January 4, 2024
January 9, 2024
As we approach the year 2024, the adoption of autonomous cloud management is gaining momentum. Major enterprises are already reaping the benefits of this transformative technology, and Gartner has now named two related categories (autonomous workload optimization and AI-augmented software engineering) following their prediction that "by 2026, organizations performing real-time cost or performance optimization of cloud-based workloads will rise from less than 20% in 2022 to 50%”. The question now is, what lies ahead? We have put together a set of predictions for 2024, outlining our thoughts on the how, where, and why of autonomous cloud management adoption.
Similar to the stages of cloud migration, a well-defined journey to autonomous cloud management will emerge. Over the course of the year, common adoption patterns will be identified, allowing organizations to follow a proven path towards autonomy. This will vary in duration, with shorter journeys for those born in the cloud and longer journeys for those with legacy infrastructure stacks. Below is an example of one rollout from 2023 (watch the full video for more here).
As autonomous cloud management moves into the mainstream it will come to be seen as a become an AI copilot or autopilot, supporting operations teams. The concept of a copilot, where humans can engage with AI-based systems, is gaining traction across the IT industry. This collaborative approach will enhance efficiency and productivity in managing cloud resources. As trust grows, teams will also delegate to AI in autopilot mode, taking advantage of AI’s speed and 24/7 operating model.
Cloud insights, which were previously paid for, will become freely available. Cloud users will no longer have to invest in tools just to understand their spending details. The direction of the shift is already evident, with AWS's announcement of their cloud cost management tools at AWS re:Invent. The trend towards democratizing cloud insights will continue, with the value shifting from data and insights to systems that can take action directly to capture savings and other optimizations.
As autonomous usage expands into more complex technology areas like Kubernetes, integration with existing technology stacks will become crucial. The ability to seamlessly integrate autonomous management with Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines and other services will be a key focus. New configuration settings to accommodate autonomous systems will emerge across mainstream technologies including Kubernetes and Serverless. This integration will enable organizations to leverage the full potential of autonomous cloud management.
Autonomous management will extend beyond compute resources. The AI/ML algorithms and approaches that underpin autonomous cloud management are proving to be applicable to other areas, such as storage and data management. Oracle's introduction of autonomous database management was a prescient move several years ago. We can expect further expansion of autonomous management capabilities across various domains.
AI/ML workloads are gaining significant traction, and autonomous cloud management will adapt to support these specialized workloads, especially as organizations face cost pressure from AI. S&P found that more than half of AI decision-makers in top companies are facing cost barriers to deploying the latest AI tools. The expansion will involve modified versions of autonomous concepts to cater to AI/ML requirements. It will also necessitate support for various hardware types, including GPUs, TPUs and DPUs. Additionally, there will be a shift from real-time workloads to handling schedule-driven batch workloads.
With economic growth likely muted in the first half of 2024 (the Conference Board projects US real GDP growth at 2.4% in 2023, and just 0.9% in 2024), cost management is likely to be top of mind for executive teams and the engineering leaders managing cloud costs. Our surveys in 2023 found this to be the #1 need across organizations, and we expect this year’s feedback to be similar.
After cost, safety will emerge as the next key driver for adopting autonomous systems. The industry is witnessing a growing awareness of the importance of safety in cloud management. Organizations will prioritize the implementation of autonomous solutions that not only optimize costs but also ensure the safety and reliability of their cloud infrastructure.
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important focus in the IT industry. In 2024, autonomous cloud management will align with sustainability goals. This will be reflected in the development of energy-efficient algorithms, resource optimization strategies, and eco-friendly practices. Events like FinOps X and AWS re:Invent have already highlighted the significance of sustainability in cloud management discussions.
As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, autonomous approaches will also be used in cloud security. Real-time threat detection and response mechanisms will operate autonomously, ensuring the protection of cloud resources. Cybersecurity leaders such as Palo Alto Networks already have autonomous products in market.
In conclusion, 2024 promises to be a transformative year for autonomous cloud management. With the emergence of well-defined adoption journeys, the integration of autonomous management into existing technology stacks, and the expansion of autonomous capabilities beyond compute, organizations will experience enhanced efficiency, cost optimization, and improved security. Furthermore, the focus on cost, safety, sustainability, and the democratization of cloud insights will shape the future of autonomous cloud management.