10 Cloud Computing Trends That Will Define 2019

Here are 10 cloud trends that will gain momentum in 2019 and likely characterize enterprise IT in the years to come.

The Cloud Trends To Watch This Year

The cloud has changed everything.

It's dramatically changed how IT professionals go about provisioning computing infrastructure—more often these days by typing in a credit card for immediate access to resources than ordering a shipment of data center gear.

It's changed how application developers approach projects, collaborate on them, and architect their software. It's changed how their operations counterparts deploy, manage and terminate those applications throughout their lifecycle. And, perhaps most of all, the cloud has changed the relationship between the Dev side and Ops side, ushering in the era of DevOps.

Over the last decade, as providers like AWS and Microsoft have exponentially scaled their businesses and disrupted the IT industry to its core, many once-cutting-edge technologies and methodologies have become established fixtures of the cloud era by facilitating all that change.

We've seen broad enterprise adoption of container platforms, infrastructure-as-code solutions, software-defined networking and storage, continuous integration/continuous delivery, not to mention Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

But as progress marches on, disruptive change seems to only accelerate. Here are 10 cloud computing trends that will gain momentum in 2019 and likely characterize enterprise IT in the years to come.

Service Mesh

The cloud has ushered in an era in which most new applications take the form of micro-services.

Instead of their monolithic forerunners, cloud-native apps are built as interconnected containers. And developers implementing that architecture are now discovering the value of a service mesh—an emerging technology that connects, discovers, monitors and authenticates communications between containerized micro-services running across environments.

Istio, a project stemming from an alliance of Google, IBM and Lyft, is leading that charge, delivering its 1.0 release at the end of last July. But so many open source service mesh projects are coming online that it's becoming difficult to keep track of them all.

In 2019, service mesh will become a more-prominent feature of enterprise application environments.


It's not just Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure that are promoting a serverless paradigm for computing, in which clouds simply execute snippets of code without bothering developers with provisioning underlying infrastructure.

Several emerging projects are delivering the serverless model independent of the hyper-scalers, including on-premises.

Open source frameworks like Nuclio, OpenWhisk, Fission, and Iron.IO. are gearing to revolutionize how enterprise software developers architect applications that span the cloud, corporate data centers, and edge environments.

Industry luminaries expect serverless to have a big year.

Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, described serverless at the AWS re:Invent conference in November as the "next generation of how we're going to build systems."

Managed Containers

Application containers have become omnipresent across enterprise environments in recent years, escalating in 2018 the battle of container platforms—which these days typically means those managing Kubernetes at scale.

But as the container industry matures, many enterprises are concluding their management is external to the business outcomes they deliver.

That awareness could drive faster adoption in 2019 of cloud services that further abstract from the nuts-and-bolts of Kubernetes deployments, like Amazon's EKS, Microsoft Azure AKS, and Google GKE.

The trend could extend to services providers offering hosted versions of the leading on-premises container platforms like Docker Enterprise, Red Hat OpenShift and those from smaller competitors like Rancher Labs and Mesosphere.

Managed Security

The cloud has extended and complicated the security landscape. Guarding endpoints and the perimeter of a network is no longer considered adequate protection.

Top-notch security these days involves a patchwork of solutions, including identity management for the mobile workforce, threat intelligence, DNS filtering, next-gen firewalls and advanced endpoint protection, all supported by a robust backup and disaster recovery solution.

MSPs, seeing customers struggle with that new reality, are now embracing the MSSP model, recognizing the business opportunity managing all those modern security components creates for them.

Cloud Consolidation

Another consolidation cycle seems to be gearing up.

The spark could prove to be IBM's massive deal for Red Hat, which will motivate competitors to look for strategic mergers and acquisitions that ensure they don’t get walled off on either end of the hybrid divide.

As on-premises infrastructure proves its resiliency, the cloud upstarts of yesteryear, now having emerged as major industry forces, are recognizing the danger of exclusively focusing on the public realm. They're also increasingly conscious of having the ability to deliver robust container solutions that enable their customers to seamlessly span all environments.

A comprehensive hybrid vision, enabled by enterprise-grade container management technology, is becoming an essential component of success in the cloud, suggesting 2019 could be another year of game-changing deals.

IoT Gets Powerful

The edge was once envisioned as a resource-limited environment for ingesting data into the cloud, where real processing could happen.

But as IoT workloads become more sophisticated, and latency more of a concern, those environments are gaining power.

Vendors are increasingly embedding sophisticated processing hardware like GPUs and more storage directly into remote devices. Google took that trend a step further in 2018 when it unveiled its Google Edge TPU to accelerate AI at the edge.

In 2019, expect IoT developers to continue bringing to market products that deliver data services, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence in the field.

Open Source Momentum

With Microsoft now running GitHub, it's abundantly clear that open source is only gaining steam as the preferred model for developing new technologies to power the cloud.

Once dismissed as the realm of hobbyists, open source has become the industry's leading engine of innovation by harnessing the power of developer communities and large vendors to advance software at a pace no single entity could match alone.

The container revolution is largely powered by open source technologies; so is the advent of machine learning thanks to several open source frameworks. Leading DevOps tools and a growing number of popular databases also expose their code to developer communities.

Organizations like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and the LF Deep Learning Foundation, both under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation, as well as the Cloud Foundry Foundation and OpenStack Foundation, will become increasingly relevant this year.

Hybrid Wars

Over the last several years, we've all breathlessly followed every shot fired in the public cloud wars as massive providers battled for supremacy in the industry's fastest-growing market.

The battleground, more recently, seems to have folded back onto more-traditional turf.

While some of those public cloud competitors have long championed a hybrid approach, most notably Microsoft with its Azure Stack solution, others came later to the recognition that ignoring the on-premises world could be a colossal error in strategy.

If that wasn't clear enough, IBM's pending acquisition of Red Hat has focused even more attention on the perils of ceding the corporate data center.

VMware's partnership with AWS was a clear example of the competitive landscape shifting.

But by unveiling Outposts, an on-premises server rack delivering AWS cloud, Amazon made clear it was positioning itself to fight the cloud wars on every front this year.

AI Infusion

Artificial intelligence hit the mainstream in 2018, with almost every major cloud software vendor infusing intelligent capabilities into their product suites.

But it's the emerging AI development platforms, abstracting developers away from complex machine learning frameworks that call for skilled data scientists, that will take that trend down the food chain this year.

ISVs and custom enterprise software developers, empowered by the giant cloud providers, will add intelligence wherever they can—deploying across their portfolios chatbots, recommendation engines, predictive analytics tools, voice-enabled interfaces, and automated security and management operations.

On the hardware side, that means GPUs will multiply in almost every computing environment.

Channel Restructuring

The cloud continues to collapse the taxonomies that have long brought order to the channel.

Vendors are taking this to heart, restructuring their partner programs to break down the silos around ISVs, VARs, SIs, MSPs, and OEMs.

Google is the latest, recently having formed a new Global Partner Ecosystem organization that combines support for the diverse partners within the cloud giant's ecosystem. The realignment came out of Google's recognition that the lines were blurring between its partner types, and the provider wanted to actively triangulate relationships between those partners.

Amazon, in 2017, rebranded its partner program from the AWS Channel Reseller Program to the AWS Solution Provider Program, laying the groundwork to encourage partners to focus on the primacy of the solution over any particular type of service.

In 2019, expect the well-defined business models that have so long characterized the channel to further deteriorate, and partners to form alliances (or mergers) with each other to offer their joint customers solutions not limited by legacy practice areas.