Over the past few years, cloud native technologies and concepts have received wide acceptance. In this rapidly developing field, predicting the future is particularly difficult. However, we firmly believe that the cloud native field, supported by open innovation, will continue to reshape the software lifecycle and provide ever-increasing value.
In 2019, among many popular technology trends, cloud native attracted a high degree of attention. Many developers are highly interested in this serious of emerging technologies, and many enterprises have begun to explore cloud native architectural transformations. In China, developers have transitioned from a focus on the concept of cloud native to a focus on cloud native implementation practices.
While preparing for Alibaba Cloud’s first cloud native practice summit (page in Chinese), we explored the applications of and research into cloud native technology. As part of it, we invited 17 cloud native technical experts to review the developments in the cloud native field in 2019 and to describe the state of cloud native technology as we enter the new decade.
Key Events in Cloud Native to Look for in 2020
Looking ahead to 2020, we expect these landmark events to take place in the application and research of cloud native technologies.
Shift of Focus to Serverless and Application Management
First, the focus of cloud native technology will move up to serverless and application management.
Over the past few years, we have seen that the focus of cloud native technology has been on containers and container orchestration. The success of Docker and Kubernetes is almost synonymous with cloud native. Many people even say that Kubernetes is becoming boring. In this context, we can see that the focus of cloud native technology is about to move up:
- Application definition, configuration, release, and automated online O&M become the core focuses of developers and O&M personnel. The Open Application Model (OAM) jointly launched by Alibaba and Microsoft is an important project in this effort.
- As an extension of cloud native technology, serverless will further unleash the capabilities of cloud computing by meeting security, reliability, and scalability requirements through infrastructure. Therefore, users only need to focus on business logic, rather than the specific deployment and operation details, greatly improving the efficiency of application development. This approach also facilitates the division of labor and collaboration between different groups. In this way, cloud service providers will be able to further optimize computing costs in large-scale and intensive applications. We believe that more innovations and new practices will emerge in this field, in 2020.
The Pursuit of Innovation and Competitiveness through Cloud-Native Technology
Second, cloud-native technology will become the base from which cloud service providers will pursue innovation and competitiveness.
As container-based cloud native technology becomes widely accepted by users, containers will soon be the basic interface between clouds and users. Therefore, for cloud service providers, containers, microservices, serverless, service mesh, and other new cloud native technology fields will definitely serve as the bases from which cloud providers will innovate and compete in the future.
Virtualization will be the source of incremental cloud resource growth in the next three years. However, the combination of bare metal and security sandbox containers accelerated by hardware virtualization is accelerating enterprise cloud migration and containerization. The key to the future technological competitiveness of cloud providers is that, as the traditional advantages of cloud, including the scale, stability, and costs, reach their maximum extent, cloud service providers must serve their customers through continuous innovation in cloud native technologies and products to achieve a high customer stickiness. The field of cloud native products will become a battleground of fierce competition among cloud providers.
Cloud Native Will Be Ubiquitous
Third, cloud native will become ubiquitous, moving from data centers to cloud-edge-terminal integration.
Cloud native technology originated from applications and services in data centers. Over the past few years, it has gradually expanded to edge computing and even terminal computing. We believe that, with the rapid development of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-edge-terminal integrated cloud native technology will be adopted by more enterprises and in more scenarios, becoming ubiquitous in the end.
Cloud Native Migration to the Cloud Will Become a Trend
Fourth, cloud native will prove difficult to implement in enterprises, so cloud native migration to the cloud will become the trend.
Cloud technology will develop faster than enterprises’ ability to implement it. Although cloud native technologies have been widely accepted, enterprises must spend a great deal of time overcoming difficulties to implement cloud native in their technology stacks. For example, the O&M habits for traditional virtual machines (VMs) must be changed during containerization and the conversion of traditional applications to distributed microservices involves re-architecting and other factors.
After cloud native is accepted by enterprises, these challenges need to be solved during implementation. The cloud native infrastructure, which contains many components and evolves quickly, also poses higher requirements on the technical skills of enterprise IT personnel. However, we believe that cloud native technology will be significantly valuable in reducing resource costs and improving R&D and O&M efficiency, which will spur enterprises on to conquer these challenges.
In this process, the use of cloud native cloud migration, standard interfaces, and hybrid cloud solutions such as containers and service mesh, will greatly reduce the complexity of cloud migration. This allows enterprises to quickly migrate to standard cloud services. We also believe that most enterprises will choose to migrate cloud native to the cloud to maximize cloud capabilities and achieve an efficient division of labor, allowing them to focus on their own business development.
7 Major Cloud Native Trends to Watch Out for In 2020
With these factors in mind, let us now analyze the developments of the cloud native field in the past year, and analyze its trends for the coming decade through these seven directions:
- Service Mesh
- Edge Computing
- Container Instances and Container Engines
- Cloud Native Infrastructure
- Cloud Native Applications
List of authors (in no particular order): Ding Yu (Shutong), Zhang Liping (Gupu), Yang Haoran (Buchen), Yin Boxue (Yurui), Xu Xiaobin, Li Yun (Zhijian), Ceng Bin (Dianwei), Huang Ting (Luzhi), Yi Hongwei (Gaizhi), Xiaojian, Tang Zhimin, Hu Weiqi (Baimu), Wang Xu (Xunhuan), Liu Zheng (Wenqing), Yao Jie (Louge), Chen Tianzhou (Shuiniao), and Chen Xin (Shenxiu)