A recently published Forrester report has unveiled the top 10 trends that will shape the cloud industry over the next year. The trends paint a picture of an increasingly complex cloud landscape as major technology shifts occur around artificial intelligence, digital sovereignty regulations, and specialized industry solutions.
According to the report, the AI boom, multicloud complexity, and digital sovereignty are major forces impacting the cloud in 2023. Enterprises are seeking to rapidly adopt powerful technologies such as AI but also need to rein in costs and manage growing infrastructure complexity.
The 10 top cloud trends identified by Forrester researchers are:
1. The AI Boom Creates Chaos as Every Provider Promotes New Services.
Major cloud players like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud, and startups are all heavily marketing AI capabilities. This abundance of options challenges enterprises developing coherent strategies.
2. Embedded AI Makes Operations Smarter.
AI is giving a boost through technologies like observability, predictive analytics, conversational interfaces, and automation. Both cloud vendors and enterprises are infusing AI across monitoring, management, and support functions.
3. WebAssembly (WASM) Is the Future.
WASM is no longer just for web browsers with a new server environment standard, positioning it as a universal application platform spanning different IT infrastructures.
4. Digital Sovereignty Enforcement Expands Beyond Data.
New regulations are increasingly coming in to regulate where software, hardware, and workloads can be located. This complicates cloud strategies and requires re-evaluating supply chain reliance.
5. Hardware Vendors Pivot to Subscriptions.
Vendors are aiming to offset declining product sales as workloads shift off-premises with a shift toward subscription models.
6. Cloud Cost Optimization Known as 'FinOps' Sees Renewed Interest.
Forrester analyst Lee Sustar told ITPro Today that from his perspective FinOps definitely works. He noted that as companies increasingly get IT infrastructure from giant cloud providers, they are seeking to maintain autonomy in various ways, including using multiple cloud providers. While that brings challenges in terms of complexity, there are also advantages in placing the right workloads on the right cloud at the right price. "Notably, FinOps brings together various stakeholders outside of technology, including procurement, vendor management, risk management, auditors, and the CFO’s office," Sustar said.
7. Multicloud Networking Remains an Underserved Issue That Will Converge with ZTE.
With the edge increasingly intertwined with cloud infrastructure, the markets are focusing on zero trust edge (ZTE) architectures to securely connect data centers, clouds, and remote locations. ZTE aims to provide a modern networking solution that deeply integrates security technologies to span hybrid IT environments as SD-WAN visions have become outdated for fulfilling these needs across complex, distributed infrastructure.
8. The Cloud Security Ecosystem Is Advancing to Meet Enterprise Needs.
The cloud security ecosystem advances to meet the demands of cloud-native enterprises, strengthening offerings around data protection, access control, encryption, and post-quantum cryptography.
9. Industry Clouds Are Growing.
Industry-specific clouds led by global service integrators are on the rise to address unique vertical problems, signaling a move from generic to specialized cloud capabilities.
10. Managed Service Providers Shift Focus to Advisory-Led Transformations.
The big shift is that as more private enterprises and big government entities move into the cloud, the broader the remit of the global systems integrators, according to Sustar. "They [GSIs] are moving beyond cloud transformation into an ongoing managed services provider role for their customers, often in conjunction with big cloud providers with which they have long-standing relationships," he said.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.