Our Big, Bold Predictions for Cloud Computing Trends in 2023
2022 was a big year for cloud computing, and 2023 is shaping up to be just as, if not more, exciting. As we look to the year ahead, we wanted to share our predictions for the biggest cloud computing trends in 2023. Here’s what’s on our minds.
Hybrid cloud is now the norm
This one shouldn’t be too surprising, but it is an important call out. Last year, Cisco made headlines with the publication of its 2022 Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report, reporting that 82 percent of surveyed organizations had adopted hybrid cloud environments.
82 percent is a pretty solid majority, and multiple other sources and vendors are in agreement that hybrid cloud is now the norm. That has some interesting implications for areas like security, talent, cost optimization, and operational complexity, making multi-cloud management platforms an increasingly important investment for organizations. It also means multi-cloud experience is a must-have for developers and engineers.
This will be an interesting space to watch as investment in private cloud and zero-trust architectures heat up, especially among larger organizations.
Sustainability commitments will become increasingly important
The physical infrastructure powering the cloud consists of energy- and water-intensive data centers, some of which use more electricity than entire cities and more water than golf courses. Cloud providers are well aware of this, with the Big Three all committing to run their data centers on 100 percent renewable energy and become water-positive within a few years.
However, terminology in this area can be confusing, as we covered in our deep dive into data center sustainability. The gold standard here is actually 24/7 carbon-free energy (CFE)—not 100 percent renewable energy, though that’s a great starting point. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure have both set goals to achieve 24/7 CFE by 2030, but AWS—the largest cloud provider by far among the Big Three—has yet to make such commitments.
The IPCC (UN body on climate change) says time is quickly running out for the world to slash emissions to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis, not to mention the world is running out of freshwater. This combination makes it especially important for energy and water hogs like data centers to operate sustainably as emerging technologies like generative AI and spatial simulation stand to require massive increases in computing power.
Investment in edge computing will continue to grow
As live streaming, VR/AR, IoT devices, and high performance computer gaming become more popular, so, too, will edge computing. Moving more resources to edge locations is an effective way to reduce latency for these technologies, a strategy that works even better when paired with 5G networks.
The world is becoming ever more hungry for data, and that goes for just about everything—cars, home appliances, agricultural equipment, electrical grid components, and more now feature internet connectivity. It follows that data center operators and even telecom companies will continue to invest heavily in the edge.
This is especially important for realizing the full value of IoT endpoint devices. It’s really hard to tap into all the data generated by those wind turbines and factory robots without significant computing power at the edge, something that will become even more critical with the proliferation of autonomous vehicles.
More cloud resources will go serverless
If it wasn’t crystal clear from the slew of new product announcements and updates at AWS re:Invent late last year, serverless will be a big trend in 2023—one in which AWS is heavily invested.
Serverless computing lets you run workloads in the cloud without having to worry about infrastructure, freeing up developers and engineers to focus more on writing code than provisioning resources. This comes with some major benefits, including cost reductions, improved scalability, and faster deployment.
AWS isn’t the only company betting big on serverless computing. GCP, Azure, Cloudflare, Red Hat, and IBM are all vying for serverless market share, as well as Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei.
Increased accessibility of AI and ML
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard all about generative AI by now. There’s been a lot of hype around AI in the past few years, and while a lot of the technology hasn’t lived up to that hype, generative AI does.
Wasting a few hours playing with tools like DALL-E and ChatGPT is entertaining (what’s not to love about a tool that can instantly create a picture of a possum lightsaber fighting a T-rex on top of a giant cheeseburger?), but companies are already thinking up creative, practical uses for this emerging technology that will make a pretty big impact.
Microsoft and Google already announced plans to incorporate generative AI tech into their search engine products, and Shopify recently launched a generative AI tool for automatically writing product descriptions. These are early use cases of a nascent technology, so it will be fascinating to see what we’ll be able to do with generative AI in the future as the technology improves.
In the meantime, generative AI tools will impose increased demand for cloud resources, especially compute and storage. This is another area where edge computing will likely play a big role.
2023 will be a year to remember for the cloud
As we start to see exciting results from new technologies like spatial computing, generative AI, the internet of things, and augmented reality, the importance of the cloud becomes even clearer. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how these trends play out throughout the rest of the year and paying attention to whether the added cloud resources they require can be delivered sustainably.
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