Cloud Computing Predictions for the 2020s

The 2010s have been an incredible decade for cloud computing; the term itself moved from relative obscurity to being the operating model of a good portion of the world’s internet services. Startups, and the capital surrounding them, flooded into tech hot spots as cloud computing offered new ways to develop, deploy, operate, and scale the infrastructure powering these new companies. Existing enterprises, including a majority of the Fortune 1000, rapidly adopted cloud computing, moving a collective trillions of requests per second from their own data centers and into the data centers of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

At the beginning of 2010, almost no one could have predicted that the cloud would be adopted as quickly as it had been, let alone entirely new paradigms of compute would be invented — “serverless,” containers, Kubernetes, and more.

Despite the unpredictability of this new world in which we now operate, I still find it to be a fun and interesting exercise to attempt to predict trends that will impact cloud computing in the coming years. While I believe some of these may be “safe,” in the sense that the writing is already on the wall, others are a bit more extreme. Let’s see how close we wind up getting!

Congress will pass a law that makes cloud providers responsible for large-scale data breaches.

While many security experts quickly pointed out that Amazon was not technically at fault in the incident (no more than a manufacturer of doors would be responsible for a burglary if the lock was left open), I predict that the alarming increase in these kinds of cloud breaches will force congress to act. Regardless of whether this will be due to an uninformed lawmaking body looking for a scapegoat, or a carefully planned law designed to protect users’ data, the result will likely have profound effects on how cloud providers onboard new users and allow developers to rapidly deploy new services.

B2B startups will be forced to move away from Amazon Web Services to satisfy competing enterprise customers.

Google will shutter or significantly disinvest in Google Cloud Platform.

Very few companies will succeed at a true multi-cloud deployment.

However, I predict that these companies are fighting a loosing battle. They are pushing against the forces of a competitive hiring environment where the skills of a single-cloud practitioner are difficult enough to hire for, let alone entire departments skilled in multiple clouds. They have also underestimated the cloud providers themselves who will resist these multi-cloud efforts through even more lock-in, competitive pricing, and other means.

I predict that only the largest enterprises will have the time, skill, and capital to invest in a true multi-cloud environment.

At least one cloud provider will release AI-based services trained to detect “deep fake” videos and doctored images.

I predict that the cloud providers, most likely AWS at first, will release an AI-based service that has been trained to detect deep fake videos. They will likely partner with news organizations, Facebook, Twitter, and other online platforms for the purposes of content review and training.

The cloud providers will launch “green” computing as a service.

Until then, many environmentally-conscious cloud customers will likely seek ways to offset the carbon footprint of their compute power directly via their provider. I predict that this will lead the cloud providers to either launch a separate, “green” compute service (e.g. a new compute instance class) or carbon offsets as a service.

A significant portion of America’s malls will be purchased by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook and converted into data centers.

A misplaced wildcard in an IAM policy will cause a security breach like none seen in history.

I predict that this breach will be unfathomably large. Perhaps a government contractor will loose 500+ TB of sensitive military documents leading directly to a military incident. A hospital network may loose sensitive patient records for a majority of the country’s population. Or perhaps a bank the size of JP Morgan Chase will experience a breach so large its forced to seek a 2008-sized bailout due to lost cash reserves.

AWS will launch an SDK for autonomous self-driving cars.

AWS will price this service by miles driven with a free tier of 100 miles/month.

The cloud providers will make multi-region deployments easier.

I predict that, having exhausted the “core” services (e.g. compute, database, storage) that can be built, cloud providers will begin exploring ways to make previously-difficult deployment models simpler for cloud developers. This could be in the form of one-click multi-region deployments or additional “add-on” services that serve to expand existing services into a multi-region format.

Azure will allow developers to deploy in the “Atlantic Ocean North” region.

Cloud providers will significantly expand their “no code” offerings.

A large cloud provider evokes public outrage after releasing gene-editing-as-a-service (GEaaS).

That being said, I predict that at least one cloud provider may jump the gun on this evolution and release a service that, while technically admirable, forces society to question whether we should, just because we can.

Microsoft Azure will maintain the pentagon’s JEDI cloud contract after 6 years of contested legal battles from Amazon.

A cyber attack will impact AWS and Azure simultaneously, taking down over half of the internet’s public websites.

While the cloud providers have been relatively resilient to DDoS attacks, I predict that a DDoS attack of military scale (either launched by a government or someone with a botnet the size of one) will take down a significant portion of cloud-hosted services in the coming decade. In fact, as military strikes shift from physical to cyber space, I predict this will happen more than once.

All the rest.

  • Microsoft Azure will reach 30% market share powered by B2B startups (see above) and enterprises.
  • AWS will deprecate EBS.
  • FaaS (“serverless”) will continue to rise in popularity, becoming the predominant deployment model for new applications.
  • AWS revamps their entire console to maintain a consistent UI across services.
  • AWS releases NAT JaaS (jump-box-as-a-service) allowing SSH through managed NAT Gateways.
  • More startups sue AWS over the use of their open source licenses in their products.
  • At least one cloud provider datacenter will be destroyed by a natural disaster.
  • AWS revamps their IAM service after the aforementioned security incident (see above).
  • Cloud providers launch a voice-controlled SDK for cloud development, creating a new field, “VoiceOps.”
  • Heated debates consume the Hacker News community on whether “VoiceOps” is a job title or a model of operating for IT teams.
  • AWS Re:Invent 2027 caps attendance at 89,000 attendees after the “incident” of 2026.

Do you agree with the above? What do you think will happen in the world of cloud computing in the next 10 years?

Founder of @CloudSploit , acquired by @AquaSecTeam . Former Infra / Security / Manager @Adobe , @Aviary & @Mozilla intern, @RITtigers grad, @NYC resident