If 2020 taught the world anything, it’s that we can’t know what’s coming next. Yet we can learn from what has come before and take an inventory of current resources to anticipate how they may influence the future. Otherwise, commerce screeches to a crushing halt. In light of the events that have affected businesses across the globe this year, we’ve seen a significant uptick in cloud adoption and in particular, desktop as a service. And we expect to see these trends continue into 2021, which will also bring some shifts. What does the future of cloud desktops and IT look like? Here are a few predictions to consider.

The data centre is no longer the hub

The on-premises data centre is quickly becoming a relic. That’s a trend that has already begun and will continue through 2021. With fewer people in the office, the value of centralised data centres goes down. Organisations will say goodbye to their own data centres and embrace those in the cloud.

It’s also important to note that the farther away employees are from the data centre, the poorer their user experience will be because latency will increase. Organisations don’t want the PC to be the endpoint anymore, and it doesn’t make sense to have all traffic route back through the on-prem data centre. As complex data centre infrastructure approaches renewal or hardware refresh, IT leaders will consider the value of moving applications and data to the cloud to eliminate or diminish latency. Other advantages include pricing, easy scalability, better security and more.

The rise of multi-cloud

Multi-cloud has been another huge story to come out of 2020 and one we expect to see grow. It used to be that many customers were locked into whatever cloud the SaaS solution they selected was using. But now, the customer picks their universe (i.e., Google, Microsoft, Amazon) first and then picks their solutions based on the universe. And that makes it ever more important for vendors to support more than one cloud. In fact, a recent Gartner survey found that 81% of respondents are working with two or more cloud providers. Organisations want choice and freedom to pick the cloud that works best for them – which means SaaS vendors need to be flexible and offer support for multi-cloud.

Endpoint strategy

Organisations don’t want to be relegated to Windows-only endpoints or other such restrictions. They want the flexibility to be able to choose the best endpoint for the job, and we’re seeing that more of them want to be able to use Chromebooks for this. There’s no-one-size fits all configuration, and companies want more flexibility in their choices.

5G will change the game

As enterprise 5G rolls out, it will change the definition of high performance. Compared to current 4G technology, 5G has faster speeds, higher bandwidth and lower latency. These are all significant improvements for organisations that are dealing with data-heavy and graphics-intensive workloads. 4G is sufficient for things like printing wirelessly, but it’s not sufficient for heavy cloud computing. Essentially, the limitations of 4G didn’t provide enough bandwidth or low-enough latency to push these workloads into the cloud. 5G makes this possible. And 5G will continue to grow, Gartner said earlier this year. The analyst firm predicted that 5G network infrastructure spending would double this year as communications service providers (CSPs) make critical investments. As rising competition among CSPs quickens the pace of 5G adoption, organisations and their users will benefit from faster and better performance.

Cloud computing’s bright future

Each of these trends in themselves create improvements for cloud desktops; taken together, they will create a transformational experience. 5G enables improved cloud computing via faster downloads and the capacity to collaborate on data-intensive projects with no lag time. Cloud desktops enable new endpoint strategies and don’t require users to be stuck using an endpoint they don’t want. And multi-cloud offers the flexibility organisations need to address their unique sets of resources and challenges. All of these trends will not only improve how we work but continue to drive the need for and value of desktop as a service, ultimately improving IT. Though nothing is certain, all the elements for a rosy future are lining up for cloud desktops and DaaS in 2021.

Read more from Amitabh: The scalability of cloud-based remote working: VPNs, VDI and desktop as a service

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

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