It used to annoy me but now I think it’s funny. Every December my inbox gets stuffed with emails from PR firms that push predictions their clients make, hoping for a mention in a publication. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read “Cloud security will continue to be on the CIO’s list of priorities in the upcoming year.” You really went out on a limb for that one, Captain Obvious. Many of the 2022 cloud predictions are equally inane.
Here in the real world, generalized predictions are rarely helpful. The valuable predictions focus on some detailed aspect of cloud computing. As enterprises implement specific technology such as ops, development, governance, security, etc., those who implement these technologies need to know about potential as well as certain upcoming changes. That’s why I like to focus my predictions on cloud computing in the narrow versus cloud computing in the wide.
Here are two of my 2022 cloud predictions about governance and cloudops.
Governance. The rise of multicloud and other forces that drive the cloud complexity problem will continue in 2022. Governance will become the focus for enterprises that need to get their overcomplicated cloud platform under control. The spotlight won’t be on governance in general, it will be on high-priority issues that most enterprises will encounter or already have, namely cost governance as it relates to financial operations (finops).
In most enterprises, cloud costs got out of control in 2021. The cloud provider isn’t raising prices, but the staff who use the cloud services are not being held accountable. Many available cost governance solutions can do a good job of watching the who, when, where, why, and how around the consumption of cloud services. These tools build great reports and dashboards. Unfortunately, they rarely deal with the core problem: the ability to dynamically react and respond to issues such as cloud services that run beyond their time of usefulness, or overconsumption of cloud services by humans and systems that don’t have limits in place or other accountability.
My governance prediction for 2022: Enterprises will focus on their finops governance problems. The refocus on governance with purpose-built tools and customizations in place as a response will accelerate for enterprises with at least 20% of their workloads and data moved to the cloud. As enterprises toss capable tools at the issue, the key success factor will be to create an accountability culture around cloud cost governance at the same time.
Cloudops has always been a focus of those who implement cloud-based systems, so what can be new in 2022? Expect to see a refocus on automation and abstraction, and how emerging tools can provide these capabilities.
At the heart of current cloudops issues are cloud and even traditional systems that are overly complex, meaning too many moving parts and too much heterogeneity. I’ve beaten the cloudops complexity issue to death, and you may recall that it’s been a consistent prediction of mine. Now others are beginning to voice the problems of cloud complexity. Perhaps more important, we’re finally seeing tools that are purpose built to take on the challenge.
Missing from most of the more traditional cloudops tools, as well as from new AIops derivatives, are the notions of abstraction and automation. Although most tool providers claim they have both, the reality is that automation systems (such as the ability to provide self-healing services) are largely loosely coupled from the ops tools. In many cases, they are separate tools altogether. Automation is the main weapon to fight complexity since you want to automate many of the ops tasks that can work with overly complex systems.
I rarely see abstraction when I evaluate ops tools. Most tools provide the ability to see systems that are very complex, but we must deal with each endpoint separately as layers of abstraction. These layers can represent many things in the aggregate, such as storage and compute, and the best way to deal with them is by using simplified abstraction layers. The goal is to manage many different types and brands of cloud storage as a single unified concept and layer. This makes ops much simpler.
This year cloud complexity problems became more commonly understood. My prediction for 2022 is that enterprises will pay more attention to tools that can help solve their highest priority complexity problems, namely finops governance and cloudops automation.
Have a great new year.