Move over Hybrid and Multicloud: Here Come Autonomous ‘Cross-Cloud’ Services


Cross-cloud services will help provide greater control, visibility, and observability by sitting on top of the growing tangle of on-premises systems, private cloud, and multiple public clouds.

Within the next ten years, autonomous services, driven by artificial intelligence, will be selecting, deploying, configuring, and securing the multitude of cloud services on which organizations are operating. Cloud, once a simple process to select and implement, will become simple to operate again.

That’s the word from David Linthicum, chief cloud strategy officer for Deloitte Consulting and author of the just-published book, An Insider’s Guide to Cloud Computing. Linthicum, who has been a leading proponent of enterprise integration and cloud computing for decades, sees cloud platforms evolving in this direction.

Cloud, once singular services secured over the wire via credit card, has become intractably woven into complex enterprise operations, and part of complex data architectures and deployments. This has created issues with visibility, security, and compliance, Linthicum observes.

See also: On-Prem + Multi-Cloud Visibility: Why is the Cloud so Cloudy?

So-called “cross-cloud” services will help provide greater control, visibility, and observability by sitting on top of the growing tangle of on-premises systems, private cloud, and multiple public clouds. “A cross-cloud architecture is a combination of software and services that will be delivered to give organizations freedom and control of private and public clouds,” Linthicum states. “We do this by designing above the physical public cloud providers, thus removing the limitations of those physical cloud deployments from the cross-cloud architecture.”

It’s only a matter of time before most enterprises move toward cross-cloud platforms to manage their cloud landscapes, Linthicum predicts. “They’ll make this move for the same reasons we began the move to the cloud: We want to make the technology stack somebody else’s problem. By moving to a cross-cloud platform, we do just that.”

Cross-cloud services will then serve as a stepping stone to the development of “supercloud” or “metacloud” architectures, he continues. The catch is, such architectures will require substantial investments — “they will take a staggering amount of provider-supplied capital, much like cloud computing providers had to invest and spend millions of dollars at the onset of cloud computing. The larger cloud computing providers will likely offer the first commercial-grade cross-cloud platforms and end up owning that market as well.”

As these supercloud architectures develop, there will be increased reliance on autonomous services, Linthicum further predicts. “We won’t deploy them to a specific platform, but to a technology
pool in general,” he says. “This pool will include public clouds, edge computing, and on-site systems. Anything you own that is connected to a network, can store data, and has a processor can be a candidate to run these ubiquitous and fully autonomous services.”

In addition, AI will be playing a key role in the performance of these services. “They will be intelligent and have awareness of every other service around them, including hosting platforms, and will bring along security, governance, operations, and other services needed to provide the best operational efficiency.”

Ultimately, when it comes to cloud services over the next several years, “everything will be self-contained and thus require very little human intervention — if any — and be intelligent, self-aware, and completely automated,” says Linthicum.


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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