Adapting to change

How is the cloud computing landscape changing? And which cloud trends will have the most impact for the Channel in 2022? Amir Hashmi, CEO of managed services provider zsah, shares his thoughts with Comms Business.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What have the key cloud computing trends of 2021 been?

Amir Hashmi (AH): The last few years have seen several IT technologies snowball – in both development and usage, thanks to how the pandemic forced businesses to adapt. 2020 [was] the year of the cloud, but 2021 has evolved into the year of the hybrid or multi-cloud setup.

Companies have found that going all public may be flexible, but very expensive and impacts data storage and GDPR regulations. Inversely, going all private can be too much maintenance; therefore, the hybrid offers the best of both worlds.

We have also seen a growth in platform-as-a-service model [PaaS]. Many have found this an elegant solution to software development and cloud data storage complexities. In a similar vein, containerisation has seen an enormous spike in interest – and is an incredibly flexible and low bandwidth, and therefore low cost, solution.

Finally, this has to be one of my favourite trends and topics: edge computing. Both I and zsah as a company have been hugely interested and optimistic about edge. Arguably, it is the key to many of tomorrow’s most revolutionary technologies, such as virtual reality.

But it isn’t just sci-fi stuff. It also will make today’s advanced tech, such as cloud computing, much more efficient and streamlined.

CBM: Which of these are we most likely to see growth in for 2022?

AH: Multi-cloud is growing as each cloud vendor scrambles to offer different PaaS services; some are doing specialties better than others. Analytics, AI, and ML, for example.
Containerisation will grow hugely due to its flexibility around multi-cloud and edge.

Some – perhaps much – power will go back to the extensive network players as they offer edge compute solutions that utilise multi-cloud. We are leading in this area.

The most obvious answer here is multi-cloud. It will be a vital infrastructure for the growing number of PaaS providers and users and integrate advanced, specialised AI or machine learning offerings. Due to how well it integrates with multi-cloud, containerisation is also set to boom.

I think these technological developments will lend a hand to the more significant plays – as they can more easily lead the research and development that is driving this new tech.

CBM: Which of these trends will have the most significant impact on channel businesses such as MSPs and resellers?

AH: As customers look to use more than one cloud platform, MSPs will need to upskill more than just AWS or Azure. Training and development will be critical to this.

CBM: Will these present any challenges for the channel?

AH: Technologies like Kubernetes and edge computing will introduce many new challenges – let alone more advanced and ‘distant’ fourth generation technologies like AI that will soon become more commonplace. A particular concern is a difficulty to upskill – as they are not just new technologies to learn, but also represent a significant cultural and infrastructural shift for staff and companies.

CB: What should channel businesses prioritise to adapt to the changes brought by new trends in cloud computing?

AH: They should prioritise presales, service delivery, and customer success – and in the short term, use experienced technology firms to help them advance their technological offerings. As we continue to feel the effects of a digital skills shortage, the demand for services of expert technical consultants will increase to improve practices.

This interview appeared in our February 2022 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.

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