Omni-cloud to overtake multi-cloud
2019 saw countless businesses across the world move their workloads to a range of IaaS providers (Infrastructure as a service). As the technology develops, however, it seems likely that this “multi-cloud” infrastructure may appear more “omni-cloud” in the coming years. This is particularly because connectivity is becoming more streamlined via augmented data integration platforms, and the procurement of compute cycles in real-time is likely to become easier. The improved portability of applications is also expected to have an impact here.
An interesting case study is Azure, which implemented omni-cloud features towards the end of 2019 – similar to the features of Amazon Web Services (AWS) such as Outpost, Local Zones and Wavelength. Microsoft is now reportedly in the process of extending Azure services from its data centres to other locales including IoT devices, mobile customer on-premises and private data centers.
Kubernetes breaking new ground in cloud
Originally conceived by Google, Kubernetes (sometimes called k8s or “kube”) is a portable open-source platform used as a container-orchestration system. In other words, Kubernetes allows a company to automate many of the things it previously needed to do manually, such as the management and scaling of containerized applications. For instance, it can enable a company to health-check and self-heal its apps!
2020 is seeing many Kubernetes platforms come into development including Rancher Labs, Pivotal and Microsoft AKS. The innovations in this area of technology are also creating some interesting market dynamics for investors. In particular, cloud infrastructure software vendors are progressively becoming separated from the building owners housing the server racks. This is enabling new products, services and offerings which would have been impossible in 2018. Microsoft Azure, for instance, should be able to run on the Google Cloud Platform, and so on.
The rise of Kubernetes auxiliaries
Kubernetes appears to be the unrivalled victor in 2020. Yet the auxiliary services that will converge around it are still developing and will likely present some fascinating opportunities for investors in the coming years. Many open source projects are already taking shape such as Prometheus, which monitors and equips containerized applications. The ELK Stack facilitates logging and trouble-shooting. Jaeger is also coming to the fore as a means to trace application logs across microservices.
The amalgamation of Kubernetes
To remain competitive in the market in 2020, all Kubernetes platforms will need a powerful value proposition and sustainable competitive advantage to stay in this fierce and rapidly-growing market. Acquisitions are commonplace, with further ones to be expected. Microsoft is a notable example with its purchase of Deis on the 10th of April 2017. VMware also made the headlines when it acquired Heptio in December 2019 for $550 million. Here at Bure Valley Group, we expect further aggressive moves by large cloud vendors in 2020. Watch this space.
When it comes to choosing a cloud platform in 2020, companies are increasingly wanting to have security tools and features built into it (rather than needing to approach a 3rd party for this solution). As such, it hardly comes as a surprise that multiple security acquisitions have been taking place recently – and this is likely to continue. In July 2019, for instance, Microsoft declared its acquisition of BlueTalon; a provider of Unified Data Access Control solutions to Fortune 100 companies, enabling them to better identify and address blind spots in data security. Another example is the acquisition of Symantec by Broadcom’s Monday for $2.5bn in November 2019. AlienVault was also bought by AT&T in 2018, allowing it to create its own division dealing with threat intelligence and cyber-security.
The rise of Intelligent SaaS & SaaSOps
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) has been around for a while, but investors will want to take note of the way in which this product type is becoming transformed by machine learning. Certainly, some SaaS features which boast “machine learning” are just superficial marketing words, yet many offer significant advancements – such as chatbots and predictive analytics. SaaSOps is also becoming a more important, distinguished job role in IT, focusing on the migration, spend and operations of SaaS-based products. Blissfully and BetterCloud, for instance, enable users to better-manage multiple suites at once such as Salesforce and Google G Suite.