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Six Cloud Trends to Watch in 2017 | @CloudExpo @NaviSite #Cloud #MachineLearning

This year, enterprises will truly reap the full value of cloud-enabled IT

While cloud may have formally entered the enterprise in 2006, it's now a reality for nearly every company. The Cloud Era got its start with Software as a service (SaaS) offerings that paved the way for innovations in CRM and email deployments, to create new opportunities for the likes of Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365. Still in its "early stages," cloud now encompasses legacy applications, backups, disaster recovery, security/audit log management and so much more. 2017 will be full of continued maturation and will give way to a whole new generation of cloud-native applications.

This year, enterprises will truly reap the full value of cloud-enabled IT-the days of managing infrastructure with people and manual processes are over, and with the support of managed services and DevOps, IT can now focus on innovation, being driven by big data and analytics.

In 2017, a number of key trends will come to fruition and continue to shape the enterprise of tomorrow, including:

1. It's a multi-cloud world we're living in: Industry experts and pundits have asserted for some time that multi-cloud is the future of cloud computing for enterprises and businesses are responding with a resounding "yes." A study conducted by Microsoft and 451 Research revealed that a majority of enterprises, 79 percent, work with more than one provider, with 29 percent reporting they work with four or more cloud/hosting vendors.

There are a number of reasons for the shift towards multi-cloud environments.

By using multiple cloud providers and cloud platforms to support different applications and workloads, organizations have a constantly evolving array of features and capabilities that they can cherry-pick from to tailor their solutions. Also, some make use of multiple providers in an attempt to combat latency issues. As the deployments on the cloud have increased, so has the complexity and sophistication in which organizations are using it. Cookie cutter clouds are a thing of the past - organizations now want to architect the best environments to manage their specific applications, and as such, it's becoming increasingly important to match the application with the cloud.

2.  Machine learning and industry collaboration will transform security: In the new year, the "bad guys" will become more sophisticated and the value of the attacks they are conducting - in both monetary and business reputation terms - will be larger than ever. The good news is that we're seeing more innovation than ever on the part of the "good guys" as well; for example, we're seeing a dramatic shift away from traditional signature based anti-virus approaches to solutions built on anomaly detection, machine learning and crowd sourcing.

Thankfully, organizations are also moving away from working in siloes and are now developing security technologies that are working together to aggregate information, so users can monitor and address all vulnerabilities.

3. Mindset shift for hacks: In the past, a hack was seen as a mark against an organization - tainting a company's reputation. Today, there is an understanding that attacks are something that can happen to any organization. It is critical we all work together to evolve tools for detection, as well as solutions to respond to threats.

While prevention is crucial, it has become equally important to have a crisp incident response plan and sophisticated forensics to understand the true impact of any potential breach.

4. Data management will shift from an insurance policy to a proving ground for innovation: In the past, data management has been focused on critical functions, such as storage, replication, backup and disaster recovery. While data management will continue to serve these functions, the core capabilities of data protection will be adapted to solve very different business challenges in 2017.

Innovative enterprises will ask themselves: Can I drive business value from the disaster recovery (DR) environment? For example, enterprises will begin to use the DR environment for security testing and look to use these environments as a way to drive business value beyond their originally intended use. In 2017, data will remain king and cloud will be the key to unlocking new and interesting use cases for stored data. Data management will shift from an insurance policy to a proving ground for innovation.

5. Emergence of application aware infrastructure vs. infrastructure aware applications: Autoscaling, a cloud computing service feature that automatically adds or removes compute resources depending upon actual usage, continues to be considered as a viable approach to deal with challenges in infrastructure agility and scalability. Today, there are two typical forms of vertical and horizontal scaling currently in use for application aware infrastructures.

Regardless of whether you choose vertical or horizontal scaling, the truth today is that the world we live in is highly virtualized. And with many new applications being designed as cloud-native, there is an opportunity to build these apps so they have an awareness of how they will need to be scaled or adapted from the onset. The New Year will bring about new opportunities to develop infrastructure aware applications. With an infrastructure aware application approach, developers build an application in a way that the app is actually aware of the infrastructure that it's running on and recognizes that the infrastructure is virtualized and has accessible APIs. This moves the burden of autoscaling from the infrastructure owner to the developers who need to understand the notion that this application will run in this cloud-enabled infrastructure.

6. Private cloud's resurgence lives on: A forecast from IDC found that spending on private cloud infrastructure is growing at 10.3 percent to reach $13.8 billion in 2016. We're continuing to see industry leaders focus on the private cloud experience, but with a slight twist. Today's private cloud is being delivered with the economics of a public cloud environment, meaning they are more flexible and available at a lower cost than in previous years.

So, why will this trend continue into 2017? At this time, the private cloud model is better positioned to serve "legacy" apps. In this instance, "legacy" is referring to the architecture of applications and not the age. With that said, we're still very much seeing a multi-cloud approach, so while there may be private clouds on-premises, they are often mixed with other hybrid or public cloud models.

With all of these continuous evolutions in the connected enterprise, the cloud industry will be tasked with supporting highly virtualized environments. The talent shortage challenge that has plagued the industry in 2016 will continue into the New Year. The need for modern IT skills will only grow greater and there simply is not enough talent available to midsize enterprises to enable them to confidently move to the cloud on their own and ensure its secure and governed properly. 2017 will be a critical year for IT education for both the "life longer learns" who are veterans in the industry, but willing to adapt, as well as to prepare the incoming technical workforce for the rapidly changing needs of technology-reliant organizations.

Cloud industry leaders and experts must come together to build on the breakout innovations made in 2016, in order to help the business of tomorrow take shape in 2017 and beyond.

More Stories By David Grimes

As NaviSite’s Cloud Expert, David Grimes is an innovative technology visionary responsible for the strategic direction of the company’s architecture and solutions. He has been instrumental in leading both the design and development of the NaviCloud platform. A leader focused on continuous process improvement through new and enabling technologies, David frequently meets with customers to gain market knowledge, evangelize NaviSite’s vision and develop solutions. Prior to joining NaviSite, David was a lead software engineer at AppliedTheory, where he was a key member of the team responsible for developing the patented content delivery technology DeltaEdge.

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