Revised cloud predictions in the wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the business challenges caused by it, might be a catalyst for many companies to accelerate their move to cloud.

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Who would have thought that 2020 would turn out like this?  That many of us would be working from home and thinking twice before venturing out. Keeping a distance from our friends and loved ones and trying new digital experiences we never expected.


Beyond just changes to our routine, business and technology transformations have changed as well. And with this comes a shift in cloud predictions many put forward late last year.

Across the board, the pandemic has changed the way consumers rely on connectivity, and made businesses realize their legacy IT infrastructure may not be up to keeping pace with new demands. With that, cloud adoption has the potential to emerge even stronger than it did before. According to IDC, 64% of India's organizations are expected to increase demand for cloud computing, and 56% for cloud software to support our new normal.

So how does COVID-19 change some of the cloud predictions that were put forward at the end of 2019?


The increased importance of hybrid cloud

While I predicted that hybrid would be a crucial area, I did not expect the actual pace, which has become much higher.

With cloud technologies becoming part of every IT environment – from operations to orchestration and beyond – its adoption, including the move to hybrid, will accelerate due to this new normal. More organizations will adopt a hybrid cloud approach sooner than expected, as they’ll have no other choice to keep up with technology’s aggressive evolution.


They must run legacy workloads or local cloud on-premise while also deploying on public clouds and manage workloads there; this is from both a VM and Kubernetes perspective. Red Hat and VMware are going head-to-head here.

As COVID-19 severely impacts IT teams’ time and budget, those who provide solutions that are easier to run and integrate will win this space. Simplicity, known skillsets and familiar products with shorter time to integrate will be critical.

Containers will still become the de-facto software packaging model


Container platforms have become an essential factor in the hybrid cloud landscape, accelerating multi-cloud adoption in enterprises. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 70% of organizations will be using at least three containerized applications in production.

Even with the prioritization of other tasks due to COVID-19 disruption, container adoption is continuing at full speed along with the wider implementation of Kubernetes.

COVID-19 should not impact the adoption of containers for those already on a Kubernetes platform. Anyone who already started with Kubernetes uses containers already, and organizations understand the value of Docker-based DevOps, local PC development and CI/CD pipelines based on containers.


2020 no longer the year of serverless computing momentum

I expected a move towards maturing best practices, security solutions, and tooling around serverless computing as more IT organizations looked to implement the technology. I saw AWS Outposts as the likely chief disruptor here as they blur the lines between on-cloud and on-premise workloads and services, with Google Anthos and Microsoft Azure as its main competitors.

However, we can now assume that COVID-19 will have impacted the adoption of new technologies. This is because many organizations are unable to deal with new technology due to the other tasks that have taken precedence for now. I also expect organizations that were experimenting with the likes of AWS Lambda or kNative may take a step back for at least three to six months.


Service mesh is not quite the standard approach for cloud-native apps and microservices

I expected the industry to start uniting behind a single strategy to service mesh in 2020. But as of now, the list of open-source service mesh options continues to grow. This makes it one of the most interesting domains today, full of emotions, fights and changes, unaffected by COVID-19.

As a standard continues to elude the industry, things can become highly problematic. This is because once you adopt service mesh, it becomes a critical path in your deployment and application dependency.


A few weeks ago, I spoke to Dell’s CTO, John Roese, and he firmly believes the industry will eventually converge. Although IBM, VMware, Red Hat, Pivotal and Google commit to ISTIO as their service mesh, the industry is still waiting patiently for this convergence to happen.

While all of this in-fighting is happening, a new body, the Service Mesh Initiative, was set up to ensure none of the hyper-scalers could impose a lock-in on service mesh. This could begin to change things, as IT organizations can define applications that use service mesh without tightly binding to any specific implementation. Watch this space.

While COVID-19’s impact may have thrown a few things off base at the start of 2020, it’s likely a temporary slowdown. As new demands require a more flexible IT environment to keep pace, there is no question that things will speed back up. And when it does, IT organizations must be ready to implement the latest innovations or risk being left behind.


  • Avishai Sharlin, General Manager, Amdocs Technology