Cloud computing has allowed businesses to focus on their core competencies and expand their operations without worrying about IT infrastructure. It’s pretty much the same grip we had many years ago. Now that cloud computing is already over 20 years old (depending on who you ask), will interest in this technology “trend” persist?
I’m not talking about cloud computing’s ability to bring value to businesses or to be a solid, viable technology – that should always get attention. But will the industry continue to talk about cloud computing as an interesting concept? Is this still something most companies, the tech press, and analysts should continue to watch closely?
This is a good question considering other technology trends in the IT industry, such as client/server, enterprise application integration, business-to-business, distributed objects, oriented architecture services, then cloud computing. I happily surfed most of these waves.
All of these concepts still exist, perhaps on a grander scale than when public interest was hot. However, they are not discussed as much these days as other tech trends grab the headlines, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
So, should the future see more interest in cloud computing, less interest, or about the same?
On the one hand, cloud computing is becoming more standardized and, dare I say, commoditized, with most cloud providers offering similar services and capabilities to their competitors. This means companies no longer need to spend so much time and resources evaluating different vendors.
At the time, I spent a lot of time talking about the advantages of cloud storage on one provider over another. Ditto for databases, AI and security. Almost all public cloud services do the same things these days, albeit in slightly different ways and at slightly different prices.
Today, pitting one cloud provider against another, which was a common way to generate interest in the past, isn’t as compelling as it was just a few years ago. If all cloud providers are relatively successful in providing basic computing services such as storage, compute, AI, databases, etc., what are we talking about now?
On the other hand, cloud computing could become more exciting, thanks to the emergence of new technologies and capabilities. Cloud providers are now offering more advanced AI and machine learning services, such as Generative AI. Indeed, the generative AI craze could not have happened without cloud computing platforms. Much of the rise of generative AI is also following the rise of the cloud. This may create another wave of excitement and hype around cloud computing.
Similarly, cloud providers are increasingly offering state-of-the-art computing capabilities, allowing enterprises to process data closer to the source, reduce latency and improve performance. Although many predicted a few years ago that edge computing would replace cloud computing, it is more of a symbiotic relationship. Like generative AI, edge computing is driving renewed interest in cloud computing.
Sustainability has also sparked more interest in the cloud computer lately. Cloud providers are investing heavily in renewable energy and carbon offset programs, enabling businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their sustainability goals. Additionally, the cloud is simply greener than more traditional, homegrown, on-premises approaches.
I suspect that the concept of “cloud computing” will eventually become part of the computing zeitgeist, and we will discuss it less and less as an isolated idea. The fact that this hasn’t happened already amazes me, given the state of the computer industry. It may be because companies are taking so long to develop this technology. The multitude of mistakes made in recent years are well documented, and the current interest in cloud computing may be more about understanding a technology that was first misused.
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