data continuously available, and to improve data security. As edge computing goes mainstream in enterprise IT in 2020, edge-to-cloud architectures that manage data centrally while making it instantly available to users at the edge will be a key enabler for business success.”


David Linthicum, Chief Cloud Strategy Officer, Deloitte Consulting

The Rise of the “Omni Cloud”

“In 2020, I believe we’ll see the rise of the “Omni Cloud,” or what multi-cloud will become. Basically, the abstraction above the physical public clouds, providing common ways to access storage, processing, databases, compute, and HPC. This will likely be more of an idea than an actual thing in 2020, but it will be game changing in terms of how we deal with complex heterogenous cloud deployments.”

Public Cloud Providers Will Need to Adopt to Multicloud

“In 2020, I also believe we’ll see public cloud providers finally accept that they will most often be deployed as part of a multi-cloud architecture. Thus, we’ll see native public cloud tools that will be focused on managing, securing, and governing several cloud brands, all from a single cloud brand. At the end of the day, this can provide public cloud providers with a key advantage that they are able to exploit to grow the use of public cloud in general. Who will be first?”


Douglass Fallstrom, VP of Product and Operations, Hammerspace

There Will Be More Cloud-Native Serves That Serve Data Across Hybrid Cloud

“Each of the big clouds is looking to capture more enterprise data by moving in this direction, but there are also other players who look to unify all environments. This isn’t software defined storage exactly, the model is more about stretching cloud services into the data center, as opposed to deploying storage on commodity hardware to reduce cost. The idea is that users should have a consistent experience from the services they run in the cloud, but across their infrastructure. This cloudification of data is a necessary step in seeing hybrid cloud fulfill its potential, but there is a risk that customers may trade one set of vendor lock-ins for another. They should ask themselves, “Am I gaining the freedom to use my data across all sorts of clouds and services? Or am I locking myself into just another ecosystem?”


Adam Stern, Founder and CEO, Infinitely Virtual

Users Might Turn on Hyperscale Cloud Providers

“A growing number of users who gravitated to Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or other “one-stop” commodity providers are on the verge of turning negative on the cloud. They’re looking for vendors to help them do what they originally sought from cloud computing: that is, save on everything from engineering to equipment to support by delivering a truly turnkey offering. This disaffection is tied less to cloud computing as a concept or a platform than to issues around execution; today’s commodity cloud simply doesn’t have everything baked-in, as the early adopters experienced.”

Managed Service Provider (MSP) Adoption Will Surge

“2020 may well be defined by the question: “Who’s an MSP?” In the year ahead, both sides in the industry will become more like the other. Where users once stressed about the hybrid cloud (“What is it? Is it for me? Who will decipher it for my organization?”) or some other permutation of IaaS, the market will continue to evolve in the user’s direction, thanks largely to the managed services option. When an organization can deploy Azure or AWS but entrust day-to-day management to a more responsive (local) provider, everyone wins.”

Paul Dix, CTO and Cofounder, InfluxData

Multicloud Is BS for the Enterprise, But Critical for Vendors

“I think that in 2020, enterprise tech customers will finally realize that pursuing a multi-cloud strategy is proving to be worthless. It takes enormous effort and adds a lot of complexity to build systems that can switch between different public clouds for the relatively meager benefit of hedging against outages and vendor lock-in. Of course, technology vendors must continue to build solutions that work across all major public clouds in order to satisfy the demands of a diverse base of customers that each choose cloud providers based on their specific needs. But for tech customers, the goal of hedging against failures is just not meaningful when prolonged outages among major cloud providers, the kind that would require a company to shift operations to another cloud, have been practically non-existent. As for avoiding vendor lock-in, it ends up being more expensive for end-users to build the same system in multiple clouds than to build for your cloud of choice and then possibly move to another cloud if the terms or functionality get bad.”


Evan Kaplan, CEO, InfluxData

Cloud Is the Future Business Model for Open Source Companies

“The coming year will show that cloud-based applications are the winning monetization strategy for open-source software companies. While the first generation of companies that developed open-source software tried to use a paid customer support and training model, the last couple of years have shown that to be unsustainable. In 2020, pay-per-use, cloud-based services will take hold as the leading business model for open-source companies. As enterprises increasingly focus on agility and time-to-value, cloud-based services can deliver speed and scalability for customers that are willing to pay and by extension they offer a source of revenue for software companies that want to develop and monetize open-source technology.”


Greg Keller, Chief Strategy Officer, JumpCloud

Cloud Transportability Becomes a Reality

“The war over cloud compute dominance is a real one between Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Recent announcements from these vendors (Google in particular) are showing the acquiescence to polarize and consolidate where computing is done, in favor of transportability of assets between them. Kubernetes and the vendor ecosystem surrounding this will be a very specific sector to watch.”


