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Multi-clouds on the horizon in 2021

By Tony Velcich, Feb 04, 2021

2020 was one of the most surprising and challenging years in generations. With the pandemic, protests and social upheaval that it brought on, our models for working and technology have shifted fundamentally. The year rewrote the map entirely from where we thought we were heading in 2019.

Interestingly, 2020 wasn’t a collection of anomalies but rather the acceleration of forces already in motion. We hit fast-forward on the adoption and advancement of cloud technologies, and the impact of this will continue into 2021 and beyond. AWS is subtly warming up to multi-cloud and there will be more competition among cloud service providers (CSPs) for apps rather than storage. Alongside the evolution of cloud services and solutions, attitudes are also changing on how and where people will work and live, and the cloud will play a big part in this new work landscape. Here are our 2021 predictions:

AWS will warm up to multi-cloud but it won’t go all in.

Enterprises increasingly want to move data to an alternative cloud to benefit from a particular service or tool but maintain data in their existing cloud. AWS will tone down its previous hardline anti-multi-cloud stance but we won’t see a huge change. AWS recognizes that customers who have selected a CSP will also select a second and third to adopt a best-of-breed approach. In fact, it has already started to happen. At AWS Re:Invent in December, CEO Andy Jassy introduced ECS Anywhere and EKS Anywhere, two new versions of AWS's managed containers and managed Kubernetes services. These are designed for customer data centers that can work on any infrastructure, meaning that the two services can be used to manage applications running on Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. So while there wasn’t an overt promotion for AWS users to use multi-clouds, the move marks a shift in direction which will continue in 2021.

Cloud storage will become commoditized, and competition for apps will increase.

Cloud vendors will be less concerned about where data resides, and have more financial stakes in what’s being done with it. As the cloud becomes more about apps and less about storage, there will be a commoditization of storage, and more competition on applications and services.  With enterprises migrating data from on-prem to the cloud, they are looking to move the data directly into apps, such as Snowflake and Databricks, to perform analytics faster rather than into storage first.

Where people live increasingly won’t restrict their work opportunities.

In 2020, companies were forced to shift their policies and become open-minded about the concept of remote work, and 2021 will usher in a leveling of the playing field. With the exception of very specific job functions, the shift to geographically-agnostic work with a massive shift in commute culture will become permanent post-pandemic with real estate closely following. The underlying shift in cloud infrastructure is already well underway to meet this new reality.

2020 proved that life is unpredictable. As we emerge from the pandemic in 2021, we will start to see some norms return but we’ll also see greater usage of multi-clouds, powerful cloud-based apps, and increasingly fewer work restrictions based on geography. And hopefully, for all of our sake, business (and life) will become more certain than what we saw last year.


Tony Velcich, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at WANdisco

Tony is an accomplished product management and marketing leader with over 25 years of experience in the software industry. Tony is currently responsible for product marketing at WANdisco, helping to drive go-to-market strategy, content and activities. Tony has a strong background in data management having worked at leading database companies including Oracle, Informix and TimesTen where he led strategy for areas such as big data analytics for the telecommunications industry, sales force automation, as well as sales and customer experience analytics.

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