Archana Venkatraman (Senior Research Manager European Cloud Data Management)

I love our annual research planning meetings, and especially so if it is the start of a new era — the 2020s — and about a technology that has triggered the fourth industrial revolution — Cloud!

Based on the conversations with our cloud, application delivery, and infrastructure research teams, as well as CIOs and channel and technology providers, it is clear that cloud in Europe is getting bigger, broader, more layered, and multidimensional. It is not just a technology — it is becoming a de facto operating model for IT.

Discussions are swiftly moving beyond cloud and its standalone value to how it accelerates business-led innovation such as AI and ML, edge computing, IoT, robotics, and low-code applications. Conversations are also about sustainability pledges, overcoming management complexities, enabling better data movement, and cloud ecosystems.

By 2021, European Enterprises’ spending on cloud will grow steadily to over $100 billion. Here are the FIVE TRENDS impacting cloud in Europe (you can also check out our Cloud Predictions 2020 webcast here):

  1. Investments to master multicloud and hybrid cloud: Nearly 70% of European enterprises operate in multicloud environments, but for a majority, this environment is by accident.

One rapidly emerging trend is development in multicloud management and infrastructure-as-code across public cloud and on-premises infrastructure. These are starting to come together to deliver real transformation. Investment in on-premises modernization, cloud, and management tools will grow to solve the automation and management conundrum.

  1. Containers gaining momentum as an enabler of multicloud environments and cloud-native apps: Containers are appealing so enterprises can abstract workloads to run them on any infrastructure, helping overcome the workload stickiness on one infrastructure. Containers are also emerging as a popular choice to develop cloud-native applications.

Examples are emerging where companies are transforming VM workloads to containers to deliver infrastructure as a code, as well as have an agnostic, multicloud-friendly architecture.

By 2023, half of enterprise applications will be deployed in a containerized hybrid cloud/multicloud environment to provide agility and deliver a better management experience.

  1. AI on Cloud: This is a very interesting space to watch out for.

AI will first be applied in the cloud in 2020 before being distributed, because currently public cloud providers lead commercial AI development and deployment. Two factors are converging for this trend:

  • The ML pipeline is moving to the cloud: data storage, model development, training, and inference.
  • Machine learning as a service (MLaaS) is making pretrained AI models available to developers via APIs (e.g., image/speech recognition, forecasting, anomaly detection).

These trends deliver benefits to enterprises by addressing issues relating to AI skills, infrastructure requirements, and scaling.

Although hyperscalers currently dominate cloud-based AI, the landscape will shift with the emergence of cloud-native edge platforms, driven by the performance, cost, and the AI needs of applications such as IoT, real-time experiences, and gaming.

  1. Enterprise workloads moving to the cloud and verticalization of cloud offerings: This is the era in which critical applications — Windows apps, SAP apps, Oracle apps, Java apps, etc. will be refactored or modernized en masse for the cloud.

European organizations have begun deploying industry-specific solutions in cloud environments. By 2023, 64% of enterprises will reduce the cost and complexity of customizing enterprise applications by investing in industry — specific SaaS applications and platforms. The role of vendors is to offer professional services to help with integration and deployment across various industries in Europe, as well as assess current processes and workflows.

  1. Evolution of the cloud partner ecosystem: The complexity associated with multicloud and hybrid cloud environments creates opportunities for cloud partners to develop and deliver new services.

Ever increasing needs for skills, speed and agility is a key driver pushing the adoption of managed cloud services. Managed and professional services will wrap around cloud offerings, providing ongoing opportunities for partners to provide specialist skills and services.

We will watch and analyse these key trends and how they unravel and impact cloud in Europe, so keep watching this space! If you want to learn more about this topic or have any questions, please contact us, or head over to https://uk.idc.com and drop your details in the form on the top right.

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