Cloud computing is no longer a novel concept. According to tech journalist Antonio Regalado (@antonioregalado), “The term [‘cloud computing’ dates back] to late 1996, and to an office park outside Houston. At the time, Netscape’s Web browser was the technology to be excited about and the Yankees were playing Atlanta in the World Series. Inside the offices of Compaq Computer, a small group of technology executives was plotting the future of the Internet business and calling it ‘cloud computing’.” He notes, however, that the term wasn’t really popularized until a decade later, “when large companies such as Google and Amazon began using ‘cloud computing’ to describe the new paradigm in which people are increasingly accessing software, computer power, and files over the Web instead of on their desktops.” How far has that new paradigm advanced?
Tech journalist Tim Sandle (@timsandle) reports, “Gartner expects 85 percent of organizations to become cloud-first by 2025. This means that 2022 is set to be a pivotal year for the cloud, both in terms of performance and security. It is also expected that 95 percent of all new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms during the course of 2022.” The impact of cloud computing has been keenly felt during the pandemic. Freelance writer Keith D. Foote explains, “The global business environment has recently changed in many ways, from the pandemic to international supply chains issues and so many others, how we work and shop will likely never be the same. As a consequence, acceptance and use of cloud computing technologies has accelerated significantly — with eCommerce and working remotely as two cultural changes that have become much more commonplace.”
The Future of Cloud Computing
Hybrid- and Multi-Cloud Strategies. Amitabh Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Workspot, told Sandle, “Most enterprise organizations have recognized the value of a multi-cloud strategy, if only to avoid vendor lock-in. But in the upcoming year, IT organizations will gain a deeper understanding of the different services and price-performance optimizations available from each hyperscale cloud vendor.” Deloitte analysts add, “With multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud strategies now the norm, managing cloud complexity is ready for the next frontier: configuring tools, software, and technology for full-stack, multi-cloud solutions that focus on access, network management, operations, and end-point complexity.” Although hybrid- and multi-cloud strategies may sound similar, business writer Paramita (Guha) Ghosh explains, “Hybrid-cloud primarily enables users to perform the same task by ‘leveraging resources from two separate clouds.’ Here, essentially, the term ‘two’ is important as it indicates a variety of cloud architecture choices: ‘two private, two public, or a mix of both.’ The major objective of hybrid-cloud model is to provide data security and ‘scale and elasticity’ of the public cloud. A multi-cloud environment precludes the notion of using many different cloud environments with complex interoperability issues. Multi-cloud architectural models typically involve distributing workloads over many cloud environments to enhance availability and resiliency at a reduced cost.”
Growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Tech journalist Madhurjya Chowdhury asserts, “As long as remote work is a viable option, SaaS providers of all kinds will be positioned for explosive development. According to Gartner, SaaS [was] the leading cloud segment of the market by revenue in 2021, expanding to $117.7 billion. … Nevertheless, enterprise clients’ increasing reliance on cloud-native, bundled, and serverless cloud applications will propel PaaS-based services and applications to even greater heights.”
The Intelligent Cloud. The staff at DevOps Online observes, “Over the past 15 years, we have seen an unprecedented accelerating build-up of massive volumes of data from every imaginable source of data collection or creation, in the most diverse format. According to Arman Kamran, CTO of Prima Recon, the statistics show that we have amassed more data over the past two years than the entire known history of civilizations going back to thousands of years ago! … There are quite a few reasons for this historic technological phenomenon, he continues, the most important contributor being the accelerated drop in the cost of computing and storage, which became possible through Cloud Computing.” Of course, the real value of data is only released when it is analyzed; and, artificial intelligence is an effective means of analyzing such vast amounts of data. Srikanth T, founder of Techiexpert, writes, “Companies need to accommodate the storage of data, cloud computing with Al can help you with this. … Artificial intelligence [can] work in the business cloud computing [environment] to make the organization more efficient and strategic. They both can help companies to manage their data to look for patterns in the information and deliver [better] customer experience.”
The Intelligent Edge. With billions of devices being connected to the Internet, organizations are becoming more selective about what information they want transmitted to the cloud. As a result, the popularity of edge computing is growing. Chowdhury explains, “The rapid movement of most economic sectors to remote labor has resulted in a surge in mobile devices, AI-powered automation, autonomous robotics, and industrial IoT (Internet of Things) platforms. … To meet the low latencies needed by these apps, cloud services will migrate a growing share of their operations to intelligent-edge systems by 2022. … Edge-based, AI-driven analysis of smart sensor information and Tiny ML (machine learning) workloads will become more common.”
Rise of the Metaverse. Meta (aka Facebook), Microsoft, and Google have all dropped their gloves and entered the fight to control the metaverse, a realm that exists mainly in the cloud. Although a great deal of effort will go into the entertainment sector, businesses will also find ways to leverage the metaverse. Chowdhury explains, “As businesses retool their cloud management procedures, a rising number of augmented reality applications will be used to provide training and support to remote cloud technical workers.”
Foote concludes, “Cloud technologies continue to evolve, and more organizations are making use of cloud-based services. Some of the primary cloud computing trends organizations are moving to adopt at an ever greater pace include: expanded eCommerce; digital transformation; containers; cloud-based workstations; open-source cloud; cloud automation; edge computing; cloud-optimized regulatory compliance; and artificial intelligence.” Although the future of cloud computing is certain, the elephant in the room remains cybersecurity. Any connected system is vulnerable to attack. Sinha insists, “IT must adapt security to ensure secure endpoints, networks, and data.” A few years ago, Akhilesh Tiwari, global head of Enterprise Application Services at Tata Consultancy Services, noted, “As cloud technologies and platforms start to rapidly mature, companies are recognizing the role cloud can play in breaking down silos, simplifying a complex landscape, scaling to support business growth and driving process standardization. Not surprisingly, leading global companies are beginning to adopt cloud technology to realize operational benefits in the near future with digital transformation as the ultimate goal.” In other words, the future remains in the clouds.
 Antonio Regalado, “Who Coined ‘Cloud Computing’?” MIT Technology Review, 31 October 2011.
 Tim Sandle, “Digital transformation success: It’s all in the clouds,” Digital Journal, 28 December 2021.
 Keith D. Foote, “Cloud Computing Trends in 2022,” Dataversity, 30 November 2021.
 David Linthicum, Mike Kavis, Myke Miller, Martin Kamen, and Diana Kearns-Manolatos, “Multicloud Infrastructure for the Future of Work,” The Wall Street Journal, 18 December 2020.
 Paramita (Guha) Ghosh, “Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud Architectures,” Dataversity, 5 March 2020.
 Madhurjya Chowdhury, “The Future of Cloud Computing: Cloud Nationalism in 2022,” Analytics Insight, 11 November 2021.
 Staff, “The importance of Big Data and Cloud Computing,” DevOps Online, 18 May 2021.
 Srikanth T, “Importance of Cloud-First AI Solutions,” Techiexpert, 25 April 2021.
 Akhilesh Tiwari, “Crawl, walk, run: How global companies can shift to the cloud,” CIO Dive, 24 October 2017.