Cloud computing emerged as a saviour of the world economy during the Coronavirus pandemic by enabling the global workforce to work remotely. With experts predicting that the pandemic will continue to influence business trends in the upcoming year, cloud computing will only continue to grow in importance.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has emerged as the global leader for providing cloud services, and it continues to remain at the cutting edge of every new trend on the cloud computing horizon. Here are some of the predominant trends we can expect to see in 2021.

Growth of Public Cloud Infrastructure

The coronavirus pandemic placed a spotlight on the value that cloud computing can bring to enterprises. This is reflected by the growth in total cloud revenues (public and private), which is pegged at 34.4% in 2020 as per an IDC report. Global Cloud spending surpassed the spending on traditional IT infrastructure — a landmark milestone for cloud computing.

As experts continue to monitor the pandemic impact, market trends indicate that enterprise adoption of cloud infrastructure will continue to grow significantly. This is in line with Gartner’s prediction that public cloud revenues will increase by 18.4% in 2021.

Amongst the leading cloud service providers, AWS holds the lion’s share of the market at 33%. It is unlikely to be dethroned in the coming year as its closest competitors are still trailing behind significantly - Microsoft Azure with its 18% market share, followed by Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud with 9% and 7% market share respectively.

Hybrid Cloud Architectures

The exponential expansion of IoT has led to the adoption of faster and more accessible data storage and processing capabilities closer to the end-point device, as offered by Edge Computing. This is often supplemented by Fog Computing solutions, which have localised cloud solutions provided via an IoT gateway or a Fog node.

Enterprises, on the other hand, are increasingly opting for multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions which are best suited for the various use cases they need to cater to. This strategy offers them multiple benefits such as reduced latency, better data speed, improved security and more control. Using a combination of (one or more) public cloud and private data centres for their operations also allows them to keep their options open and avoid getting locked into a single cloud service provider.

AWS Outposts offers a hybrid cloud solution that helps integrate AWS infrastructure and services with any hybrid cloud architecture. Amazon also offers an integrated solution in the form of VMware Cloud on AWS to allow enterprise users to extend their VMware environments to AWS Cloud.

Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) solutions are becoming increasingly common in enterprises around the world. As enterprises shift their operations to the cloud, it becomes imperative for cloud service providers, not only to support AI engineering, but also to provide AI and ML services that can easily integrate with the applications they host. We are inevitably moving towards a future where AI and ML will be provided as services.

In 2020, Gartner named AWS a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud AI Developer Services. The wide range of AI and ML services that AWS provides includes advanced text analytics, image and video analysis, personalised recommendations, real-time translations, fraud prevention, demand forecasting, automated code reviews etc. They also recently launched Amazon Redshift ML to enable data analysts and developers to create and deploy machine learning models.

Serverless Architecture and Function as a Service

Serverless Architecture is all set to become the next big thing in the tech world. This cloud computing model allows developers to build applications without having to worry about how they will manage infrastructure. The cloud provider completely manages the allocation of resources, implementation, scaling, and maintenance of servers.

By providing Function as a Service (FaaS), cloud service providers allow developers to execute code without having to build or maintain the infrastructure to run that code. It adopts an event-based architecture where the functions are triggered by specific events.

The FaaS model offers several advantages. Developers can spend more time working on their core-product and application specific logic instead of spending time on building or managing the infrastructure on which the application will run. There is no need to declare resources, as FaaS makes applications auto-scalable. This also allows enterprises to avoid paying for idle resources as they are billed based on the actual consumption. It also offers much better availability and fault tolerance.

AWS offers serverless services in the form of AWS Lambda and Amazon Fargate, along with a host of data storage and application integration options such as Amazon EventBridge, AWS Step Functions, Amazon API Gateway, AWS AppSync, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Aurora Serverless, etc.