As curtains are drawn on 2018 and we look towards 2019, we pause to look at the Multi-Cloud and IOT landscape, our theme with the Fabric 3 fund.

Multi cloud is becoming mainstream. With over 80% of today’s businesses using multiple cloud environments, it’s safe to say that multi-cloud has become the new normal. Organizations are using over 4 clouds on an average with private cloud loads (45%) still being higher than public cloud (32%).

But despite its popularity, enterprises aren’t always using their clouds efficiently. The decision on where to place the workload is still being made – especially compared to the organization applied to previous on-premises distributions.

As the cloud reaches its maturity, so too are enterprise cloud strategies. Traditional cloud tactics were focused on moving auxiliary applications to the cloud, leaving key business-applications like SAP, SQL Server, and Oracle untouched. At least, until now.

Shifting away from traditional on-premises IT environments, many – if not most – of today’s enterprises are moving towards a cloud-first computing environment.

Most public cloud initiatives started outside the IT department, with business unit heads or Development Operations purchasing cloud services on their own. Calibration of workloads, which workload to put in which cloud, is still driven by last minute decisioning rather than planning. This has led to cloud sprawl, leaving security and visibility gaps as well as creating isolated data islands. Providing continuous policy compliance assurance, including security postures of a company, will become challenging and will drive the requirement for an automated tool.

Data sovereignty requirements are now becoming a topic to discuss at the board level. These diverse, country specific, requirements will lead to data ponds in various geographies. Multi-national organizations will need to rethink their data management policies, both for the data at rest and also while on the move. In 2019, we may see an end to the large data lakes and a move towards large data ponds being interlinked in order to provide access to data for centralized processing.

To identify these and other challenges, in 2018 The Fabric constituted a Though Leadership Council comprising of senior managers from across industries. We asked them for their predictions for 2019 and beyond. Here is what some of them had to say:

“Imagine that you wake up in the morning and you smell fresh coffee automatically being brewed for you! Or you are coming home at night and your apartment is heated to the right temperature for you.

These are the possibilities that you can expect with the advent of IoT in the near future on the consumer side. In business the possibilities are limitless – factory schedules being optimized by the just in time arrival of components, shipments being re-routed based on customer demand and on and on.  Of course all the data and apps are kept in the cloud or on the edge based on the needs of the situation.” MR Rangaswami, Managing Director, Sand Hill Group

“2019 the beginning of the end for centralized Clouds. Data persists, physically, at its source and the reality of IoT is that immediate accessibility to that data is vital.  Compute and storage begin to find rapid adoption at the Edge in 2019.  This will be complimented with improved real time messaging and faster decision making at the edge through microservices.” Tom Fisher, CTO, MapR

“See very little disruption to our business from IOT.  Our product is not tangible and if we were to probe a human and get telemetry from a human, it would require much changes in culture and many other factors like medical community, lawyers, regulators, etc. We have tested but it still a long way away.  No interest in IOT.

Cloud will have minimal distortion to our business, but this is a large enabler for our technology teams.  It is a delivery channel and we leverage public cloud. This is a 6 year old story and we are well positioned. Our innovation focus areas are immersive experiences, digital medicine, and blockchain.” Karl Gouverneur, VP Head of Digital Innovation & CTO, Northwestern Mutual

“One of the major technology disruptors that I see on the near-term horizon is 5G.  5G will enable all the great IoT use-cases through our communities that we have been talking about for the last 4-years – i.e. smart cities, optimized transportation, safety improvements, general quality of life improvements, etc. However, I also think that 5G will provide solution for the last mile problem that we have been trying to solve with wires and cables for the last 100-years.  5G will be a major disruptor to the traditional telecommunications world.

On the societal front, privacy will be one of the major topics of 2019.  We as a tech community will invest heavily into differential privacy and other techniques in order to keep private information closer to the individual.  In addition, I believe that societies view on privacy is changing.  It is not so cut and dry anymore.  In the past, we viewed our SSN and credit card numbers as private.  Those things are no longer private, and we should have never required our end-users to try and keep them private.  People are recognizing this and are starting to question what I really hold or value as private information.  This is a societal change that technology will have to keep pace with and dynamically adapt with.” Gary Gauba, Founder & Managing Director, The CXO Fund

Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi shared a technology vision for 2035, on how power of technology will transform the future.

The future looks promising yet there are many short-term challenges. Potential damage to brand reputation and customer goodwill, security breaches and failure to meet various compliance requirements will be the areas that will keep the CISO awake at night.