Tej Redkar, Chief Product Officer, LogicMonitor

Immersion in Platform as a Service (PaaS)

“When it comes to DevOps, companies are looking for more than just tools. They are looking for platforms that play nice with their current tool offerings while also adding value with artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. Between 2019’s public cloud adoption rate of 94% and private cloud adoption rate of 72%, I predict a strong shift in 2020 toward flexible platforms that can be adapted to the unique needs of the company rather than tools that offer out-of-the-box solutions.”


Jonathan LaCour, CTO, Mission

Kubernetes’ Popularity Will Continue Into 2020

“Kubernetes is exciting to application developers because it’s vendor-agnostic and provides automation for deployment, operations, and scaling for microservices-based applications. While Kubernetes can simplify development, operations, and scaling, it’s also quite a complex beast, which can make it challenging to operate. Early adopters of Kubernetes discovered that while they were seeing the benefits in their application, they were spending an increasing amount of time and effort managing Kubernetes itself. AWS, Microsoft, and Google now all offer fully-managed Kubernetes services, freeing the next wave of Kubernetes adopters to reap the benefits without having to take on the complex task of managing Kubernetes itself. As a result, an increasing number of workloads will make the leap to Kubernetes in 2020, and the ecosystem of tools surrounding Kubernetes will continue to explode.”

AWS Will Release More Serverless Computing Services

AWS introduced Lambda in 2014 to much fanfare, pioneering “serverless” computing. Since 2014, AWS has rapidly evolved Lambda, making it more flexible, powerful, and usable. But, these days, serverless is about much more than just “functions,” like AWS Lambda. AWS has introduced an entire suite of fully-managed services that enable customers to build and run serverless applications, covering compute, storage, orchestration, databases, analytics, and more. By leveraging these services — such as AWS Lambda, AWS Fargate, Amazon S3, DynamoDB, Aurora Serverless, and Amazon API Gateway — application developers can create sophisticated, powerful, and cost efficient applications that require no management or maintenance of servers or the underlying execution environment. In 2020, I expect AWS to introduce dozens of new services and features that continue to drive serverless adoption, while the other hyperscalers will race to follow their lead.”

Microsoft Will Continue to Challenge Amazon’s Public Cloud Market Leadership

“Public cloud represents the largest growth market in the history of computing, and the race for market share has been heating up over the past few years. AWS is the clear market leader, but both Microsoft and Google have been pushing to win a slice of the market. Google has made interesting advances technically, but has struggled to gain a foothold selling into enterprise. Microsoft, on the other hand, has made a huge investment in leveraging its existing enterprise install base and enterprise sellers to push its Azure cloud service. In late October of 2019, Microsoft surprised many by winning the $10B JEDI contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. AWS had been widely considered the clear leader for the contract, so much so that Oracle sued, alleging that the requirements were stacked in their favor. The victory is a huge boost for Microsoft, and a blow to AWS.”


Chris Patterson, Senior Director of Product Management, Navisite

The Oracle-Amazon/Azure War Will Escalate to New Heights

“Cloud migrations introduce an opportunity to evaluate and switch to other databases, such as Amazon Aurora or Azure SQL MI, since the process takes the same amount of effort, regardless of whether a company is sticking with its existing vendor or selecting a new one. This trend is disrupting the enterprise database market – most notably, pitting Oracle against Amazon, with the latter rapidly gaining ground. […] Regardless of which vendor takes the top spot, organizations will be the true winners of this race, by taking advantage of the myriad benefits the cloud has to offer while gaining access to more providers and services than ever before.”

Our MSP Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top cloud managed service providers for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as questions you should ask vendors and yourself before buying. We also offer an MSP Vendor Map that outlines those vendors in a Venn diagram to make it easy for you to select potential providers.

Amol Dalvi, VP of Product, Nerdio

Recurring Cloud and Managed Services Will Help Managed Service Providers Evolve

“Recurring cloud and managed services is the way MSPs will have to evolve their business. No longer will it be possible for to survive making a one-off service or technology. Many MSPs aren’t equipped with a business model that allows them to grasp making money in a cloud world, so to stay competitive in 2020 they will need to adopt a business model based on recurring revenue.”


Vadim Vladimirskiy, CEO, Nerdio

Public Cloud Adoption Will Rise Thanks to Managed Service Providers

“Public cloud adoption will continue to rise as a result of MSPs seeking a more secure IT environment, as it’s currently a top concern causing them to rethink the continued feasibility of their practice and offerings. Public cloud is a huge comfort here because if MSPs store their data and apps with someone like Microsoft – they get the work and knowledge of thousands of people who are dedicated solely to security.”


