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Predictions 2019 update: Cloud computing soars to new heights

At the end of 2018, Forrester’s cloud team made some bold predictions about how cloud computing would accelerate enterprise digital transformation everywhere, from the data center to the mobile device to the edge. And we were right: Enterprise demand is exploding, new cloud platform services are being launched monthly, and public cloud services are coming down to earth (well, into the corporate data center).

A third of the way through 2019 (wow, really? already?), how did we do? Very well, it turns out — the cloud ride is accelerating, faster than we predicted only three short years ago. Cloud vendor innovation pace is off the charts, and revenue is soaring.

Let’s take a look at just three of our 2019 cloud computing predictions to see where we stand a third of the way through 2019:

The biggest public cloud providers will get bigger, enterprise spending will surge, and China will disrupt.

Q1 2019 update: Amazon Web Services (AWS) revenue jumped 45% year over year to $7.43 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018, Microsoft Azure revenue grew 76%, and Alibaba reported that its cloud unit is nearing $1 billion per quarter. The public cloud market continues to outperform our expectations, and we’ll be publishing our updated global public cloud market forecast later in Q2 2019. (Sneak preview: Expect the cloud market to top $230 billion, up from just over $100 billion in 2016.)

Containers, Kubernetes (K8s), and serverless will reshape core enterprise apps.

Indeed, there is no turning back from the container juggernaut, as we predicted, and in the first few months of 2019, the most vexing but exciting challenge for our enterprise clients is: Where do you start? How can you get the benefits of “cloud-native” as quickly as possible in the enterprise? Build a dev platform from scratch? Deploy one of the rapidly growing enterprise container platforms from Docker, IBM, Pivotal, Red Hat, and VMware? Start with a public cloud container platform from Alibaba, AWS, Azure, or Google? There’s a surfeit of choice and a container platform for every skill level, development need, and operational objective.

Three major approaches to private cloud will materialize.

It’s never been more clear that the next wave of cloud platform adoption will happen in the data center and in the public cloud — at the same time. Not satisfied to wait for permission or retraining to get started on transforming enterprise apps with cloud tools and tech, enterprises demand on-premises versions of cloud services (dev platforms in particular). And they want those cloud services to align with the public cloud services they know and love.

This demand led to Azure’s newly announced versions of Azure Stack, Google launching Anthos (a unified on- and off-prem K8s development platform), and even prompted AWS to announce plans for its first on-premises service, Outposts.

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Network switch and UTP ethernet cables

Whether you’re looking to the cloud to help you build that next amazing customer experience, or to rehost a large part of your existing virtualized data center, or to refactor, rethink, and reimagine your most important, core business applications, now is the time to get started.

There have never been as many ways to use cloud services wherever you need them — behind your firewall, in a globally distributed public cloud, at a managed hosting provider, and at the edge on connected devices. Remember, only a small fraction of core, legacy business applications run in a public or private cloud. We’re truly just getting started.

(This post originally appeared on the Forrester Research blog, which can be viewed here).

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