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Cloud technology has fundamentally transformed how we live and work, enabling everything from streaming webinars and hosting online meetings to sharing data and collaborating on projects with colleagues across the globe. As we look ahead to 2024, cloud computing trends are even more powerful, universal, and crucial for both businesses and consumers. That alone makes them worth looking into, which is what this article aims to do.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a framework that gives you on-demand remote access to resources such as servers, databases, applications, storage, and other software solutions. It is a flexible and sustainable model that uses “the cloud” to access computing resources on any device, at any time, and from anywhere in the world with nothing more than a strong internet connection.

What are the Main Advantages of Cloud Computing?

From a bigger perspective, cloud computing is more than technology; it’s a strategic asset that offers businesses agility, efficiency, and a competitive edge. Whether you’re in IT, e-commerce, healthcare, or education, investing in cloud computing services and solutions can help you achieve more with less. And here are some of the key benefits you should consider:

  1. On-demand resources. Just as you can stream your favourite show whenever you want, cloud computing offers access to computing power on-demand, without the cost of building or buying hardware.
  2. Scalability. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a growing enterprise, the cloud grows with you. You can scale your computing resources up or down with just a few clicks, ensuring you’re never paying for more than you need.
  3. Pay-as-you-go. This is the financial highlight of cloud computing. You pay for exactly the amount of resources you use (much like how you pay for utility bills). This option is great for businesses with a limited budget that they need to maintain.
  4. Accessibility. The cloud makes it possible to access your work, collaborate with teams, or crunch big data from anywhere in the world, with nothing more than a strong internet connection and a laptop. This flexibility is a game-changer in today’s mobile-first world.
  5. Maintenance-free. The cloud service providers handle the maintenance, updates, and backups. That way, you can focus on what’s important—growing your business and innovating.

The cloud computing industry has exploded over the last decade and that growth shows no signs of slowing down. According to Statista, the worldwide public cloud services market is expected to surpass 690 billion USD in 2024.

What does the future hold for the cloud? Here are a few predictions to keep an eye on over the upcoming months and years. The cloud is going to become greener, more decentralised, and increasingly vital for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

The cloud computing industry is constantly evolving, with new trends emerging that shape how we store and access data. Here are some of the top cloud computing trends predicted for 2024:

#1: Cloud Migration and Multi-Cloud Adoption

Migration and multi-cloud adoption are at the very top of cloud computing trends for 2024. As more companies move their data and workloads to the cloud, the need for simplified management and optimised workloads is becoming increasingly important.

Migrating to the cloud

If your company still has data and applications on-premises, migrating them to the cloud should be a top priority. Cloud migration offers benefits like reduced costs, increased scalability, and improved disaster recovery. The process of moving to the cloud is known as “cloud migration” and there are a few common ways to approach it:

  • Rehosting (also called “lift and shift”). You move your applications to the cloud as-is. This is the quickest approach but you don’t optimise the app or take advantage of cloud capabilities.
  • Replatforming. Where you make a few minor changes to your app to optimise it for the cloud. This could include changing the OS or database.
  • Refactoring. Where you re-architect your app to utilise cloud capabilities like auto-scaling and platform services. This requires more effort but allows you to maximise the benefits of the cloud.
  • Rebuilding. Where you redevelop your application from scratch using cloud-native features and services. This is the most resource-intensive option but results in an application built specifically for the cloud.
  • Retiring. Some legacy applications may no longer be needed and can be retired during migration.

Adopting a multi-cloud strategy

As we’ve mentioned, rather than committing to just one cloud provider, many companies are adopting a multi-cloud strategy. The two most popular cloud providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

A multi-cloud approach does introduce additional complexity in managing multiple platforms, but the benefits often outweigh the challenges. With the major cloud providers offering similar services at competitive prices, a multi-cloud strategy allows you to use the best services for your needs regardless of the provider.

#2: Serverless Computing and FaaS

Serverless computing and Functions as a Service (FaaS) are also two of the most prominent cloud trends for 2024. As companies continue migrating more of their infrastructure to the cloud, serverless and FaaS provide an easy way to build and deploy applications without managing servers.

Serverless computing

Serverless computing eliminates the need to manage infrastructure and allows developers to build applications faster. Services like AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, and Azure Functions are becoming more widely used, especially for applications with unpredictable usage. The serverless model is a natural next step in the evolution of cloud computing.

The cloud provider dynamically allocates resources to run your code, scaling up and down automatically. You only pay for the compute time your code uses. This allows you to focus on your code and business objectives rather than managing servers.

