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Bernard Golden of CIO Magazine recently posted five predictions for cloud computing in 2016. In his article, “5 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2016,” Golden colorfully writes that “2016 will go down as the year in which the future of IT appears out of a murky, dank, blinding fog into the clear sunshine of the shape of things to come.” Here’s what Golden forecasts:

  1. The decline of enterprise cloud computing. Industry trends in 2015 indicate that consumer preference has shifted away from enterprise cloud services and toward commodity cloud services. Golden identifies large industry players who have either moved on from their enterprise cloud offerings, sold off their enterprise assets, or lost top cloud executives. By contrast, the “whitebox, self-designed hardware and self-development software control plan” offered by the major cloud providers “is the winning formula.” Although the larger enterprise cloud service providers may still find limited success, Golden believes that “it will be by addressing a narrow market niche; it may look successful, but it will pale in comparison to the numbers the main cloud providers will put up on the board.”
  2. Hybrid cloud clarity. Golden anticipates that enterprises will settle on a balance between cloud and on-premise computing infrastructure, the question being how much will remain in an on-premise environment. He predicts a shift away from the more costly on-premise approach, with “increasing use of public cloud computing for most new applications.”
  3. A focus on applications. According to Golden, “the debate is over” about which infrastructure IT groups should use—their focus should shift to delivering the best applications possible using whatever the fastest available infrastructure. This will likely spark a run on cloud-native application programmers, of which there are currently few in the market. Golden wonders how companies, and specifically their human resources departments, will adapt their practices to attract talent from this limited pool.
  4. Reformatting enterprise IT organizations. Drawing an ominous parallel to US car manufacturers losing half their market share before finally adapting Japan’s smaller, fuel-efficient design approach, Golden warns that enterprise IT groups ought to begin offering the same immediacy provided by today’s popular media-streaming and crowd-sourcing platforms: “[i]nstead of once- or twice-a-year releases, these new model companies release once or twice an hour.” Accelerating to continuous application delivery will be paramount, “and the penalty for failure will be extreme.”
  5. From virtual machines to computers. Given the trend toward cloud-native applications, the current virtual machine environment will no longer be able to support the anticipated application delivery timeframe demands, says Golden. Containers, and not virtual machines, will ultimately provide the most efficient and effective application execution environments. This transition won’t happen overnight, “but the growing awareness that any future plans for enterprise application must assume containers as the default execution environment. Attempting to achieve the kinds of enormous changes necessary to become cloud-native is simply impossible with typical virtual machine use.”