Cloud trends 2018: serverless, Kubernetes and vendor oligopoly

By Scott Carey

Despite being the most transformational technology of this generation, public cloud computing and all of its inherent flexibility still has not surpassed the 50 percent threshold for adoption within the enterprise space, according to analyst house Forrester, which also pegs the market for global public cloud services to reach $236 billion by 2020.

In its cloud predictions report for 2018 the analysts write: "Cloud's impact has been global, yet fewer than half of all enterprises use a public cloud platform. In 2018, we'll cross the significant 50 percent adoption milestone, and cloud applications, platforms, and services will continue to radically change the way enterprises compete for customers."

Here we outline the major trends shaping cloud computing, and what to expect in the year ahead.

The big three cloud vendors aren't going anywhere

Forrester predicts that the big three public cloud vendors Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft will capture 76 percent of all cloud platform revenue in 2018. It also states that Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce together have a 70 percent share of all software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue, and that there is little sign of these oligopolies being broken up.

Read next: AWS vs Azure vs Google: What's the best cloud platform for the enterprise?

However, Mark Baker, field product manager at Canonical predicts that AWS will see its significant lead in the market erode in 2018. He writes: "AWS is known as being an innovator – and rightly so – but while this presents opportunities for customers, it also presents some serious risks as Amazon continues to extend its reach into new markets.

"Banks, for example, are migrating more services to the AWS platform whilst knowing that Amazon could quickly launch a consumer bank or currency of its own and become a competitor.

"The same is true for retail. Walmart, for example, has publicly told its partners to steer clear of using AWS to host their cloud apps following Amazon's $13.7 billion purchase of luxury grocery chain Whole Foods Market. The approach of 'eating customers' business models' could start to translate into a loss of market share and the erosion of Amazon's current advantage."

The rise of serverless

Baker from Canonical also predicts that serverless computing – where businesses can build and run applications without having to worry about provisioning servers – will continue to prove popular in 2018.

Read next: What is serverless computing? Here's how AWS Lambda is helping enterprises run it

However he does issue some warnings to enterprise customers interested in going serverless.

"The issue is that while using a third-party, such as AWS Lambda is quick to develop a function, not everyone is ready for it," he writes. "Embracing serverless requires a very different way of thinking, because it's effectively outsourcing whole pieces of infrastructure – in fact, everything apart from the app itself."

Consolidation around Kubernetes

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