Forrester released a report on Monday establishing five cloud computing predictions for 2020. The predictions reveal the growing battle for cloud computing dominance, with major cloud vendors evolving and shifting tactics. These predictions will help CIOs and their organizations prepare for the growing cloud landscape, which continues shifting as industry cloud leaders develop.

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With the public cloud market—cloud apps (SaaS), cloud development and data platforms (PaaS), and cloud infrastructure (IaaS)—expected to reach $411 billion by 2022, Forrester outlined the following five future enterprise cloud shifts in its Predictions 2020: Cloud Computing report.

Cloud computing predictions

1. IBM and Oracle retreat to familiar territory; Alibaba threatens Google

Depending on the organization’s needs, a company can rent any of these services from major cloud providers. Today’s major cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba, according to Dave Bartoletti, author of the report and principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals at Forrester.

While AWS, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba are established as major cloud vendors, IBM and Oracle have attempted to play the field too, Bartoletti said. However, IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat and Oracle’s partnership with Microsoft in 2019 is indicative of where they are headed in 2020, the report found.

These moves from IBM and Oracle indicate that they are shifting focus away from the cloud provider space and more to the development platform space. IBM and Oracle attempted to compete in the public cloud market, but simply didn’t have enough money to be competitive with the other four cloud giants, Bartoletti said.

IBM instead will focus on helping customers use the OpenShift development platform, through any major cloud vendor, to modernize their core business applications. And Oracle will focus on what it’s good at–its Software as a Service (SaaS) and autonomous database products, Bartoletti said– directing customers to use Azure for cloud development services including artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), Kubernetes/containers, Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging innovations, according to the report.

“This means that there won’t be any new major hyperscale public clouds [in 2020],” as IBM and Oracle have taken themselves out of the running as major cloud vendors with these new ventures, Bartoletti said.

The report also noted that Oracle will ink a high-speed connection deal with AWS similar to the one it has with Azure. In 2020, the four hyperscale cloud vendors will generate 75% of the entire $75.4 billion global public cloud infrastructure market.

Alibaba will generate $4.5 billion in cloud platform revenue, rising above Google for the No. 3 revenue spot globally, according to the report.

Alibaba’s success can be attributed to its unmatched footprint in China. If Google wants to become more competitive globally, its best chance is by focusing its sights on European business, Bartoletti said.

SEE: Special report: The art of the hybrid cloud (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

2. SaaS vendors exit proprietary platforms and move to the hyperscale leaders

Those SaaS vendors that were late to the infrastructure market are opting for large-scale cloud infrastructure partners. One example is Infor building its CloudSuite on AWS. Thistrend will become even more prominent in 2020, according to the report.

“To compete in the SaaS space, you need to reduce your margins as much as possible,” Bartoletti said. “Salesforce, for example, is moving more and more of this backend to AWS; Microsoft’s Office 365 runs on Azure infrastructure. What this means is that [SaaS vendors] can get back to competing at what they’re good at, which is the application layer. They need to make the application better.”

Regional partnerships have already started, with Workday partnering with AWS in Canada and Salesforce with Alibaba in China, according to the report.

3. High performance computing (HPC) use in public cloud grows to 40%

HPC in the public cloud has historically been difficult to achieve because of large resource requirements, the need for powerful infrastructure, and spontaneous demand. In 2020, however, large investments by cloud providers will successfully bring HPC to the cloud, according to the report.

HPC is able to conduct a large amount of computing in a very small amount of time, Bartoletti said. “High performance computing is a very specialized workload in different industries. It could be weather forecasting, it could be risk analysis. It could be analyzing farm data to find out the best place to plant crops based on the changing weather conditions,” Bartoletti said. “But, it’s been very expensive to run that in the public cloud because you have to buy all of this infrastructure and then turn it all off when you’re done using it.”

In the past couple years, however, AWS, Azure, and Google have all added HPC to their services, allowing users to buy the computing power and only use it when they need to, Bartoletti said.

Because of these investments, use of HPC in the cloud is expected to increase by 40% in 2020, the report found.

HPC in the cloud has grown and will grow quickly: 36% of global infrastructure decision makers at enterprises ran HPC workloads in the cloud in 2018, and more than 40% are expected to in 2020.

This increase is driven by new public cloud instance types including AWS’s C5/P2/P3/G3 instances, Azure’s H-/NC-/ND-/NV-series, and Google’s V100/P100/K80, as well as new hybrid cloud offerings like C5 instances on AWS Outposts, new managed services like Azure’s partnership with Cray, and a growing number of industry-focused HPC solution providers, the report found.

4. Open source cloud native development battles target service meshes and serverless

Competition will be fierce in the service mesh and serverless spheres in 2020, the report found.

“Companies are breaking down their applications into smaller and smaller components called microservices. The best way to deploy those microservices are in small software containers,” Bartoletti said. “A service mesh is a set of technologies that helps you run a mesh of hundreds or thousands of containers. You can see what they’re all doing, who’s talking to each other, who is down today, who has to be fixed, etc.”

Many open source companies are competing in the service mesh field: Consul Connect, Gloo, Istio, Kuma, Linkerd 2, Maesh, Mesher, and SOFAMesh. Major commercial offerings including AWS App Mesh, Google Anthos, and VMware NSX SM are already available. Of the service mesh technologies Istio appears to have the most traction so far, according to the report

For serverless, kNative seems to be the most promising platform. Both serverless and service mesh companies will continue competing for popularity in 2020, however, according to the report.

5. Cloud management players tackle cloud security

Cloud management came into focus this year with the Capital One breach in AWS. “It was the first time there was a major breach in the public cloud,” Bartoletti said. “So the focus in 2020 will be securing data in the public cloud.”

Prior to the breach, cloud management players defined security as “access control, permissions, and policy creation, while ignoring cloud workload security (CWS), cloud security gateways, microsegmentation, encryption, security analytics, threat intelligence, endpoint detection and response, etc.,” as stated in the report.

While native players will continue investing in these security procedures, data management players will emerge as the cloud security leaders in 2020, since the focus is shifting to securing data, Bartoletti said

Early signs of this movement already started in 2019, with VMWare’s acquisition of Carbon Black, according to the report.

The report outlined some easy targets for future acquisitions. These targets include Cybereason and SentinelOne for Endpoint Detection and Response; and Armor, Cloud Passage, Illumio, and Threat Stack for cloud workload security.

The year 2020 will bring many changes to the cloud computing world, but these predictions can act as a guide for companies gearing up for the new year.

For more, check out Top cloud providers 2019: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud; IBM makes hybrid move; Salesforce dominates SaaS on our sister site ZDNet.

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