Worldwide, enterprise spending on cloud computing infrastructure is expected to exceed $1 trillion for the first time in 2024. This will be driven by factors such as a growing need to adopt new platforms and as-a-service offerings, including artificial intelligence ( AI) ) services.
This is because in 2024, businesses are looking beyond the opportunities to save time and money with cloud migration. New use cases in all industries make it clear that it can often be the key to becoming more innovative, agile and successful.
For many companies, there will still be significant challenges – often around security and data protection issues. However, new models that attempt to offer the world’s best solutions, such as hybrid cloud and federated cloud systems, will continue to break down barriers.
In 2024, the cloud will continue to be a dynamic and exciting driver of innovation and opportunity. Here is my overview of what will be the most important trends in this area.
Cloud infrastructure has a big role to play in making AI available to the masses, along with all the economic and social benefits it is expected to generate. AI models, such as the large language model (LLM) that powers ChatGPT, are trained on massive amounts of data and use massive amounts of computing power. Most companies don’t have the resources to do this themselves, but by accessing AI-as-a-service via cloud platforms, they can leverage this powerful, transformative technology.
Hybrid and multi-cloud
The number of large organizations with a multi-cloud strategy (i.e. they purchase cloud services from more than one provider) is predicted to increase from 76% to 85% in 2024. It offers cost and flexibility benefits but adds complexity to data governance and integration with legacy systems. Multi- and hybrid clouds (mixing cloud with on-premises infrastructure) are advanced infrastructure solutions that will continue to grow in popularity as organizations try to balance security with flexibility and choose the services they need.
Real-time cloud infrastructure
In 2024, organizations will increasingly seek to leverage real-time data to gain timely insights rather than acting on outdated, out-of-date information. At the same time, more and more of the data we consume will come in the form of streamed data – movies and music from Netflix and Spotify, video data from Zoom or Teams calls, and new forms of streamed entertainment such as cloud gaming. This means that data storage that prioritizes immediate access, such as Flash and solid-state storage devices, will be increasingly in demand by cloud customers.
Cloud-powered innovation and transformation
In addition to AI mentioned above, the use of cloud computing technology can be a gateway to many other transformative technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and quantum computing. By eliminating the need to invest directly in architecture and infrastructure, companies can launch rapid win/fail initiatives to evaluate the benefits of emerging technologies easier than ever by 2024, thanks to cloud computing.
Cloud security and resilience
Encryption, authentication and disaster recovery are three features of cloud services that will be increasingly in demand as we face the growing threat landscape in 2024. Data theft and data breaches are increasing in frequency and severity as hackers develop new AI-driven forms of attack, and all systems that must be available to a human will always be at risk from social engineering attacks. This means that security and resilience are high on the agenda for all cloud providers and customers.
Sustainable cloud computing
The major cloud service providers have all made net-zero commitments, not only for their own operations but to help customers who use their services reduce their carbon footprints. Amazon has pledged to achieve zero emissions by 2040, and Microsoft aims to beat this by ten years. Along with Google, they have also all stated their intention to generate 100 percent of the energy used in their operations from renewable sources. Whether they can do it remains to be seen, but the pursuit of greener and less environmentally impactful cloud computing will be a strong trend in 2024.
Simplified cloud computing
Today, low-code/no-code tools open up the possibility for non-technical people to create applications that would previously have required trained software engineers. Similarly, cloud providers leverage drag-and-drop interfaces and natural language tools to eliminate the need for advanced technical skills and “democratize” the deployment and management of cloud services and infrastructure.
Privacy in the cloud
Cloud integrity refers to the ongoing development of technical, regulatory and legislative solutions designed to help businesses leverage the cloud while ensuring their customers can trust their data to be fully protected. When a business uses a cloud service, it generally means that data is transferred to a third party – usually the cloud service provider. Addressing the privacy implications of this will continue to be an important theme in cloud computing in 2024.
Serverless and Pay-As-You-Go Cloud
Serverless is a model of cloud service that eliminates the need for companies to manage their own servers. While a typical cloud service might charge the company for the number of servers they want their infrastructure on, under a serverless model, the company simply pays for the resources they directly use. This increases efficiency by eliminating the need to pay for servers even when they are not in use, freeing up business time to focus on core activities.
Edge Computing everywhere
Edge computing is a cloud-related paradigm where information is processed as close as possible to the location where it is collected. An example would be a real-time wearable heart monitor designed to detect arrhythmias. Since most of the data it collects would be “normal” heart rhythms, it would be a waste of bandwidth to send everything to the cloud for analysis and then back to the user to tell them everything is fine. Analyzing the data on the device itself eliminates this cost and also means that the user can be alerted more quickly if anomalous data is detected. By 2024, smaller, more energy-efficient processors, more memory-efficient algorithms, and advanced networks like 5G will contribute to making the edge increasingly viable for a growing number of applications.
You can read more about future technology and business trends in my books, The Future Internet: How the Metaverse, Web 3.0, and Blockchain Will Transform Business and Society, Future Skills: The 20 Skills and Competencies Everyone Needs to Succeed in a Digital World and Business trends in practicewhich won the Business Book of the Year 2022 award. And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me further X (Twitter), LinkedIn and YouTube for more on future trends in business and technology.
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