In the age of the cloud, the most widely employed service doesn’t always reflect where the biggest emerging opportunities are for managed service providers (MSPs). With that issue in mind, 2nd Watch, a provider of managed and professional services for applications deployed in the cloud, published a list of the fastest growing services on Amazon Web Services (AWS) that it is seeing invoked by its customers based on the amount of revenue generated.

Chris Garvey, executive vice president of product for 2nd Watch, says the list shows just how rapidly emerging technologies such as serverless computing frameworks, containers running on top of Kubernetes, and machine learning algorithms to drive artificial intelligence (AI) applications are being adopted.

“Usually there is a year-long lag before emerging technologies are adopted by enterprise IT organizations,” says Garvey.

The fastest growing AWS services by revenue for 2018 listed by 2nd Watch on a compound annual basis are:

– The Amazon Athena serverless computing framework (68 percent)
– Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (53 percent)
– Amazon MQ message broker (37 percent)
– AWS OpsWorks configuration management service (23 percent)
– Amazon EC2 Container Service (21 percent)
– Amazon SageMaker model builder for AI applications (21 percent)
– AWS Certificate Manager (20 percent)
– The AWS Glue managed service for extract, transform and load (ETL) (16 percent)
– Amazon GuardDuty threat detection (16 percent)
– Amazon Macie data classification service (15 percent)

Challenges created by waves of cloud computing

The challenge MSPs face as new platforms and services are adopted in the cloud is finding a way to remain relevant. Most MSPs that have developed cloud practices are still primarily focused on traditional virtual machines. While the bulk of applications still run on virtual machines, they represent a first wave of cloud computing that is starting to be supplanted by a second wave, that relies on containers to be the atomic unit on which applications are built. Those containers can be deployed on bare metal servers, in a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or a Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) environment, or on top of a virtual machine.

A critical element of that second wave of cloud computing are server-less computing frameworks are basically an event-driven abstraction built using containers. For the most part, they are intended to be invoked as an extension of a so-called cloud native application built using containers that is deployed on a Kubernetes cluster. AI applications, meanwhile, are making extensive use of containers primarily because it makes it simpler to add new data to an application in a modular fashion that doesn’t require the entire AI model to be updated.

The rate at which cloud computing platforms are transforming is only just beginning to accelerate. However, the rate at which this transition is occurring is the fastest of any major classes of technologies in the history of enterprise IT. Much of this transition is being driven by developers, which can make it easy for MSPs to easily miss, if they don’t engage with developers directly.

What many MSPs will initially notice is that the rate at which new monolithic applications that run on virtual machines is starting to slow, as more applications based on microservices architectures created using containers increases. Thanks to the rise of DevOps practices, many of those microservices applications are being built and deployed on public clouds, with little to no initial supervision from internal IT teams. If MSPs proactively start asking customers about containers, many of them will be surprised to discover just how many of cloud-native application development projects are already well underway. A recent report published by the 451 Group estimates that the application container market will be valued at $4.2 billion by 2022.
It’s clear a massive transition is now occurring in IT. The challenge is that it can be hard to spot because, as the author William Gibson once noted, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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