Cloud Architecture has come a long way. A decade ago, the first “primitive” Cloud services became available. Since then, a variety of organizations, ranging from nonprofits to government agencies to startups, have embraced Cloud technologies. These are some things being done with Cloud Computing:
- Backing up, storing, and recovering data
- Developing new apps and services
- Hosting blogs and websites
- Delivering software on demand
- Streaming video and audio
- Analyzing data for patterns and making predictions
The use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) or renting a Cloud, has increased significantly in recent years. Many more organizations will take advantage of the high-performance and simplicity offered by the Cloud over the next few years, if they wish to remain competitive.
5G Has Problems
The combination of Cloud technologies and 5G cellular can provide substantially more capacity and function to Internet of Things (IoT) systems. 5G offers an infrastructure that provides faster mobile service connections, allowing network customers to upload videos more quickly, stream smoother movies, and connect more devices to the internet. However, there are four issues at play that make it difficult to predict the future of 5G. One is financial, two are political, and the fourth is a concern about health and environmental issues.
First, it is very expensive for a network to transform into a 5G system. Second, the United States FCC has eliminated regulations providing net neutrality, which offered a level playing field for internet providers, and promoted competition. Net neutrality is the concept that internet providers treat all data and people equally, without discrimination or charging different users different rates based on such things as speed, content, websites, platforms, or applications. If some networks deliberately slow down communications from competing networks, what’s the point in investing a fortune for a new, faster system? Third, a battle is taking place between the U.S. and China, which will determine which country will dominate in the use of 5G, and consequently, the Trump administration has considered taking bids for a national 5G infrastructure. The fourth issue is the amounts of wireless radiation that would be released on a global scale and are believed to cause cancer in humans. For this reason, Europe may reassess and postpone implementing 5G networks.
With all the factors impacting 5G networks, it may be several years before it is used on a national or worldwide basis. Currently, Verizon offers 5G broadband internet in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston, and Indianapolis.
The Goal of Mobility
The expectation of mobility is gradually becoming the standard. Business people will require devices and apps allowing them to access a full range of office tools. These tools will be provided by way of the Cloud, and will utilize fast and light cutting-edge devices, and offer the same level of output and security. Offices will become mobile.
More Cloud Storage Capacity
It is reasonable to expect Cloud storage services to continue expanding, and become less expensive. This will require more new data centers coming online, with greater storage capacity. A Cisco survey estimated the global storage capacity would reach 600 exabytes in 2017. Those numbers are expected to expand to 1.1 zettabyes in 2018, effectively doubling the storage space of 2017.
As data centers expand their available storage, effective businesses will take advantage, using the additional space and lower costs to realize their goals. Businesses working with Big Data will have access to increased storage space, allowing them to more easily gain valuable insights about human behavior, strategic financial investments, and medical systems, etc.
The Internet of Everything (IoE)
A continuous flow of innovations in Cloud Computing and Real-time Data Analytics are promoting the development of the Internet of Everything. The IoE uses machine-to-machine communications, data, processes, and “has an understanding” of how humans interact with essentially everything in their environment. As the IoE continues to develop, humans should be able to intelligently interact with every device within a network. IoE will, theoretically, provide businesses with greater insights into the relationships consumers have with their products or services.
Japanese hospitality robots provide an example of how IoE can be used. These smart robots have the ability to greet guests, provide certain services, and converse in real-time. These robots are meant to be multilingual, and capable of speaking fluently in English, Chinese, and Korean. The robots can make hand gestures, or mimic other human behaviors, including breathing and blinking. This is all made possible by continuous interaction with the Cloud.
Hybrid Cloud will become the dominant business model in the future, because of the freedoms and strengths it offers. Hybrid Clouds combine private Clouds with public Clouds to provide the advantages of both. Typically, in a Hybrid Cloud, the applications and data can transfer back and forth between public and private Clouds, providing more flexibility, tools, and deployment options. For example, a public Cloud can be used for high-volume, low-security projects, such as email advertising, while using the private (on-premises) Cloud for more sensitive operations, such as financial reports.
“Cloud bursting” is feature of Hybrid Cloud systems and describes an application or resource that runs within the private Cloud until there is a spike in demand (think online Christmas shopping or filing taxes), when the application “bursts” through to the public Cloud, tapping into additional resources.
The use of Data Containers will become easier to use and more and more popular for transferring data. Containers resolve the problem of having software run reliably when transferring the data from one system to another. Data Containers store and organize virtual objects (a self-contained entity consisting of both data and the procedures used to manipulate the data). However, there are limitations. While containers are very easy to transport, they can only be used with servers having compatible operating system “kernels.”
While this limits the servers that can be used, Kubernetes has become popular and has provided the “standard method” for the orchestration of all of the nodes within the application. Additionally, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft offer Kubernetes-as-a-Service. This makes it easier to shift the infrastructure between major Cloud providers. Additionally, IBM has announced their private Cloud will support Kubernetes in its Bluemix Public Cloud. Generally speaking, containers will become easier to use.
According to Scott Coulton, the principal software engineer at Puppet, in 2018 (and certainly even more as we move into 2019):
“I think we are going to see more distributed systems and applications, leading us to smaller units of applications. Container workloads will be the norm in production, with Kubernetes reaching the masses, especially with the upcoming Windows support.”
Artificial Intelligence Platforms
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to process Big Data is one of the more significant improvements in gathering Business Intelligence data and providing a better understanding of how business works. An AI platform is designed to function more effectively and intelligently than more traditional frameworks.
When it is designed well, an AI platform supports a faster, more efficient, more effective way to collaborate with Data Scientists and other staff members. It can help to reduce costs in a variety of ways, such as preventing the duplication of effort, making simple tasks automated, and taking over some labor-expensive tasks, such as copying data, or the extraction of data.
An AI platform can also support Data Governance, assuring best practices are used by AI and Machine Learning engineers. AI platforms can also aid in assuring the work is more evenly distributed and gets finished more quickly.
Serverless Computing is gaining in popularity. It is a process used by Cloud clients, who request a container Platform as a Service (PaaS), and the Cloud provider charges for the PaaS as needed. The client has no need to rent or buy servers beforehand and doesn’t have to configure them. The Cloud is responsible for providing the platform, it’s configuration, and a variety of useful tools for designing apps, and working with data.
The concept is an extension of the philosophy that Cloud clients should pay only for what they need. Serverless Computing appeals to customers who do not want to spend time or money buying and programming servers. The disadvantage of the approach is that customers may experience resource limits or performance problems.
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