Cloud computing was one of the key technologies defining progress over the last ten years. First unveiled in 2006, and launched as service by tech giants including Google, Amazon and Microsoft in 2010, cloud computing is still in its early days. New technologies including serverless and edge computing combined with AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) are fully reimagining the possibilities of the cloud and new opportunities it is set to open for organizations globally.

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Edge computing will reinvent the cloud

Cloud computing can be described as a centralized data centre remotely running thousands of physical servers. However, one of the biggest opportunities brought by cloud computing is a distributed cloud infrastructure - known as edge computing. Organizations require near-instant access to data and computing power to serve their customers, and they are increasingly looking to edge computing to provide a suitable infrastructure.

IoT requires collection and processing of big amounts of data in real-time and with low latency level, and edge computing is an essential technology for enabling this. By sending only the most important information to the cloud, as opposed to raw streams of it, edge computing will help IoT systems to significantly lower connectivity costs. One of the most popular use cases sensor-enabled utility on field equipment analysing and filtering the data prior to sending it and taxing network and computing resources.

Edge computing is not the final stage in the cloud development, but an important element driving mass adoption of the cloud.

Continued containerization

Moving forward we will see wider adoption of cloud containers, the technology allowing developers to manage and migrate software code to the public cloud servers.

In a recent study, Forrester estimated a third of enterprises to already use container technology in software development.

Additionally, 451 Research recently forecasted a $2.7 billion annual growth in 2020, to 40 per cent comparing to this year. Containerization is the best solution for businesses using multi-cloud infrastructure, as the technology enables portability between AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, and speeds up software production by adjusting DevOps strategies.

Kubernetes is becoming the biggest trend in container deployment by enabling OS-level virtualization over hardware virtualization. It is clear that container technology will become one of the key development frameworks in the near future.

Mainstream serverless adoption

Serverless computing” can be perceived as a misleading term, as applications still run on servers. Nevertheless, by using serverless computing, a cloud provider manages the code execution only when required and charges for it only when the code is running. By adopting serverless computing, businesses can avoid provisioning and maintaining servers while producing the code.

Serverless computing gained mainstream popularity back into 2014 when AWS unveiled Lambda during its Reinvent Conference followed by the recent AWS announcement of its open source project Firecracker.  Serverless computing is predicted to be one of the biggest developments in the cloud space, however, the serverless transition would require a strategic approach. Moving to serverless infrastructure requires an overhaul of traditional development and production paradigm, meaning outsourcing the entire infrastructure to the cloud.

Serverless computing will be adopted and developed together with a growing amount of use cases, so it’s full potential is hard to predict right now. Currently, available solutions tend to lock customers into a specific cloud provider, but a growing number of open source solutions in this space will provide more use cases for serverless computing across the industry.

The rise of open source

Open source software is growing in popularity among enterprises, as an increasing number of organizations are integrating open source solutions into their IT operations or even building entire infrastructures around it. Up to 60 per cent of IT decision makers recently surveyed by Black Duck Software reported already using open source software, with more than half contributing to open source projects.

Open source thrives in the ecosystem created by cloud computing. The growing number of open source DevOps tools and automation and infrastructure platforms such as OpenStack and Kubernetes are playing a key part in fast-growing open source adoption.

As organizations continue to migrate their operations to the cloud, open source will play one of the key parts in IT innovation beyond 2020.