The beginning of the year is a time of intensified summary of the past months, as well as preparation of plans for the upcoming ones. During this period, there are many more or less accurate predictions about what we can expect shortly in the multiple cloud providers offer.
In the case of cloud computing trends, we can anticipate with high probability what such predictions will include. I am referring, of course, not to popular cloud migration and edge computing or quantum computing terms, but to ubiquitous AI. Artificial Intelligence has become a part of our daily life, and in 2023, it was probably the most popular term. Undoubtedly, in 2024, the development of AI will be worth watching, especially the use of cloud computing in its evolution.
I would not like this article to be just one of many talking only about the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in 2024, in isolation from the upcoming changes in the whole cloud computing service environment. Such texts will likely arise, and I have decided to approach the issue of cloud computing evolution a bit differently.
Over the last months of 2023, conferences were held by two of the largest cloud computing players in the market. First, it was Microsoft Ignite, and then AWS Re:Invent. Invariably, for a dozen years or so, these recurring events have been an opportunity to showcase new developments and define the direction of cloud technology.
Are you curious about where it will take us? Let’s check out what the cloud computing trends may mean in terms of cloud services.
Top cloud computing future trends in 2024 by the largest cloud providers
At the aforementioned conferences, two of the world’s largest cloud service providers – Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) – presented innovations and plans for the future. For those of you who haven’t heard of them yet, both are huge annual events bringing together cloud technology enthusiasts from around the world to discuss cloud computing trends.
The first is held in Seattle; the second invariably invites all cloud fans and experts to Las Vegas for many years. Anticipating the question from some of you, Google, of course, also has its conference. I focused on the two largest cloud providers to keep the article from growing to the size of an engineering dissertation.
Each event is an opportunity to announce news in cloud computing services or tools during hundreds of lectures focused on different subject areas. What is presented there often sets the course for thousands of companies worldwide.
Below, you will find a compilation of the key directions for cloud computing according to Microsoft and AWS in 2024.
A leap into the future of work infrastructure, or what new in cloud computing technology does Microsoft foresee?
Let’s start with the Microsoft Ignite event, held first, between November 15 and 16, 2023, in Seattle. Of course, many issues were addressed there, but nearly 50% of the almost 600 sessions were somehow related to AI. No surprise there. Microsoft owns 49% of OpenAI, whose ChatGPT has been on everyone’s lips for quite some time.
What, then, was announced there? Below, in my opinion, is the most interesting news from the world of Microsoft Cloud.
New cloud services. Usable Microsoft Copilot Extensions
Microsoft Copilot, an AI-powered tool, generates answers by considering context, web sources, working data, and the task at hand. As an extension of this offering, special add-ons have been prepared, such as:
- Copilot for Azure: a new service available within the Azure cloud computing environment to help troubleshoot problems, identify defects, suggest configurations, and more.
- Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides: aimed at front-line support staff, among others, enables real-time access to information through cloud computing and supports remote working. It connects to Mixed Reality (Augmented Reality)* for remote troubleshooting, training, documentation, and more.
*TT PSC has a similar solution using Azure cognitive services (SkillWorx).
- Copilot Studio: a tool to create custom AI assistants for those with low-code skills,
- Copilot for Service: a cloud-based service to support the productivity of customer service and salespeople, customer behavior analysis, and integration with customer relationship management applications (e.g., Salesforce).
Windows AI Studio, or simplifying SLM in applications in the near future?
It is a tool for developers who want to create applications based on Artificial Intelligence but don’t necessarily know how, want, or like to use cloud computing resources. It allows you to run solutions locally; however, you need to keep in mind that certain limitations due to the lack of cloud computing, or more precisely, its computing power, will only allow you to implement small language models (SLM).
The Service will be available as an extension of Visual Studio Code.
What’s Next? AI-dedicated processors
Microsoft has created new dedicated chips called Azure Maia 100 AI Accelerator and Azure Cobalt 100 CPU to support cloud infrastructure for Artificial Intelligence efficiently.
- Azure Maia 100 trains large language models on the Azure platform.
- The Azure Cobalt 100 CPU is designed for general computing in Microsoft’s cloud, offering 40% more performance than ARM processors.