Some of the major benefits of serverless computing include:

Functions as a Service (FaaS)

FaaS refers to the ability to deploy single-purpose, event-driven functions in the cloud. Rather than building and deploying a full application, you deploy standalone functions that run in response to events. FaaS platforms manage the infrastructure required to run your functions, scaling automatically based on demand.

Some common use cases for FaaS include:

FaaS provides a simple, scalable way to deploy microservices and event-driven architectures in the cloud. With FaaS, you can break down large, complex applications into a series of functions and deploy them independently.

#3: The Rise of Hybrid Cloud Computing

Most companies are opting for a hybrid cloud approach, using a mix of public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises resources. Multi-cloud is also popular, with businesses choosing different clouds for different workloads based on each platform’s strengths. This provides more flexibility and helps avoid vendor lock-in. According to surveys, over 85% of enterprises will have a multi-cloud strategy in 2024.

A visualization of cloud computing trends

Flexibility and control

A hybrid cloud gives you the flexibility to choose where workloads and data reside based on your needs. You can keep sensitive data and workloads on-premises in a private cloud and tap into the public cloud for more general computing and storage. This allows you to maintain control over security and compliance while still leveraging cloud scalability and agility.

Cost savings

With a hybrid cloud, you only pay for what you use in the public cloud. You can keep stable, predictable workloads in your private cloud and burst into the public cloud during peak times. This optimises costs since you’re not paying for unused resources. A hybrid cloud also allows you to choose different public cloud providers based on the services you need and the costs for each platform.

Improved resiliency

A hybrid cloud architecture improves resilience by removing dependence on any single cloud provider. If one public cloud experiences an outage, you can shift essential workloads to your private cloud or another public cloud. This minimises downtime and ensures business continuity.

Seamless integration

The key to an effective hybrid cloud is seamless integration between the private and public cloud platforms. Look for public cloud providers that offer hybrid cloud solutions with common management tools, security models, and networking capabilities across environments. This will allow you to deploy and manage workloads across clouds with ease.

The rise of hybrid cloud is an exciting trend that provides organisations with more choice and control over their infrastructure decisions. A hybrid approach supported by seamless integration and management is the future of cloud computing that more companies will adopt to drive innovation and optimise costs.

The flexibility, control, cost-savings, and improved resilience of the hybrid cloud will make it central to business agility and competitiveness in the coming years. It offers the best of both worlds, combining public cloud and private cloud infrastructure.

#4: Cloud-Native Applications

Cloud-native computing uses the cloud model to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as containers. As the cloud-native stack matures, companies will build more of their infrastructure and applications to be cloud-native. This enables faster software delivery, higher resiliency, and portability across clouds.

Cloud-native applications are designed specifically for cloud environments. Unlike traditional applications that were built for on-premises data centres, cloud-native apps fully leverage the cloud for scalability, elasticity, and resilience. There will also be broader adoption of cloud-native platforms that are optimised to run in the cloud. These platforms simplify deploying and managing cloud applications.

Built for the cloud from the ground up

Cloud-native applications are developed and deployed on cloud infrastructure. They are designed to take advantage of cloud capabilities like autoscaling, microservices, and containerisation.

Microservices architecture

Cloud-native apps are broken down into separate modules known as microservices. Each microservice focuses on a single function and can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently. This allows for frequent updates without downtime.

Containerisation

Microservices are packaged into containers, which are lightweight and portable software units. Containers make it easy to build, deploy, and scale cloud-native applications. Popular container technologies include Docker and Kubernetes.

Scalability and elasticity

Cloud-native applications can scale rapidly up or down to match demand. They are elastic, meaning resources can be automatically added or removed based on load. This allows the app to handle spikes in traffic without interruption.

Continuous integration and delivery

Updates to cloud-native apps are delivered continuously through DevOps practices like continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment. This speeds up development and ensures a smooth user experience.

Resilience

Cloud-native applications are designed to withstand failures. Using techniques like redundancy, the apps can continue operating even when components fail. Issues are often resolved without the end user even noticing.

Lower costs

The pay-as-you-go model of cloud computing, combined with the scalability of cloud-native apps, results in lower costs. Resources are only paid for when in use, and apps scale up and down based on demand.

Cloud-native applications are the future of software in the cloud. As more companies move to the cloud, developing and deploying cloud-native apps will become essential to gaining a competitive advantage. The benefits of scalability, resilience, and lower costs are too great to ignore.

