future of cloudIn the coming year, cloud adoption trends will be driven by the need for increased performance and speed. Here are a few predictions for the future of cloud that we think will materialize in 2016.

1. Hybrid cloud adoption

One of the main cloud trends for 2016 will be the accelerated shift to hybrid cloud. Enterprises want the ability to deploy workloads in their own private environments as well as in service provider environments to achieve the best possible cost efficiency and performance.

Until recently, cloud platforms haven’t delivered the feature parity and technical maturity required by enterprises to make the hybrid cloud dream a reality. But recent advancements are changing this, namely:

The maturing of OpenStack and feature parityOpenStack has matured and is becoming the cloud platform of choice, making hybrid cloud more accessible to enterprises. While older versions of OpenStack couldn’t match the features and functionalities of other cloud platforms, it now enables on-demand provisioning of bare-metal and virtual instances from the same management interface. The improved feature parity and hybrid capabilities of OpenStack have given enterprise IT the flexibility and control they need to successfully deploy and manage cloud infrastructure. The increased demand for hybrid cloud is one of the main drivers of OpenStack’s continued success.

Technology maturity of cloud – The cloud itself has evolved to become more fluid, stable and interoperable. Today, the interface between the applications and the cloud enables easier migration and movement. Previously, moving workloads was difficult or impossible because many clouds employed proprietary technologies, which caused vendor lock-in. More standardized cloud technologies allow enterprises to move workloads more easily between public and private cloud and even other environments such as those in a data center or third party.

Learn more: The road to hybrid cloud

2. The application lifecycle moves to the cloud

As enterprises recognize the need for faster, more agile development, the entire application lifecycle will move to the cloud. The days of a monolithic architecture with a large development team dedicated to the entire application are over. Instead, organizations are recognizing the agility offered by easily configurable infrastructure platforms, where everything from dev to QA to launch takes place in the cloud.

Using this approach, some companies with cloud-native apps are adding hundreds of new features and functionality every day. The increased speed and agility offered by a configurable infrastructure platform applies to legacy applications as well; shortening the lifecycle by two-thirds or more than 60% can have a significant business impact.

The underlying infrastructure must also evolve to support this new approach. Developers need the ability to provision infrastructure on demand in a more fluid and cloud-like way. The days of complex approval and procurement processes will be replaced with an API-driven approach.

3. Cloud performance matters

Driven largely by the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud performance will become more critical in the coming year. As IoT gains momentum, it will require high-performance cloud infrastructure to enable efficient data processing and decision making in real time. Without a doubt, IoT technologies will be disruptive across a variety of industries, and businesses large and small will need to have a plan in place to handle this disruption to their ecosystem. IoT will require a highly responsive, scalable infrastructure to successfully derive value from such massive amounts of data. Cloud will become central to IoT infrastructure to enable instant calculations and analysis that will influence supply chain decisions.

4. Big data evolves

Enterprises will continue to embrace the value of big data and use it to drive innovation in their business. Instead of deciphering which big data tools will best fit the needs of the business, enterprises will look to service providers to handle the complexities of the underlying big data tools and infrastructure. Big data-as-a-service (BDaaS) will shift the burden off the enterprise and onto the service provider to create the infrastructure to best support it. Not only will this approach reduce complexity for the enterprise, it will offer better performance and allow enterprises to focus on developing powerful, reliable big data insights.

5. DevOps meets the enterprise

Enterprises are beginning to understand the value of software at the speed of DevOps. In recent years, software-based services have disrupted long-standing industries by creating applications that are easily adopted and consumed by users. The way Uber has transformed the transportation industry is a prime example.

At its core, DevOps relies on agile processes and a fast development lifecycle. Ideally, there is very little lag time between writing the code and making the functionality available on a web page or app, which results in a near-continuous deployment process. Traditional software development processes can’t match this level of speed and time to market.

Enterprises will undergo a philosophical and organizational change as they begin to adopt DevOps-style processes and become more agile. This shift will also drive the need for frictionless processes and increased infrastructure agility. Without access to server provisioning on demand and other cloud automation tools, the dream of implementing DevOps-style processes will not become a reality. Ultimately, the ability of enterprises to compete with disruptive software-based services depends on a foundation of flexible, agile infrastructure.