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Cisco exec airs 2019 cloud directions

News Analysis
Jan 29, 20196 mins
Cloud ComputingEnterprise Applications

Cisco finds Kubernetes, legacy application integration and edge computing technologies are among cloud growth showgrounds

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Kubernetes, legacy application integration and edge computing technologies are but a few of the technologies Cisco sees as having some of the greatest impact on cloud computing in 2019.

Cisco aggressively ramped up its own cloud presence in 2018 with all manner of support stemming from an agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that will offer enterprise customers an integrated platform that promises to help them more simply build, secure and connect Kubernetes clusters across private data centers and the AWS cloud. The joint Google and Cisco Kubernetes platform for enterprise customers also moved along in 2018.

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Kip Compton, senior vice president of Cisco’s Cloud Platform and Solutions Group, recently blogged about how he sees the cloud computing market evolving in in 2019.  Cloud is a catalyst for changing how enterprises will do business in the emerging global digital economy and shows no signs of weakening in 2019, he wrote.

Compton put forth the following key trends in his blog:


Certainly the darling of the cloud/container world of 2018, the popularity of Kubernetes is growing. The Cloud Foundry Foundation recently released the results of a new survey that found among other things that 45 percent of companies are doing at least some cloud-native app development, and 40 percent are doing some re-architecting/refactoring of their legacy apps.

Compton noted that almost every major cloud player announce a Kubernetes service in 2018.

“As enterprises transform and modernize their technology, Kubernetes is rapidly becoming an essential part of these transformations, enabling speed in developing and deploying applications across both private and public clouds,” Compton stated.   

Compton stated that as customers deploy Kubernetes into mainstream production environments this trend will grow. 

Legacy applications

Legacy application have been viewed as a bugaboo for cloud operations but they aren’t going anywhere. Most enterprises will continue to develop applications that stay on premises for a period of time, but they will realize the business value in taking an on-premises resource and giving it a facelift with new capabilities that reside in different clouds, Compton wrote.   

“New technologies like service mesh and Istio will mature, support, and enhance legacy applications by binding to innovative services residing on other environments. As enterprises look to move forward with cloud, the looming task of altering or replacing hundreds of thousands of legacy applications is a huge cost and time investment.” Istio software helps set up and manage a network of microservices or service mesh.

This is the year enterprises will need to recognize the careful planning and significant resources to effectively tackle the legacy application behemoth, he stated.

Data transparency: In the coming year we will see a growing trend toward enabling applications from anywhere to access data from anywhere, Compton wrote.  

“With businesses accelerating application development and deploying in multicloud environments, there has been a great deal of innovation around cloud management platforms that offer a degree of cloud abstraction and microservices,” he said.

Whether due to latency, regulations, or data gravity, businesses have often been unable or unwilling to relocate large amounts of data. This reluctance has often been in conflict with the desire to deploy and manage applications across a variety of private data center, clouds, and the edge, Compton wrote.  

Edge computing

Over the course of the year, processing functions will move closer to the cloud edge and the data source to minimize latency on the applications.

“Enterprises will need to think about how they take capabilities beyond the data center, across WAN networks, and into increasingly smaller cloud edge deployments, closer to the end user or data collection point,” he said.

Doing this will lead to faster decision-making, and faster innovation will result, Compton said.

Managed cloud

“Given the importance of on-premises data centers, we will expect a natural balancing of workloads distributed across data centers and clouds based on business criteria,” Compton said.

This year will bring new ways of offering on-premises, managed cloud services as both software stacks and appliance-like offerings, providing a highly prescriptive extension to the cloud into the customer environment as a managed service. We are just beginning to see examples of this including Microsoft AzureStack, Google Cloud Services Platform (CSP) and AWS Outposts, he stated. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Cisco and others, such as VMware, Dell, HP and Juniper, are really only at the beginning of figuring to what to do with AI and machine learning (ML) and potential services around it.  But no doubt investments in AI/ML around cloud will grow. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be huge enablers of technology innovation, Compton said. 

“Enterprises will leverage AI/ML to improve business outcomes through insights, automation, diagnostics and cost optimization. Most enterprises will continue to invest in both on-premises as well as cloud-based AI offerings,” he wrote.

Data center/public cloud marriage

An important focus will be in creating fluidity of data sources between on premises and public cloud. Enterprises will see their private data centers continue to grow, while at the same time expanding their adoption of public cloud services.

“They will look to build common management and policy-based governance across their multicloud environments so they can simply and securely innovate, deploy, and manage applications at an accelerated rate,” Compton stated.

Compton’s observations match up with data found in the company’s 2018 Global Cloud Index, which says that by 2021, 94 percent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers; 6 percent will be processed by traditional data centers.

The Index also says that overall data-center workloads and compute instances will more than double (2.3-fold) from 2016 to 2021 and for cloud those will nearly triple (2.7-fold) over the same period.

Gartner recently stated that software as a service (SaaS) is driving growth in almost all software segments, particularly customer relationship management (CRM). Cloud software will grow at more than 22 percent this year compared to 6 percent growth for all other forms of software. While core applications such as ERP, CRM and supply chain management continue to get the lion’s share of dollars, security and privacy are of particular interest, Gartner said.