2024 Cloud Predictions

| January 19, 2024

By Alex Woodie–For many, the cloud is already the defacto platform for storing and processing big data. In 2024, industry experts predict cloud computing will grow and evolve into something different as the data gets bigger and analytics and AI become more critical to business success.

Surprise bills have cast a cloud of sorts on public cloud deployments in past years. In 2024, cloud cost optimization will go from a nice-to-have to a strategic corporate priority, predicts Haoyuan “HY” Li, the founder and CEO of Alluxio.

“Beyond tactical cost management, such as rightsizing and adopting spot instances, organizations will undertake more strategic evaluations and optimizations,” Li says. “These will modernize and optimize cloud-deployed systems for cost-efficiency, with some workloads potentially reverting to on-premises. Cloud ROI depends on holistic optimization spanning architecture designs, cost monitoring, negotiations with cloud vendors, and continuous re-evaluation.”

AI may get a few headlines in 2024, but the real action will be in the cloud, predicts Matt Asay, the vice president of developer relations at MongoDB.

“Ironically, the dominant tech trend in 2024 won’t be AI, but it will be the technology that enables AI: cloud,” Asay says. “ Even though 90% of IT spending is still related to on-premises deployment, there’s a major shift happening with AI as most of its workloads run on the elastic infrastructure that cloud offers. The cloud is doing the heavy lifting by making it easier to manage data, infrastructure, and more, enabling organizations to implement AI in a productive and efficient manner. If quiet, that will be the biggest tech trend for 2024 and many years to come.”

Cloud customers who struggled to get access to the latest, greatest Nvidia GPUs to train GenAI models last year may find solace in the availability of “lesser” GPUs in 2024, predicts Greg Osuri, the founder of Akash Network and the CEO of Overclock Labs.

“As Big Tech corners the market on powerful GPUs, a growing number of organizations will turn their attention to less powerful chips in 2024,” Osuri says. “Those seeking alternatives will make progress by using less intensive data set requirements, using more efficient techniques like Low-Rank Adaptation (LoRA) to train big language models, and ‘parallelizing’ workloads, where they deploy clusters of say 100,000 lesser chips to do the job of 10,000 H100s. The rise of distributed and permissionless networks will permit organizations to harness the power of these lesser chips and increase the overall utilization of all capable chips,  which are abundant and oftentimes sit idle. This will allow smaller companies and startups to innovate and make real contributions to the AI boom, mitigating concerns that Microsoft, Google, and Meta will dominate the tech transformation.”

Hybrid multi-cloud architectures will be the new datacenter in 2024, says Amitabh Sinha, the CEO of Workspot.

“In the coming year, we will see an influx of companies opting for hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, Sinha says. “The difference with the previous years is evident, as they will aim to seamlessly combine these two approaches. Companies will be enjoying the best of both worlds: the flexibility and scalability of multi-cloud architecture coupled with sovereignty and control over their data and applications offered by the hybrid cloud – in-country, across regions, or around the world.”

Multi-cloud will become less of a pipe dream and more of a reality in 2024, says Jaret Chiles, chief services officer at DoiT International. However, it still won’t be commonplace.

“As application architectures, technologies and processes continue to evolve, legacy limitations to multi-cloud adoption will continue to deteriorate over time,” he says. “This will enable more application architectures to be true multi-cloud solutions that take best of breed technologies across the platforms. That said, cloud providers will always continue to advance and where one may have a best of breed capability, it’s not guaranteed to maintain that stance. As such the complexity and associated risks of true multi-cloud application deployments will remain limited to very special use cases.”

Companies will begin considering cloud computing as an operating model in 2024 and not just where you store your data and run your apps, says Monica Kumar, the chief marketing officer at Hitachi Vantara.

“In 2024, we will see a significant shift in the perception of cloud computing,” Kumar says. “Gone are the days when all public cloud is good; we will now be looking at cloud as an ecosystem. Cloud will no longer be a fixed location–either on-prem or in the cloud. It’s an operating model that offers cloud principles like agility, self-service, cost-effectiveness, and scalability. This transformation from a location to an operational framework is becoming increasingly clear as more cloud providers begin to leverage solutions that bridge the gap between on-prem and cloud deployments.”

This year will mark the emergence of the data cloud as a one-stop shop for analytics and AI, says Molham Aref, founder and CEO of RelationalAI.

“While data clouds are not new, I believe there will be a continued emergence and a clear distinction made between data clouds and compute clouds in 2024,” Aref says. “With compute clouds like AWS or Azure, we have had to assemble and stitch together all the components needed to work with AI. So with data clouds, like Snowflake or Microsoft Fabric, users have it all pre-packaged together in a single platform, making it much easier to run analytics on data needed to build AI systems. The rise of the data clouds will offer a better starting point for data analytics, and AI and ML.”

There will be some pushback against software as a service (SaaS) providers by customers who don’t trust that they have their best interests at heart, says Shiva Nathan, founder and CEO of Onymos.

“While SaaS has many benefits, enterprises often don’t understand how their data is being used by their own SaaS providers,” Nathan says. “Zoom became a high-profile example of this when critical details emerged about the company’s use of customer data to train AI models. This specific development spurred spirited conversations in 2023 around data ownership in SaaS, and these discussions will only continue in 2024. However, on the heels of more recent SaaS ‘vendor compromise’ cyberattacks, the conversations in the year to come will focus on the overall trustworthiness of these solutions and why other approaches to software development, like using pro-code technology, could be the best and most secure moving forward.”

Like usage-based pricing from SaaS providers? Well, you can expect more of it in 2024 from IaaS providers, says Sam Richard, the head of growth at ngrok.

“In 2024, there will be a significant shift in SaaS pricing models, with the usage-based or ‘pay-as-you-go’ strategy set to become the standard for enterprise infrastructure companies,” Richard says. “Technical users and developers are driving this change for technology costs to be more transparent. They are increasingly aware of the limitations of traditional pricing structures, such as per-seat and flat-rate models, and now expect to pay only for the services they use. Usage-based pricing tailors cost to value, aligning with users’ expectations for scalability and flexibility. Enterprises that remain entrenched in outdated pricing models may encounter difficulties staying competitive in this evolving landscape.”

2024 will be marked by creeping chaos caused by quick and easy cloud solutions and cyber breaches, predicts Dave Stokes, a technology evangelist at Percona.

“The demand for databases that are easy to spin-up and use will only accelerate,” Stokes says. “Object relational mappers will be popular with developers who do not write SQL and this will produce badly performing queries that will need to be rewritten by specialists who do write SQL. Cloud bills will consistently creep towards the stratosphere, spurring sales of antacids for managers and accountants. There will again be embarrassing data breaches but the public is getting numb to the revelations that yet another set of their private data is in the wind.”

Lastly, a storage refresh will help public cloud providers drive greater efficiency into their operations, reaping great rewards for themselves and the planet, predicts B.S. Teh, EVP and chief commercial officer for Seagate Technology, 

“Nearly 90% of data in cloud data centers resides on hard drives,” The says. “As data center infrastructure approach natural refresh cycles, there is an opportunity to replace fleets of lower-capacity hard drives with higher capacity drives. Today, the average hard drive capacity is 16TB, based on conventional PMR technology. Because it can physically store more bits on a single drive, new HAMR technology will enable data center managers to populate those same slots with 30TB high-density drives, yielding significant power and space savings and massive TCO efficiencies—including CPU, RAM, and floor space.”

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