It’s already that time of year again: pumpkin spice and predictions for the New Year! Forrester’s Cloud team has been busy gathering, analyzing and prioritizing our predictions for what’s ahead in enterprise cloud computing for 2018. As our 2018 cloud predictions published today, here’s a sneak peek into what we see ahead for the most transformative technology trend of the past decade.

The cloud computing juggernaut has fueled digital transformation like no other technology disruption before it. Not only have public cloud platforms completely changed how companies of all sizes consume technology; the leading global megaclouds continue to innovate at breakneck speed. New analytics and machine learning services, IoT and edge computing services, powerful container-based development platforms, new database services, advanced SaaS apps that are even easier to buy, integration and API services to link it all together…the list seems endless, and it’s getting longer.

Cloud now permeates all company sizes, industries, and geographies. And all of this innovation isn’t only happening in the big public clouds; exciting new private cloud technology stacks and fresh partnerships between infrastructure vendor stalwarts and upstart cloud-native companies bring the power and energy of elastic, on-demand cloud services to the enterprise data center as well.

In 2018, we’ll pass that magic threshold: Forrester predicts that more than 50% of global enterprises will rely on at least on public cloud platform to drive digital transformation and delight customers. As highlighted in our 2018 cloud predictions, cloud is truly business critical and is now a mainstream enterprise core technology.

Here’s our top 10 list of what to expect with cloud in 2018:

  1. Don’t expect any new global megaclouds. Cloud is consolidating, so start planning now to mitigate lock-in risk.
  2. Your favorite SaaS vendors will expand to become true platform providers and make it even easier to consume their software.
  3. Cloud platforms outside North America will become more locally focused and target specific regional or industry needs.
  4. Kubernetes has won the war for container orchestration dominance and should be at the heart of your microservices plans.
  5. Zero Trust security will become even more tightly integrated with — and integral to the success of — all leading cloud platforms.
  6. Private and hybrid cloud spending will rebound after a slowdown, driven by a raft of new on-premises cloud solutions.
  7. Private clouds will get a new life as app development and modernization platforms, moving beyond IaaS.
  8. Cloud management solutions will be sold in parts or offered for free as competition heats up for the management plane.
  9. Enterprises will shift 10% of their traffic from carrier backbones to colocation and cloud service providers.
  10. Immersive lab-based training programs will take off as the best way to drive fast, real, and lasting change in how you build software.

Take note: Cloud is no longer about cheap servers or storage — it’s now the best way to turn great ideas into amazing software, faster. In 2018, enterprise cloud computing will accelerate transformation everywhere as it becomes a must-have business technology.

To accelerate your journey to cloud in 2018, give any of us on the Cloud Computing Playbook team a call. Big thanks go out to my main collaborators on this report (be sure to read the latest cloud reports from each of them): Lauren E. Nelson, Liz Herbert, Paul Miller, Charlie Dai, Andras Cser, Andre Kindness, and John Rymer.