10 Cloud Predictions For 2018

An Eye On The Future

As IT environments evolve and customers turn over their critical applications and infrastructure to cloud providers big and small, it's safe to say the cloud market has come a long way in recent years.

The cloud today is solving a wide swath of problems for even the most unlikely customers, including large heath-care organizations. But businesses still need the help of their trusted advisers to help them wade through the sea of providers and offerings.

From container technology, to multi-cloud adoption, to consolidation in the market, CRN rounded up 10 likely cloud market predictions that could be in store for 2018.

Hybrid Cloud/Multi-Cloud Adoption To Rise

No one can deny the massive shift that is taking place among businesses in favor of multiple cloud environments, including public and private clouds, as well as on-premises infrastructure. As businesses deploy new applications and move critical workloads to save money and boost agility, it's safe to say that the trend of mixing and matching cloud will only accelerate in 2018.

Back To Basics

While some customers are already wrapping their arms around emerging cloud technologies, an estimated 20 percent of the world's email is in the cloud, leaving plenty of room for solution providers to focus on basic cloud services.

Many businesses are still looking at email and storage as first steps into the cloud. Solution providers that can help with basic services can get in their foot in the door to offer more advanced cloud solutions to these customers down the road.

Interest In Migration Services To Rise

As more customers include cloud as a part of their IT environments, especially hyper-scale cloud environments such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, IT expertise is needed for moving workloads.

Migration services, according to many of the largest cloud providers, is creating a massive opportunity for solution providers, especially those already offering cloud consulting services. As public cloud consumption becomes more common for business customers, solution providers should consider adding migration services to their repertoires in 2018.

IoT/Data Mining

Businesses are embracing the Internet of Things, but for the most part, these customers don't have a good method in which to mine the data that is being collected. This is where cloud-based data mining solutions can come into play.

In order to use the information to make better business decisions, customers will be looking beyond big data storage solutions and for offerings that can help them make sense of their valuable IoT data.

Cloud Security Still A Top Concern

Next-generation technologies such as cloud require a different approach to security than traditional premises-based IT infrastructure. For that reason, many businesses need help with their cloud security posture.

Managed security services will continue to be a highly sought-after offering fin 2018, and a big opportunity for solution providers.

Containers Gain Momentum

Container technology is disrupting the cloud market as the industry is shifting to more agile architectures that include more flexible, autonomous pieces. Customers want containers, solution providers are taking notice, and so are the largest cloud providers.

Three of the largest cloud providers -- Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google -- have their own container services on the market today. In November, AWS launched Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS), a fully managed service that allows the popular open-source container orchestration framework Kubernetes, to be used on AWS.

Cost Management Solutions To Gain Prominence

Managing and predicting cloud costs has been historically difficult for many businesses, and it's only getting more complicated as businesses embrace multiple cloud platforms to host their more of their applications.

Businesses want transparent, predicable cloud pricing. As a result, many solution providers and even master agents are starting to come to market with cloud cost management offerings that end customers can use to track usage, identify overages, and better manage their overall cloud spend.

UCaaS Will Win The Telephony Market

While the adoption of cloud-based communications has been on the upswing in recent years, 2018 could be the tipping point in which Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) becomes more widely adopted than PBX sales.

Traditional, premises-based communications are trailing off in favor of UCaaS solutions that can stand up in the event of a disaster or outage. These services also provider greater flexibility for distributed businesses and easier on-boarding of new users. Solution providers offering cloud-based communications can enjoy monthly recurring revenue.

Public Cloud Adoption To Continue to Rise

The public cloud leaders are not only giants in the consumer space as businesses in recent years in nearly every vertical have started to tap AWS, Microsoft and Google cloud platforms.

Solution providers offering cloud services today should include a well-rounded portfolio of cloud provider partners. The hyper-scale cloud providers are beginning to realize the value of the channel, and are building out more attractive channel partner programs.

Consolidation To Continue

The cloud landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, especially as the hyper-scale providers rose to fame and as the largest telecommunications providers, such as Verizon and CenturyLink, entered the cloud market through acquisitions. Several of the telecoms have since sold off their data center assets.

The trend isn't just limited to the telecoms, either. Several tier-two providers have been acquired by larger cloud service providers over the last year, including Peak 10's purchase of ViaWest and Green Cloud Technologies' Cirrity acquisition. The consolidation trend is expected to continue into 2018 as the cloud market becomes more competitive with larger providers.