Cloud computing in 2020: Predictions about security, AI, Kubernetes, more

Find out what Jack Wallen predicts for the cloud and cloud-adjacent technology in 2020 and why he encourages you to dream big.

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The cloud is a technology that shattered the ceiling long ago and keeps rising. Ten years ago, we never dreamed that consumers and businesses would claim such a deep dependence on the cloud. Yet, here we are, so let’s dream big for cloud in 2020.

SEE: Cheat sheet: The most important cloud advances of the decade (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Hybrid cloud will rise in popularity 

This coming year will see more businesses of all sizes turning to hybrid cloud. Many will find using a private cloud that can fail over to a public cloud–as demand dictates–will be the ideal way to leverage the cloud.

One type of hybrid cloud I believe will make serious gain is the on-premises cloud solution (such as Nextcloud) that will fail over to third-party solutions (such as AWS and Google Cloud Platform). When companies realize the cost savings with this model, it will become the most widely-used option.

2. Nextcloud will prosper and innovate

Nextcloud has been slowly growing in popularity over the years and is already the most widely deployed on-premises cloud solution. I predict 2020 will be a very good year for this open source solution. A number of enterprise companies in the US will adopt this solution as part of their hybrid approach; this will serve as a domino for other large companies following suit. These companies will help drive innovation with the Nextcloud solution, leading the cloud software to finally have features such as a built-in backup and an integrated office suite solution instead of just the ability to connect to a third-party option.

SEE: Tech Predictions For 2020: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

3. Google and AI

Google is one of the biggest innovators in artificial intelligence (AI), and much of this innovation is geared toward the Android platform. I believe 2020 will see Google focusing more of that AI-centric development toward tools such as Google Drive. How will this play out? My guess is Google will develop an AI system that will make file and directory organization superior to anything that mortal minds can achieve. 

We could also see an improvement with the Google Docs spelling and grammar check and predictive formatting within documents. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google tested a possible AI option that would make comments and use track changes as you write. Google could also throw in an AI-powered chatbot to serve as a collaborative system within the G Suite–think of the Explore feature, only this would be useful. 

As I said, dream big.

SEE: Google Cloud Platform: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

4. Kubernetes deployments and management will be simplified

I made this prediction about Kubernetes in my data center predictions for 2020 article, but it bears repeating.

I’m fairly confident someone will develop a tool that makes the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters so simple that anyone can handle the task. I’m not talking the likes of AWS or Google Cloud Platform but a third-party client that makes it easy for businesses to deploy such things within their own data center. 

Yes, AWS and Google Cloud Platform already have incredible tools that make it possible to deploy Kubernetes clusters, but beyond that, you’re mostly back to writing YAML files for the reliable deployment of your containers. That changes in 2020 with an open source tool that will make point-and-click container deployment easier and will be a game changer. Mark my words.

SEE: What is Kubernetes? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

5. Images will find safe Harbor from vulnerabilities

Speaking of Kubernetes, I believe we are finally going to see a tool–such as Harbor–that will not only scan container images for vulnerabilities but will fix them when possible. Think about it: You have a Harbor/Clair instance that can scan your images for vulnerabilities, report any that are found, and Harbor could then automatically update the images to patch the vulnerabilities. 

With software such as Ansible, this could be possible. Yes, it will take development effort, but imagine the extra security with such a tool. It could–and should–happen.

6. A massive cloud breach will lead to new security approaches

I don’t want to make this prediction, but the writing is on the wall. In 2020, there will be a cloud breach to make all other breaches look elementary in execution and miniscule in outcome. This breach will see billions of users’ data at risk and will force companies with stock in the cloud to take an inventory of their security offerings. We’ll see a shift in focus with these companies, which will result in how they approach security. 

Companies like Google may begin using strict password policies to force users into creating stronger passwords. There could be either an improvement in two-factor authentication or a rise in popularity of three-factor-authentication (also known as multi-factor authentication), which requires software and hardware keys.

SEE: Secure your data with two-factor authentication (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

7. The cloud will run completely on open source software

This is an easy win for predictions. Open source will continue to dominate the cloud; however, I’m going one step further to say that, by the end of 2020, the cloud will be run completely by open source software. Although there may be fragments of closed source software within cloud technology at the beginning of the year, by year’s end that will not be the case. In order for any software solution to make headway within the cloud, it must be open. Period.

There you have it: A few “gimmee” predictions and some that I dare to dream big. With technology like the cloud, it’s hard to make predictions without falling on your face every now and then. I could be off the mark on some–or will I? 

Dream big, my friends. Dream as big as you can in 2020.

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