Cloud wars set to heat up in 2019

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Investing in cloud early has certainly paid off for Amazon, Microsoft and Google. According to Right Scale’s 2018 State of the Cloud report, Amazon’s AWS controlled 65 per cent of the public cloud market with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform gaining ground steadily. However, what about the niche players in the cloud market such as IBM, Alibaba and Oracle?

TechRadar Pro spoke with Unitas Global’s Chief Strategy Officer Francesco Paola to learn how he thinks the war for control of the cloud will shape up in 2019.

How has the public cloud market grown this year?

Gartner projected that the public cloud market would grow to over $186 billion in 2018, across infrastructure, applications, business process platforms, and management.

From the Unitas perspective, we have seen an increased demand for public cloud services from our current customer base, as well as new prospects. The agility, cost savings and scale that the public cloud provides is outweighing the security and compliance concerns of years past.

Unitas expects the demand for public cloud services to continue to accelerate in 2019, based on what we see in the market and what the analysts are predicting.

How much do you think smaller public cloud companies can disrupt the market’s big players in the future?

It will be extremely challenging for smaller public cloud companies to disrupt the top three - AWS, Azure and Google -  or the top five, if you include Oracle and Alibaba.

The only way that smaller public cloud providers can compete against the larger players is if they have a very focused niche offering in a specific market segment, such as the financial services or healthcare sectors.

However, the sheer scale and rate of investment by the larger players will eventually overtake these smaller players. In our view, smaller players don’t stand a chance.

What achievements are you most proud of in 2018?

Unitas acquired Solinea, a hybrid cloud adoption consultancy, in early 2018 to expand its capabilities in the cloud advisory and public cloud ecosystems. We successfully integrated the Solinea team, validated the strategy with significant customer wins, and are now investing to grow these services.

Furthermore, Unitas launched an organic connectivity business that allows our customers to address the “first mile” challenge of connecting efficiently to public cloud and global data center locations.

Now Unitas has the capabilities to deliver end-to-end connected hybrid cloud managed services, and we are looking forward to growing our end-to-end portfolio of services that customers can now access under one roof.

What do you think the future of the public cloud market holds in 2019?

Public cloud adoption will continue to accelerate in 2019. Gartner predicts that this market will grow to over $221 billion, reaching the $300 billion mark by 2021.

Unitas foresees continued adoption of public cloud by the enterprise. In most cases, this adoption will take the form of hybrid deployments. We anticipate steady market growth as enterprises strive to digitally transform their businesses to enhance competitiveness, enable agility and manage costs through more efficient consumption of IT resources. Worries about security, compliance, and control in the public cloud have receded as organizations realize that the public cloud can provide security and compliance resources equal or superior to traditional IT practices on premises, when properly adopted.

Hybrid, multi-public cloud solutions will hit an all-time high, which will drive cloud agnostic containerization orchestration systems like Kubernetes.

How does your company plan to expand its reach and offerings in 2019 to deal with this?

As mentioned earlier, Unitas Global is investing in expanding its public cloud service offerings, starting with the growth of its public cloud managed services capabilities and its cloud advisory services. These investments will enable Unitas to become the trusted advisor for enterprises that are looking to make the transition to a hybrid cloud model.

We will continue to invest in the connectivity practice, as this area is often neglected and is an afterthought until it’s too late to rectify.

One of our goals is to become the partner of choice for enterprises that are looking to adopt public (hybrid) cloud capabilities -- from enabling the development of the cloud adoption roadmap to managing their end-to-end platforms through a single pane of glass.

Francesco Paola, Chief Strategy Officer at Unitas Global

Francesco Paola
With 25 years of global leadership experience in enabling the enterprise to adopt transformational technologies, Francesco focuses on building great teams and developing innovative and strategic solutions for clients. He has successfully managed and delivered enterprise technology implementation services, architected cloud computing solutions and built business process outsourcing programs. Francesco has worked in Asia, Europe and the United States and founded several businesses, most recently Solinea, a professional services partner that accelerates enterprise cloud adoption.