2023: The Year of Evolved Cloud and more

By Matt Watts, Chief Evangelist at NetApp.

  • 1 year ago Posted in

Even a month into a new year, it’s clear that technology is continuing to play a vital role in shaping our world. With uncertainty seeming to be a defining feature of the current business landscape, companies will now more than ever need to be adaptable and flexible to succeed in these times.

That’s where technologies such as cloud come in. It is estimated that between 2020 and 2025, the cloud computing industry market will grow by $287.03 billion. As more businesses and individuals rely on cloud to store and access their data, its importance is thus rapidly increasing. It also offers a range of benefits ranging from cost saving and accessibility to improved data collaboration and recovery, which can help businesses navigate unpredictable environments and unstable business ecosystems.

With technology perpetually evolving, new developments in the tech sphere will have a significant impact on the way organisations prepare themselves for the next digital transformation. This article will look at some of the key tech trends to expect for this year, how these are shaping the cloud, and how they will change the way the world does business.

Evolved cloud and Multicloud 

The multicloud will increase in importance as more services move from on-premises to the cloud. According to research firm Gartner, it’s expected that on premises versus cloud spend will flip by 2025. While this continued migration to the cloud isn’t surprising, I anticipate cloud adoption will continue to accelerate in 2023 due to supply-chain issues which require buyers to look beyond on-prem hardware to ease procurement challenges, and the need to pursue aggressive sustainability objectives.

The rapid adoption of multicloud is even more interesting. In fact, 89% of companies are using multiple clouds to manage IT services, operations, and infrastructure. This seems to be a place some companies have “landed” out of necessity, or even by accident, as they worked to mitigate supply-chain issues by linking to multiple cloud providers who could each help them drive innovation and ensure security, scalability, and flexibility outside their data centre. This has brought about unnecessary complexity that companies will look to address through the adoption of common services across clouds.

Intensified skills gap 

More companies are adopting multiple clouds, meaning the skills gap will move from fierce competition between employers to retain top talent. This pauses an issue in a work environment which increasingly demands multi-cloud skills and expertise.

Creating teams skilled in managing multiple clouds becomes a significant challenge and can take extended periods to develop. Companies need teams that can innovate and build. If employees are only spending time on operations, they can’t innovate. This need will only intensify with technology skills becoming essential in every aspect of the work landscape, while businesses are not able to afford taking risks by not bringing the right skills on board.

Sustainability is a priority  

Sustainability will only become more important to IT buyers, and they will require more data to support claims from their vendors. Vendors will need to show they are working toward (and achieving) greater sustainability throughout their value chains and delivering product features that enable their sustainability.

They will have to work harder to increase energy efficiency with their facilities and on-premises equipment and provide improved methods for data categorisation that enable buyers to look across their entire data estates and tier data, which is particularly effective in the cloud. When we consider that between 60 and 73% of all the data within an organization is unwanted or unsued , we can see how moving this unused data to the cloud, where it can be tiered and moved to cold storage, is beneficial for the planet. I have previously noted that sustainability was increasing in importance, but it has been interesting to see the level of sustainability specifications and granularity that buyers now demand when making purchasing decisions.  

Cyber resilience and data protections

The current challenges in terms of health, economy and war mean that cyber-resilience is more crucial than ever before. Businesses and organisations will rely more than ever on IT resources to provide round-the-clock protection and quick recovery for their data. This is because the question is no longer whether they will be attacked, but rather when and how often, so we need to address the problem head-on and a small number of small and medium-size companies are still not prepared. Previously, a business’ cyber defence strategy focussed on anticipation of the attack, but today it is more about reacting during the attack and quick recovery after it. Detection, protection and remediation will be the watchwords of cybersecurity in 2023.

Quantum Hybrid Computing 

Quantum hybrid computing will start to move from ideation toward practical application. With problems such as elements of AI broken out and passed over to quantum systems for processing, we’ll start to see a blend of traditional HPC and quantum to solve some of these most complex issues.

This will also force us to better address cybersecurity. Companies need to think about data encryption now more than ever. Criminals are increasingly sophisticated, and companies need to be equally sophisticated when it comes to their security measures. While this won’t happen overnight, the wheels have been set in motion for quantum to be a threat to encrypt sensitive data. For example, imagine designing and building a military fighter jet, which can take more than a decade then it’s in service for 20 years and all the data associated with the plane and its missions remains classified for another 20 years.

That data needs to be protected for upwards of 50 years. A criminal only needs to steal that data once during that protracted timeframe and wait for the necessary quantum power to decrypt in order to catch up. We need to be thinking much, much more carefully about how we protect data today, from simple data theft to more advanced encryption and decryption techniques.

Normal computers, even high-powered computers, would take decades to “break” these encryption algorithms. Quantum hybrid will be able to break existing encryption protocols in less than a decade so new encryption protocols and algorithms can be developed sooner. While I predicted in 2022 that companies would look to quantum to address more complex computing challenges. I’m pleased there is this level of progress and forward thinking within cybersecurity and a cloud-based approach to solving security issues that once seemed unsolvable.  

Embracing tech transformation

The advent of novel advanced artificial intelligence tech, among advances in machine learning and quantum computing, have set in motion the next wave of trends that will revolutionise the way we work and interact with technology. From an increased integration of the evolved cloud and multicloud in businesses operations, to a largely intensifying tech skills gap due to a heightened demand in specialist talent, the coming tech push is clearly shaping the new work landscape.

It has called for a more sustainable model of operating one’s business in terms of data storage and facilities, while an ever more complex realm of cyber security and protection is on every organisation’s doorstep. To seamlessly hop on that tech transformation wagon and embrace it with open arms, organisations must not only be aware of the key changes coming this year. They must gather the knowledge, strategise ahead, and be ready for an imminent transition.

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