What’s on the horizon for cloud?

Gartner, Google and Microsoft share their predictions as featured guests at De-Clouding the Future

From the 42nd floor of the Leadenhall Building in central London, a view of the horizon is just part of the spectacular backdrop.  It was an ideal location for our De-Clouding The Future event, where experts from Gartner, Google and Microsoft shared their thoughts on the future of cloud – in particular, what we can expect to see over the next three years.

Gartner Research Director, Paul Vincent, opened his analysis with a frank perspective on the importance of cloud right now.

But how do two of the industry’s most important players see cloud developing in the near future? Google’s UK Cloud Partner Manager, Alfred Biehler, challenged the audience to consider how they can get the best out of their organisations, and understand why cloud is central to that goal.  Why are most organisations afraid of failure, and why do so many find transparency a barrier to success?

Technology must enable us to follow the normal human instinct of learning from our mistakes; cloud offers the ability to try something new, fail fast, make changes and try again – affordably.  It enables business practises which used to be highly labour intensive to sit in the background, becoming automated and efficient.  And it works for Google – 40% of their petabyte-scale customers get to that size without ever talking to them.

His reality check? IT and the CIO/CTO are, in general, not loved by their organisations – only a quarter of execs rate their CIO counterpart as performing better than their peers.  But Google believe the answer lies in the cloud, “We all have these building blocks, enabling us to build things that used to be impossible, and we can do them in our spare time.”

Microsoft’s Partner Technology Strategist, Simon Pearson, put this in context by illustrating the global scale of the Microsoft cloud operation.  The speed, elasticity and economics of Azure has taken the proposition to market globally, but with local capabilities and delivery also in place.

He predicts that the hyperscale providers will continue to focus on deeper functionality – an approach which has seen Microsoft deliver 500 application and service releases into the Azure ecosystem in a year.  Their emphasis, he argues, on areas such as compliance and hybrid cloud is highly relevant today and will grow in importance in the next few years.

Microsoft see Platform-as-a-Service as a key element of their future cloud strategy, and the use of advanced data services will grow exponentially.  But they also understand that multi-cloud environments will be popular and commonplace and that they have an important role to play in enabling business to work securely and seamlessly with all the cloud providers they choose.