In terms of cloud computing, 2015 has been a transitional year. Beyond the continued growth of AWS and Azure, we’ve seen second-tier players, unable to compete on price or scale, changing their business plans or dropping out of the market. Examples include HP’s quick exit from the public cloud market and Rackspace’s move to a service focus. We’ve also seen a continued decline in IT outsourcing (ITO) business in favor of cloud.
The ongoing transformation of enterprise IT will pick up momentum in 2016. Services will continue to supplant infrastructure as cloud computing changes the basis of discussion from technology to business terms. This will place increased pressure on IT operations to be as nimble as public clouds or risk becoming irrelevant. Here’s what I see happening in 2016:
1. Large Enterprises Move Away from Owned Data Centers
The lead time and capital required to build data centers, combined with imperfect future visibility, has always been a huge challenge. Build too large and assets are wasted; build too small and growth is restricted. Cloud and colocation will become the primary option for new and globally-distributed workloads.
2. VDI will Die a Quiet Death
Companies hoping that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) would become the new way to deliver client-side services will admit defeat. VDI is a complex hairball that saps resources and under-delivers value. As VDI deployments reach the point of technology refresh, companies will pull the plug and instead look to desktops-as-a-service to provide this capability.
3. Cloud Consolidation will Continue
Public cloud will bedominated by a few “hyperscale” players including AWS, Microsoft, and perhaps Google. Others will try – and ultimately fail – to establish themselves as players and will instead become niche service specialists. IaaS will become completely commoditized, and the large providers will drive an M&A frenzy as they move up the stack.
4. Public Cloud Outages will become as Public as Enterprise Data Breaches
Although most public cloud providers deliver higher uptime than most corporate data centers, customers will continue to have a very low tolerance for outages. This will lead enterprises to adopt a multi-vendor cloud strategy in response.