The cloud computing industry is growing rapidly, with new services and products introduced regularly. In monitoring the industry’s progress, it’s important to follow headlines about the most significant developments and successes in the field. From security threats to major cloud adoptions, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest cloud news from 2018:
The year saw many mergers and acquisitions.
As cloud services have continued to evolve, some of the biggest cloud providers have undertaken major mergers and acquisitions to bolster their own offerings. 2018 saw many high-profile stories, including the merger between Cloudera and Hortonworks worth an impressive $5.2 billion. Other major deals include IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat and Broadcom’s $18.9 billion acquisition of CA Technologies.
Industry-driven cloud solutions provider Infor made several of its own acquisitions in 2018. To improve its products for several food and beverage industry microverticals, the company acquired Vivonet, Inc., which is best known for its cloud solutions for the hospitality sector. With Vivonet’s solutions for point-of-sale, inventory, and other key functions, Infor has been able to broaden its own hospitality industry offerings.
Other major Infor acquisitions include Alfa-Beta Solutions, which is focused on the mid-market and large enterprise segments of the food and beverage industry; and GitLinks, an open-source risk management platform. These, along with the many other acquisitions that took place in 2018, have allowed cloud industry providers to meet ever-evolving customer needs.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has begun to take center stage.
2017 saw the introduction of AI into the cloud computing industry, but this technology became an even more integral facet of cloud services in 2018. Throughout the year, cloud providers of all kinds shifted their focus toward AI, which has the potential to revolutionize business analytics, customer service, and marketing.
Some of the biggest players in the cloud industry deployed AI solutions in 2018. Aside from AWS, which deployed machine learning services, Infor debuted its Infor Coleman Digital Assistant during its annual Inforum event. In collaboration with Infor CloudSuite, this assistant boosts “human work potential” by automating basic tasks and providing intelligent insights to support smarter decision-making. Coleman also boasts a conversational user interface that relies on natural language processing to serve as a true digital assistant.
Meltdown and Spectre threatened cloud providers.
2018 started off with one of the biggest security threats that the cloud computing industry (and the tech industry in general) has ever faced. In January, researchers identified a pair of security vulnerabilities that affect nearly every single computer chip built in the last 20 years. Known as Spectre and Meltdown, these two flaws stem from engineering decisions intended to make chips run faster. They could be exploited by hackers to gain access to protected information.
Thankfully, the research on Spectre and Meltdown did not find any instances of hackers taking advantage of these design flaws—yet. Still, many cloud providers were quick to deploy security patches and, concurrently, reassure their users that they had compensated for the vulnerabilities.
The World Cup relied on the cloud for success.
The cloud has proved effective time and time again at helping organizations accommodate quick spikes in demand and deliver better customer service. It is no wonder that, in 2018, the World Cup looked to the cloud to meet its computing needs.
For example, one of the event’s ticket sales platforms, Entradas, determined that migrating from its on-premises setup to a cloud environment would give it the best opportunity to meet skyrocketing ticketing demand leading up to the World Cup. Leveraging cloud machines allowed the company to keep up with the rapid pace of online ticket sales—without problems like the site crashing as a result of thousands of people attempting to buy tickets at once. As a result, Entradas was able to handle more than 500 ticket sales every minute during times of peak demand.
Demand also played a key role in the decision of many news outlets to adopt cloud services during the World Cup. Telemundo collaborated with YouTube to broadcast real-time video content to its viewers, while the BBC similarly worked with Amazon Web Services to provide video streaming to online viewers.
The cloud market rose to new heights.
In early 2019, Synergy Research Group shared its report on the state of the cloud computing market in the previous year. The group found that revenue across seven cloud market segments had risen 32 percent from 2017 to reach more than $250 billion in 2018. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) experienced the most significant growth, followed closely by hybrid management services. All seven cloud segments highlighted in the report experienced growth of at least 20 percent.
Cloud adoption is surging in Europe.
The cloud industry is also growing in Europe, according to 2018 data from Eurostat. The Scandinavian nations of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are the top cloud adopters in the European Union (EU), with more than half their enterprises relying on the cloud. Between 2014 and 2018, however, the United Kingdom saw one of the biggest increases in cloud adoption—a jump of more than 17 percent over those four years. According to Eurostat, a need for innovation is prompting the EU’s enterprises to increasingly pursue cloud adoption.