Four recent trends pointing to big things ahead for the hybrid cloud

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The cloud has fundamentally changed. We had been focusing on the rise of the public cloud, but these last several months have showed us that the hybrid cloud may yet prove to be the real cloud IT model moving forward. As evidence, consider these four recent developments:

The Rise of Kubernetes

Kubernetes took over as the container orchestration program of choice for pretty much everyone. You name the container or cloud company, and you’ll see they’ve embraced Kubernetes. Even its container orchestration rivals, such as Docker and Mesosphere, are backing Docker now.

Kubernetes plays into the hybrid-cloud narrative by being the bridge across cloud architectures. Previous attempts at a hybrid cloud required you to run the same cloud operating system from the server room to the public cloud regional data center. With Kubernetes, you can run and manage clusters no matter what the underlying cloud runs.

Other hybrid-cloud approaches rise up

For all that I think Kubernetes will be the future of the hybrid cloud, major cloud powers are also pursuing the older hybrid-cloud models. The two most noteworthy of these are Amazon Web Services (AWS) Outposts and Microsoft’s Azure Stack. Both are on-premises appliances, which deliver the cloud provider’s software stack to users’ own data centers.

While I believe Kubernetes will prove to be the real winner for the hybrid cloud, I can see this more traditional approach having its attractions. After all, when things go wrong with our technologies stack, who doesn’t want one throat to choke? With programs such as Azure Stack and Outposts you can the benefits of a hybrid cloud while keeping the virtues of using a single vendor stack.

Linux rules

One reason why Kubernetes can bind applications together across cloud platforms is at the bottom of it all, everything–but everything–runs on Linux. And, when I say everything, I mean Microsoft’s Azure as well.

Last October, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, told me, “it varies on the day because a lot of these workloads are elastic, but about half of Azure VMs are Linux.” He also told me that Linux was growing ever more popular on Azure.

That isn’t going to change. There is simply no other operating system in the running for the cloud.

No matter where you go or what you run, Linux expertise is a must for your cloud workers.

The rise of PaaS

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is picking up speed.  While cloud-native computing and continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) still aren’t that widely used, PaaS is coming along. Many companies are re-architecting and refactoring their legacy apps on the way to the cloud. Others are lifting-and-shifting their legacy apps to the cloud.

Put it all together, and 2018 was the year that computing, and not just storage, really moved to the cloud.

How will all these factors work out? One way or the other, I expect 2019 to be the year of hybrid-cloud computing. The public cloud won’t be going away, but it won’t be as dominant as it has been. I foresee the Kubernetes-powered hybrid cloud becoming an important part of many businesses’ IT infrastructure stack.

This won’t come easily. Many businesses have been betting the farm on the public cloud. We’re going to be in for some interesting times.

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