10 must-watch IaaS cloud trends for 2017

Enterprises go heavy and hard to the cloud as machine learning, serverless computing and containers advance

By Brandon Butler
Dec. 20, 2016

4. Serverless computing

A trend that kicked off in 2015, gained traction in 2016 and is expected to continue to ramp up in 2017 is serverless computing. It’s the idea of building applications that run without provisioning any infrastructure resources. Code is triggered by events – an IoT device uploading information into a database, for instance. The serverless computing platform will then execute a corresponding action: making a copy of that database entry in a data warehouse, for example.

Whole applications can be built this way. AWS’s Lambda platform debuted in 2015 while Microsoft made Azure Functions generally available in November and IBM made its OpenWhisk serverless computing platform (which is also an open source project) generally available in December on the BlueMix PaaS. It’s still early days for serverless computing, but expect more and more use cases – especially around the Internet of Things - to emerge in 2017.

5. Containers

While serverless computing and machine learning have been popular in 2016, containers may have been the buzzword of the year for cloud vendors. IDC IaaS analyst Deepak Mohan lumps serverless computing and containers into a category of “next-generation computing,” which moves beyond the traditional construct of virtual machines and servers.

Expect 2017 to be a year where container management platforms – orchestrators like Kubernetes and specific tools to help with container networking, security and storage gain market presence and enterprise interest. Cloud vendors are offering their own platforms for doing this – Google has its Container Engine, AWS has the Elastic Container Service and Microsoft has the Azure Container Service. Bartoletti says only about 10% of enterprises use containers in production now, but up to a third are testing them. Expect their use cases to crystalize in 2017.

6. The uniting of private cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure

Not all the action is in the public cloud. Tectonic shifts are occurring even within the realm of on-premises infrastructure. “In 2017, the private cloud market will aggressively shift away from traditional private cloud suites toward leaner, cheaper solutions that include and integrate PaaS capabilities, cloud management, and container support,” Forrester Research predicts in its look ahead to 2017.

Private clouds will increasingly be built atop hyperconverged platforms – infrastructure that comes prepackaged with compute, network and storage. Or there are other models like private-cloud as a service, where the vendor controls the infrastructure and software, but it sits behind a customer’s firewall. One specific piece of news to watch is Microsoft’s introduction of Azure Stack – a converged infrastructure offering meant to be compatible with the Azure public cloud. It’s expected to be generally available sometime in 2017.

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