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The 5 biggest cloud developments to watch

It’s going to be another big year for the cloud in 2017. Let me count the ways.

1) Clouds will grow and grow.

Forrester Research forecasts that public cloud spending will rise 29% this year to $146 billion, up from $114 billion in in 2016. That’s real money, and it doesn’t even take private clouds into consideration.

The cloud’s hardware will also continue to surge. IDC predicts that the global cloud infrastructure will increase by 18.2% to $44.2 billion. Most of that spending, 61.2%, will be on public clouds.

This will be a mixed blessing for some IT companies. Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels says, “The accelerating shift to cloud software will dampen overall tech market growth as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription spending cannibalizes license and maintenance fees.”

To sum this trend up, the cloud is continuing to take over from traditional IT. If you’re still drunk on the idea that the cloud is a fad or fake, it’s time to sober up.

2) Containers, containers, containers. Oh, and did I mention containers?

Containers have been boiling hot for the last few years. In 2017, however, they’re moving from test benches to production. Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti thinks only 10% of enterprises currently use containers in production now, but up to a third are testing them. This year, he thinks, they go big.

451 Research agrees. By 451’s count, container technologies generated $762 million in revenue in 2016. In 2020, 451 forecasts revenue will reach $2.7 billion, for a 40 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

3) Container DevOps

One reason containers will finally make the jump to your work servers is that we finally have the tools to manage them. The major container orchestration programs — Kubernetes, Mesosphere Marathon and Docker Swarm—are rapidly maturing.

Of the trio there’s always a clear favorite: Kubernetes. This DevOps program has enormous vendor support. Microsoft even supports it on Azure. Today, Kubernetes is hosted by the Linux Foundation‘s Cloud Native Computing Foundation. In addition there are distributions of Kubernetes from numerous companies including Red Hat OpenShift, the Canonical Distribution of KubernetesCoreOS Tectonic, and Intel and Mirantis.

4) DevOps continue to grow up.

If it wasn’t for DevOps, we couldn’t manage our clouds. Thanks to programs such as Puppet, Chef, Juju Salt and Ansible, it’s possible to run clouds without screaming. Actually, without them, we really couldn’t run clouds at all; we would just have a bunch of servers sitting on the Internet.

In 2017, there will be changes. Those of you who have been in IT for a few years can tell by the sheer number of DevOps programs where I’m going with this. We’re going to see consolidation.

As Joan Wrabetz, CTO at Quali, told Hooks.Guide DevOps is ripe for consolidation. “Consumers will choose a few best of breed tools and then try to wrap as much of their processes as possible around these tools. This will lead to more tools that provide end-to-end functionality across the continuous delivery cycle.”

It’s already started. Red Hat bought Ansible in 2015 and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is investing in Chef. I predict we’ll see other cloud providers buying DevOps companies. Those that aren’t bought out will have a small chance of surviving on their own.

5) Cloud consolidation

It’s not just DevOps tools that will be consolidating. Clouds will only continue to fold into one another. We’re already seeing this with companies such as HPE, Verizon and Cisco giving up on their public cloud dreams.

That doesn’t mean they’re getting out of the cloud business. They’re not. They’re partnering with other cloud providers.

For example, HPE is still in the cloud business. But besides its own private OpenStack cloud, the company is also partnering with Microsoft Azure. Other companies will be following the same path.

I don’t see the public cloud market becoming AWS and one or two others. But, I can see smaller cloud players like Rackspace and, for all its bluster, Oracle dropping out of the cloud business.

In short, we’re in for interesting times ahead.

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