December 5, 2021

Cloud computing in 2022 means containers, geopolitical frictions and automation

Hyperscalers will have to deal with new rules in China and more laws around data…


Hyperscalers will have to deal with new rules in China and more laws around data management around the world.

Image: iStock/metamorworks

In 2022, the world’s biggest cloud providers will continue to expand their empires but they will have to deal with new data management rules around the world. Gartner and Forrester shared predictions this week about what the coming year will look like for hyperscale cloud providers as well as their customers.

The first five predictions are from Forrester and the final one is from Gartner:

  • Container adoption hits 50% as cloud native takes center stage
  • Every major hyperscaler develops a plan for geopolitical frictions and antitrust reform 
  • Every hyperscaler launches more industry specific services
  • Major cloud-native platforms will help devs achieve painless global scale for workloads
  • Google Cloud Platform won’t achieve its short-term ambition but it won’t matter
  • Robots will take over maintenance, monitoring and security at data centers

Forrester sees cloud customers shifting overall strategy to be completely cloud native instead of using cloud for only a portion of the portfolio. Analysts describe cloud native technologies as “transcending all major technology domains, such as big data, AI and IoT.”  

SEE: Cloud lock-in: Why the enterprise doesn’t care

Forrester analyst Lee Sustar said the increase in container adoption is just one example of this trend. 

“One strategy we see is a piecemeal migration of monolithic application functionality into containers,” he said. “But if the time and effort needed to containerize those applications is too great, organizations are choosing to rebuild from scratch or look to SaaS as part of a wider modernization strategy.”

According to Forrester, the battle of general-purpose cloud is over and the new war is industry-specific clouds. Forrester expects every major cloud service provider to offer app and developer services that create “meaningful new capabilities.” Analysts also predict that major SaaS platforms will do the same and “build out industry options that go far beyond marketing veneer, to save significant hours of customizations.” 

Sustar listed IBM Cloud for Financial Services and Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services as two examples of this trend, both of which address compliance and regulatory issues as well as services most often used by the big banks.

Dealing with geopolitical frictions and antitrust reform

In 2022, major cloud providers also will have to adjust operations to comply with new data privacy laws and other regulations. This includes developing GAIA-X policies for European operations and following new cloud marketplace rules dictated by China.

Forrester analysts noted that GAIA-X is already compelling U.S. cloud providers to spell out how they will protect customer data in Europe, and therefore likely to drive similar changes internationally.

Sustar said that multinational corporations will have to pay increasing attention to what cloud workloads and data run where, and what government authorities have access to that data through legal proceedings or otherwise. 

“One indicator of this trend is OVH’s offering of Google Anthos on bare metal in a hosted private cloud,” he said. “This allows European users interested in Anthos to embrace it without risking running afoul of GDPR and other regulations.”

Forrester predicts that the cloud market in China will be impacted by the government order for state owned companies to shift to state-run cloud providers. 

“While it is a bit early to assess what that impact will be, the Chinese private sector will continue to drive growth among Chinese cloud service providers,” he said. 

Increased automation in cloud data centers 

Another change in cloud data centers in 2022 will be more robots taking over maintenance, monitoring and security, according to a new report from Gartner.

“The gap between growing server and storage volumes at data centers, and the number of capable workers to manage them all is expanding,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. He said in a press release that companies need automation to keep up with the increased demand for cloud services and the shortage of people to fill open jobs.

“Data center operations will only increase in complexity as organizations move more diverse workloads to the cloud, and as the cloud becomes the platform for a combinatorial use of additional technologies such as edge and 5G, to name a few.”

Gartner sees the robots as the perfect fit for data center tasks that are tedious, complex and repetitive, such as capacity planning, rightsizing virtual machine and container environments and ensuring efficient use of resources to avoid “cloud waste.”

SEE: Robodog patrols data center and checks server temps 

“Data centers are an ideal sector to pair robots and AI to deliver a more secure, accurate and efficient environment that requires much less human intervention,” Nag said.

Here are the best tasks for robots, according to Gartner:

  1. Server upgrades and maintenance, including decommissioning and destroying drives and conducting mass upgrades.
  2. Monitoring temperature, sound and other activity.
  3. Physical security including human temperature checks via heat sensors or license plate recognition for parking facilities.

Gartner also sees an increase in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in cloud operations for monitoring and management of IT processes in the data center. 

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