Another year has passed and 2018 has been a really great year for the cloud. We can now really say that cloud is becoming a commodity and common sense. After years of arguing why the cloud is useful, this discussion is now gone. Nobody doubts the benefits of the cloud anymore. The next year, most developments that already started in 2018 will continue and intensify. My predictions for 2019 won’t be revolutionary but the trends we will see in the short period of this year. Therefore, my 5 predictions for 2019 are:

1. Strong growth in the cloud will continue, but it won’t be hyper growth anymore

In the past years, companies such as Amazon or Microsoft saw significant growth rates in their cloud business. These numbers will still go up by a large, double digit, growth rate for all major cloud providers (not just the two of them). However, overall growth will be slower than previous years as the market gets more mature. To win market shares, it will now not only be relevant to offer cloud products (literally), now it is relevant to have a significant market presence and sales force available in all markets to win from the competition. Also, more companies are now looking for a dual-vendor cloud strategy in order to overcome potential vendor lock-ins. To make this easier for customers, cloud companies will offer more open source products in the cloud. This will give them additional options to argue against a vendor lock-in.

2. PaaS Solutions will now see significant uptake, driven by containerisation

Containerised services are already here for some years and services such as AWS Lambda or Azure Functions are really great solutions for building web based services. However, many (traditional) companies still struggle with this approach and on how to use them. With Software Engineers and Architects experimenting with these kind of services, they will bring them back to enterprise environments. Therefore, significant growth in these services will happen over the next month. This will partially eat up share on pure IaaS services, but it is the path that the cloud will become more mature in it’s service stack as well.

3. The number of existing domain specific SaaS solutions will grow significantly

Just like software products in the past emerged on the windows platform or Apps emerged on the iPhone or on Android, new SaaS solutions emerged over the last years in the cloud. This trend will now speed up, with more domain specific platforms (e.g. for finance, marketing or alike) getting more popular and widely accepted. Business functions in traditional companies won’t question the cloud the same way as IT departments do and thus seeing fast growth. IT departments have to accepted this development and shouldn’t block it. 

4. Cloud will become local

All major cloud providers are continuing to invest significantly in data centers around the world. This trend won’t stop in 2019. The first data centers were built in the US, later on we saw data centers in APAC and Europe. Until some years ago, all major cloud providers had 2 data centers in Europe, which were simply called “North Europe”, “West Europe” or alike. In the last 1 or 2 years, this was changed by having data centers dedicated to specific markets (but still being useable by others). These markets now include Germany, UK, France, Sweden, Italy and Switzerland. However, much more data centers will emerge, also covering smaller markets as the maturity grows. First data centers opened in Africa, which is a very interesting market with huge but still underestimated potential. As of Europe, I see the CEE and SEE markets not covered well and would expect a dedicated CEE or SEE data center to open in the next 1-2 years.

5. Google will catch up fast in the cloud, mainly driven by it’s strength in the AI space

When it comes to the cloud, the #3 in the market is definitely Google. They entered the market somewhat later than AWS or Microsoft did. However, they offer a very interesting portfolio and competitive pricing. A key strength Google has is their AI and Analytics services, as the company itself is very data driven. Google really knows how to handle and analyse data much more than the two others do, so it is very likely that Google will use this advantage to gain shares from their competitors. I am exited about next Google I/O and what will be shown there in terms of Analytics and AI. 
These are just my ideas about the Cloud and what we will see in the next year. What is your opinion? Where do you agree or disagree? Looking forward to your comments!

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