2019’s top five cloud stories

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The cloud keeps getting bigger and ever more important to IT — from the smallest business operating out of a closet powered by Office 365 or Google Docs to Fortune 500 companies running international, multi-cloud operations. Here’s what that growth looked like in 2019:

1. The public cloud continues to grow larger

The public cloud continues to grow at an exceptional rate. According to the analysis firm Canalys, the global public cloud market grew by 37% in 2019. Leading the pack was Amazon Web Services (AWS) with a total market share of 33%. But, while AWS is still growing, second-place Microsoft Azure (17%) is growing even faster. Google Cloud (6.9%) is also seeing great growth.

Looking ahead, Gartner has forecast worldwide public cloud revenue to grow 17% in 2020. “At this point, cloud adoption is mainstream,” Sid Nag, Gartner research vice president, said in a press release. “Adoption of next-generation solutions are almost always ‘cloud-enhanced’ solutions, meaning they build on the strengths of a cloud platform to deliver digital business capabilities.”

2. Kubernetes becomes the universal platform for container orchestration

When it comes to how people are managing what they’re running on the cloud, container orchestration program Kubernetes has overwhelmed all other administration tools. Nothing else even comes close.

Software vendors recognize this. Essentially everyone with a claim to enterprise IT now has a Kubernetes offering.

3. The hybrid cloud

Using Kubernetes to bridge the gap between public and private clouds makes it much easier to build true hybrid clouds. While hybrid clouds aren’t growing as fast as the public cloud, they are picking up steam.

What’s pushing the growth of the hybrid cloud? A report from cloud company Nutanix, suggests public cloud costs are worrying companies. 73 percent of those surveyed said they were moving some applications off the public cloud and back on premises.

It’s not that they’re giving up on the public cloud. Far from it. They still want the public cloud’s flexibility, but users are growing worried over public cloud costs and lock-in.

4. The rise of multi-cloud

While Kubernetes has made hybrid clouds more practical, many companies are just running two or more public clouds. This is called multi-cloud. A recent Kentik survey showed how public cloud customers are often now using more than one vendor. AWS and Microsoft Azure are paired up most often, but Google is also a player in this new model.

What’s driving it? The same thing pushing hybrid clouds forward: A desire to save money.

5. Cloud mergers pick up steam

The largest software company acquisition of all time, IBM-Red Hat, came through this summer. This deal was all about the hybrid cloud. As big as it was, it was far from the only cloud M&A. For example, VMware acquired Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud power Pivotal and Mirantis picked up container power Docker.

Those were only the headline cloud deals. There were many others in which larger cloud companies picked up smaller ones. This is a trend I’m sure we’ll see continue well into 2020 and beyond.


What else will happen in 2020? Stay tuned for my next column to hear my thoughts on what tomorrow will bring.

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