#5: Edge Computing is On the Rise

Edge computing is poised to gain significant momentum in the coming years. As more connected devices come online and 5G networks are deployed, the demand for processing power at the edge of the network is increasing.

What is edge computing?

Edge computing refers to data processing that happens at the edge of the network, closer to where the data is generated, rather than sending it all back to a central data centre. Edge servers and devices handle data processing, storage, and networking. They can respond more quickly to local events and operate even when connectivity to centralised data centres is poor or unavailable.

An illustration of edge computing relating to the cloud

The role of edge computing

There are a few key benefits of edge computing:

What’s next in edge computing?

Expect to see continued growth in edge computing investments and deployments over the next few years:

  • Advances in AI and ML will enable more sophisticated edge computing applications. AI-powered edge devices will be able to analyse data and respond intelligently in near real-time.
  • 5G networks are accelerating edge computing adoption. 5G provides the high bandwidth, and low latency connectivity needed to support data processing at the edge of the network.
  • More partnerships are forming between cloud providers, network operators and hardware vendors. These alliances are making it easier for organisations to deploy and manage edge computing solutions.
  • New edge computing business models are emerging. As the technology matures, companies are finding innovative ways to monetise edge computing capabilities and services.

Many industries are already increasingly adopting edge computing for applications like streaming virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and more. The edge will complement and extend cloud and data centre computing.

Over the coming decade, edge computing is poised to transform digital business models and user experiences. The next few years will see exciting progress in this fast-growing field.

AI and Machine Learning in the Cloud

AI and machine learning have fundamentally transformed cloud computing trends and possibilities. As the major cloud providers race to integrate AI and ML into their platforms, businesses of all sizes are poised to benefit from these emerging technologies in the cloud.

Automated infrastructure management

Cloud infrastructure will become increasingly automated and self-optimising. AI and ML algorithms will help optimise resource allocation and utilisation across clouds to save costs and improve performance. They can predict server loads and automatically scale computing resources up and down as needed.

Improved data security

AI and ML will enhance cloud security and privacy. Intelligent systems can detect anomalies and suspicious activity to identify potential threats. They can also monitor user access and behaviour to flag unauthorised access attempts. AI can even help obfuscate or anonymise data to address privacy concerns.

Streamlined business processes

Many business processes will be automated and optimised using AI and ML in the cloud. Things like HR onboarding, contract management, customer service inquiries, and more will be handled by intelligent systems. Bots and virtual agents will field basic questions and requests, freeing up human employees to focus on more complex work.

Hyper-personalised experiences

The combination of AI, ML and cloud computing will enable hyper-personalised experiences for customers and employees. Intelligent systems can capture data about individual preferences and behaviours to tailor experiences and recommendations. The power features like personalised product recommendations, customised training and development programs for employees, and adaptive learning platforms.

AI and ML in the cloud will continue to expand in scope and sophistication. While people once feared that AI would replace human jobs, most experts now agree that AI will augment and enhance human capabilities. AI and humans will work together, with each playing to their strengths. The future of cloud computing trends will be built on human-AI collaboration.

#6: Cloud Computing Security Challenges and Solutions

Cloud computing trends have revolutionised how we store and access data, but it also introduces new security challenges that didn’t exist with on-premises infrastructure. As more sensitive data is stored on the cloud, companies must make security a top priority to mitigate risks.

Cloud vulnerabilities and threats are constantly emerging, so companies need to implement strong cloud security measures like identity and access management, data encryption, threat detection, and compliance management to secure their cloud-based resources.

Here are some of the biggest security challenges with cloud computing and solutions to help address them.

Data breaches

When you move data to the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere, making it an attractive target for hackers and cybercriminals. Solutions:

Misconfiguration

It’s easy to misconfigure security settings in the cloud, potentially exposing data. Solutions:

Lack of visibility

With data in the cloud, it can be difficult to maintain visibility and control. You don’t have the same level of oversight as with on-premises infrastructure. Solutions:

Shared responsibility

While cloud providers handle the security of the physical infrastructure, you are responsible for securing your own virtual infrastructure, applications, and data. Solutions:

With risks evolving so rapidly, security must remain a priority focus for companies embracing the cloud. However, with the right solutions and practices in place, organisations can reap the benefits of cloud computing while minimising threats.

Final Thoughts

As cloud computing services become more sophisticated and specialised, the possibilities are endless – especially with a team of skilled IT professionals by your side. Whatever industry you’re in, these cloud computing trends and predictions can help you work smarter, scale faster, and reach new heights.