‘Multicloud and the Agile Network’ Meetup Event Recap: Tech predictions 2020

11 December 2019

For our final Multicloud and the Agile Network Meetup event of 2019, we reflected on the last 12 months in tech, and took a peek into what 2020 may have in store for us. Read on for a recap of the evening. We hope to see you at the next one in the New Year!

Cloud Gateway CTO and co-founder Neil Briscoe was our evening’s compere. Neil kicked off by thanking such a large group of people for joining us. Considering it is the height of Christmas party season, the turnout was excellent. For the first time, we were joined by Jenny Leonard, an artist who live-sketched the entire event, immortalising on canvas the key themes, predictions and discussion points from the night.

Justin Day, CEO, Cloud Gateway
“2020: The year of multicloud”

Justin opened proceedings with a review of some of the things he said would happen in 2019:

  • ‘Organisations will see that cloud is not a cost saving mechanism’

This prediction rang true. Coming into 2019 there was a common assumption that migrating to cloud results in a cost saving by default. Over the past few months, organisations have gained more clarity on this view, with organisations realising a considered approach is needed.

  • ‘AWS is going to dominate market share’

This prediction was something of a gimmie, with AWS still representing the largest slice of the public cloud market. However, it is interesting to note that their share hasn’t grown at a rate previously seen.

  • ‘Another public cloud service provider will take a sizeable market share’

In a similar vein to his previous 2019 prediction, Justin had expected other service providers to start catching AWS up. This has also been the case, with the likes of Microsoft launching huge partnerships with companies like Oracle and Nintendo.

  • ‘The PSN is going nowhere fast’

Once again, this prediction was somewhat… predictable. The Public Services Network is the Government’s private network, intended to be decommissioned in favour of cloud solutions. Justin has had conversations that indicated the PSN will stick around until 2025, with some sources saying a 2030 closure would be considered ‘an achievement’.

  • ‘2019 will be the year of multicloud’

This prediction did not come to fruition. Part of the reason is our unclear definition of multicloud. Justin’s prediction was based on multicloud meaning a large presence in (for example) AWS, but with workloads spread to the likes of Azure or Google. In reality, organisations still find themselves stuck with a single provider.

Justin went on to throw out some predictions for 2020:

  • ‘A FTSE 100 or Fortune500 company drops off the face of the planet’

Either through significant data breach, security event, or some other reason, a large corporation will cease to exist. Exactly who, Justin didn’t want to guess, but when you think of the technological disruption in industries like banking and retail, there is a strong possibility that somebody won’t keep up with the pace of change.

  • ‘Huge corporate enterprises show love for multiple cloud providers’

Having got it wrong last year, Justin could only assume it’s a year behind schedule. He foresees an uptick in multicloud adoption, helped in part by more sophisticated management tools. 

  • ‘Microsoft will overtake AWS market share’

A $10bn contract from the US Government is a good start, and 12 months may not be quite enough time, but Justin thinks Microsoft are approaching the market space better than Amazon right now, and could overtake them. Despite the continued love for AWS (their tools are indeed excellent), their approach is archaic at times, and ultimately locks people into a monolith. Organisations don’t want this.

  • ‘The lunatics will lose control of asylum’

By this, Justin means that developers and fan-boys who claim to know everything about cloud infrastructure, IaaS, SaaS, will lose their grip on the decision making process. As understanding and education about cloud grows, organisations will start to realise that those individuals may have been a little too bold in their claims.

  • ‘There will be Digital Armageddon’

A somewhat sobering prediction to finish, Justin believes that some kind of event will happen that makes individuals and companies question use of IT and the Internet. This could be on a moral, ethical, or security level. But, it’ll prompt us to slam the brakes and take stock.

Andrew McCreath, Senior Principal, Equinix

“An insider’s view on what it takes to be digital-ready”

As a Senior Principal at Equinix, Andrew’s role is to listen to large organisations and bodies such as Gartner, and apply those trends to the cloud and networking world. Andrew shared with us some interesting findings from the industry, as well as an update on the third volume of Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index.

Andrew agreed with Justin that big brands are already starting to disappear, and for many it is critical to transform in response to changing markets. Examples include Philips, originally a lightbulb manufacturer but moving into health technology – and Uber, adding food delivery to their existing rideshare offering. Businesses who do not transform in response to digital change, will struggle to survive.

Equinix initiated a programme 5 years ago to study business digital transformation. They collected over 15bn data records, and combined them with their own machine learning applications to analyse the results. One such result is the third volume of the Global Interconnection Index.

One of many key findings from this report is how much interconnectivity bandwidth (i.e. direct private traffic exchange) is expected to grow by 2022. Compared to the internet, which is predicted to grow by around 4%, interconnection bandwidth is expected to grow by 51% by 2022, the equivalent of 53ZB of data exchanged annually.

When looking at industries who will start to leverage interconnection in earnest over the next two years, telecommunications is, unsurprisingly top of the chart. This is followed by cloud and IT services, then finance.

For born-in-the-cloud businesses, it is easier to only use the internet as a connectivity backbone, but for most organisations this simply isn’t possible. For a start, the Internet has no Service Level Agreement (SLA) or Quality of Service. This is why Equinix provides the solutions it does, to make interconnection simple and reliable. Over 97% of all IaaS compute capacity is available for direct, private connectivity through Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric.

Neil Briscoe, CTO, Cloud Gateway

“My 2020 Predictions, and Open Forum Discussion”

Neil closed the talks by sharing a couple of his own predictions for 2020, followed by an open floor discussion.


The group discussed Neil’s opinion that SD-WAN is not necessarily the right solution in most business cases, particularly in the UK with our small geographical footprint. It is, in Neil’s view, a very well marketed wrap of 5 or 6 technologies we have already been using for a number of years. 

Whilst in the US it has more value as a solution (to traverse large distances), the use cases here in the UK are limited. Neil predicted that adoption of SD-WAN will slow down next year, as the hype settles, and organisations become better educated as to what the options are to solve their business requirements.

Cloud Networking

Compared to the traditional networking world Neil comes from, successfully adding cloud to the mix is something of a dark art. For Neil, he has had to relearn disciplines, and foresees many of his peers in IT having to do the same. For 2020, Neil predicts that instead of an IT network being the de facto foundation, a cloud network will replace it.

We are starting to see network constructs built-into cloud services now. There will be a huge shift to extend networking to include cloud network requirements. It’s not a sexy part of tech, but it’s necessary.

Open Forum

We ended on an open forum where the audience could add their opinions to the mix. We heard some responses to Neil’s SD-WAN statements, pointing out that, as a part of a wider software-defined network mechanism, it does have a place, and shouldn’t be discarded out of hand.

We also discussed the impact of clever marketing, buzzwords and industry hype. In many cases, including with SD-WAN, the solution is defining the business requirement. Some customers approach their supplier specifically asking for SD-WAN. ‘Agile’ delivery methods too, received criticism.

A particularly compelling subject was the question of whether Alibaba Cloud would gain any traction in the UK cloud market. The general consensus was yes, particularly for businesses with existing presence in Asia or Africa, who may be spreading operations to the UK. Some members of the group suggested that solely UK companies would probably not use Alibaba, but global businesses certainly would.

Details of our first 2020 Meetup will be posted on the platform very soon. Stay tuned for updates!


Emerging technology
The Agile Network
Francis Bell