More effective training of large language models (LLMs) through expanded partnership with NVIDIA
The two companies have expanded their partnership with the introduction of NCC H100 v5 virtual machines for security applications, Azure Maia 100 AI Accelerator, and Azure Cobalt 100 CPU, among others, providing support for training large language models, the availability of Nvidia Omniverse tools, and the use of NVIDIA supercomputing clusters in the Microsoft Azure cloud. (Interestingly, NVIDIA CEO JEN Huang spoke at both Microsoft Ignite and AWS re:Invent this year).
Cybersecurity enhanced by the power of AI
Security Copilot (available as Early Access for now) offers Data & Threat Intelligence, Malware analysis, allows to identify patterns, incident response disaster recovery, and “end-to-end” protection.
In addition, it is possible to integrate Security Copilot with Microsoft Defender XDR, Sentinel, and other products for consistent benefits in cloud security operations and data protection.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Microsoft has announced the introduction or expansion of many other products, such as a virtual clone tool, Microsoft Fabric (which, as of now, is already in General Access), new features such as AI voice isolation and background decoration in Teams, and the merging of the “To Do,” “Planner” and “Project” applications into one tool.
The future of cloud computing according to AWS
As I mentioned earlier, another big cloud conference is AWS Re:Invent, held between November 27 and December 1, 2023, in Las Vegas. What’s new from Microsoft’s main competitor? According to the organizers, the most important innovation will be Generative AI (you can already see what I meant when I wrote the introduction), new services of various kinds, as well as curiosity – something for sports fans, which is all about the REC Center, where attendees could “experience” sports, of which AWS is a partner.
Prognoses for 2024 by Werner Vogels
Before I get to the news within the conference itself, I would like to introduce you to the annual prediction for 2024 presented by AWS CTO Dr. Werner Vogels.
What kind of future does Vogels see for us?
- More Informed Generative AI – Currently, models are taught mainly based on the knowledge and experience of people from the so-called “West.” Therefore, the answers for people in Japan or India may not always be accurate. Therefore, in the future, the Large Language Model (LLM) should be taught using more culturally diverse data. It will allow a better understanding of human experience and complex social challenges. It will also enable the technology to spread around the world.
- FemTech development – encompasses a variety of innovative technologies, mobile apps, medical devices, and other solutions specifically designed to meet women’s health and lifestyle needs.
- AI assistants increase the productivity of developers. We’ve been noticing this for some time now. Importantly, we are not talking about completely replacing developers but supporting them in code generation. Ultimately, the generated snippet should be verified by a human anyway.
- Evolve education to match the speed of technology development – with the current dizzying pace of technology development, universities must be mindful of how quickly the new replaces the old. Thus, it may turn out that the programming language a first-year student learns has been replaced by something better in the 5th year. Therefore, training programs based on industry skills will likely emerge, more alike training skilled salespeople than what we see today.
So much for the AWS CTO’s predictions, and what news was announced at the AWS re:Invent conference?
What new things is AWS preparing for us in 2024?
Without further delay, here’s a condensed summary of news from AWS for 2024 and the direction of the cloud computing industry:
- Amazon Q: a new Generative AI assistant tailored for businesses, which means, among other things, considering increased data security and privacy needs.
- AWS’s new processors: AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2 are expected to accelerate the execution of generative AI tasks while reducing costs and increasing energy efficiency.
- Expanded Amazon Bedrock capabilities: new Amazon Bedrock capabilities allow customers to customize base models, enabling Generative AI to perform multi-step tasks and build security into their applications. There will also be an expanded selection of models in Amazon Bedrock, where customers will gain a greater choice of models to develop and scale Generative AI applications.
- New Amazon SageMaker capabilities: Amazon SageMaker is a fully managed service that combines a broad set of tools to enable machine learning for any use-case. During the conference, new and even more innovative features were released to make it easier for users to create, train, and deploy AI models.
- Innovations in Serverless: there are three AWS innovations for Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon ElastiCache, aimed at large-scale data analysis and management while simplifying complex operations.
- New AWS Supply Chain capabilities: new features for forecasting, replenishing products, reducing warehousing costs, and streamlining communication with suppliers.
Given the enhanced partnerships and announced novelties by two cloud giants, a picture of the future of cloud technology is unfolding, emphasizing the development of Artificial Intelligence, Generative AI, and innovations in cyber security and computing infrastructure.
As predicted by all – the dynamic development of AI is the direction of cloud computing future that everyone is focusing on. Many companies are experimenting with AI, keeping a close eye on where this technology will lead them.