Wally MacDermid, Vice President of Cloud, Scality

Hybrid Cloud Will Become the Dominant Architecture for Enterprises

“Microsoft Azure (Azure Arc, Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack Edge), Amazon Web Services (AWS Outpost, VMware on AWS) , and Google (Anthos, Google Kubernetes Engine) are all investing heavily not only in solutions that connect on-premises infrastructure to their own public clouds, but also in cross-cloud interoperability and management. This blurring of lines between vendors and technologies is an excellent development for enterprises who are looking not to be locked into a single vendor, but for the best technology to solve specific business problems.”


Frank Jablonski, VP of Global Marketing, SIOS Technology

DevOps Will Transition Companies to Cloud-Native Implementations

“Enterprises will seek to take full advantage of the cloud’s agility by re-architecting their application/technology stacks to optimize them specifically for the cloud environment. IT departments regularly use a “lift and shift” approach to migrating applications to the cloud, but the effort still requires some changes to ensure meeting desired service levels owing to some differences between private and public infrastructures. After the initial wave of migration to the cloud is optimized, DevOps will drive re-architecting their application/technology stacks to a cloud-native implementation to take further advantage of the cloud’s greater efficiency, reliability, scalability and affordability.”

Resellers and System Integrators Will Play a Vital Role in Moving Apps to the Cloud

“As the migration of enterprise applications to the cloud accelerates and matures, the need to ensure mission-critical high availability (HA)will create opportunities for resellers and system integrators. This window of opportunity is forming as enterprises seek more robust HA solutions that have yet to be fully integrated into the application and system software. Some system integrators may have the expertise and resources needed to leverage opensource software in their Linux offerings. But an increasing percentage will choose to integrate solutions purpose-built to provide HA and disaster recovery protections, as these have proven to be more dependable for the customer, while also being just as (if not more) profitable for the integrator.”


Laurent Bride, COO and CTO, Talend

Organizations Are Looking to Best of Breed Cloud Technologies

“Rather than consolidation, organizations will look to best of breed cloud technologies to provide the services that they need for their enterprise deployments. The agility provided through the flow and exchange of data across companies will become more critical as organizations are looking to optimize their operations and maximize ROI. We will see a trend of the top cloud providers joining forces to house their applications in each other’s environments.”


Vincent Lam, Head of Cloud, Talend

Open Source Technologies Will Spur Multicloud Adoption

“Open source technologies enable a common environment across different cloud environments because they are cloud agnostic, and easy to run. The ability to accommodate an array of applications and host them in any cloud or open source containers will help spur multi-cloud adoption. Public cloud providers; like Azure ARC, Google Anthos and Amazon Outposts; will leverage multi-cloud deployments powered by their stacks. While the use case is still rare today, the movement will pick up in 2020, as more enterprises realize the capabilities of open source technologies in cloud environments.”


Karthik Ranganathan, Founder and CTO, Yugabyte

Multicloud Deployments Will Accelerate

“Multi-cloud deployments are becoming the norm in today’s enterprise. In 2020, this trend will continue to accelerate. A multi-cloud approach is critically important for organizations that run on-premise, since they need to stay in a hybrid mode when moving microservices to the cloud. As a result, we expect to see enterprises widely embrace distributed SQL databases to ensure agility without the availability constraints of traditional monolithic databases, like Oracle.”

Companies Will Trade Oracle Solutions for Cloud-Native Databases

“In the decade ahead, organizations of all sizes will continue to eschew Oracle for cloud-native databases, shrinking the user base of the monolithic legacy provider. Two major trends driving this activity are the ongoing move to microservices-based redesign of applications and the rise of cloud-native deployments running in public clouds or Kubernetes. Overall, Oracle has lost market share every year since 2013, and legacy relational database players have dropped about five percentage points per year. Major organizations, such as Amazon and Salesforce, have already figured out that it’s to their benefit to use less, not more, Oracle and this is a trend that will accelerate in the year ahead.”


Looking for more info on managed service providers for your cloud solutions? Our MSP Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top cloud managed service providers for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as questions you should ask vendors and yourself before buying. We also offer an MSP Vendor Map that outlines those vendors in a Venn diagram to make it easy for you to select potential providers.

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Daniel Hein

Dan is a tech writer who writes about Enterprise Cloud Strategy and Network Monitoring for Solutions Review. He graduated from Fitchburg State University with a Bachelor's in Professional Writing. You can reach him at dhein@solutionsreview.com
Daniel Hein