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Year in Review
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Top Cloud Computing Trends (and Non-Trends) of 2023

While 2023 didn't see any revolutionary developments in cloud computing, important changes did take place. Here are the five notable cloud computing trends from 2023.

What happened in cloud computing in 2023? If your answer is "not much," you're not exactly wrong. Compared to earlier years, when cloud computing was still new and cloud providers were rolling out brand-new types of services and solutions, 2023 didn't see any earth-shattering changes in the realm of the cloud.

But in less monumental respects, important change did take place in the cloud ecosystem over the past year. Here's a look at five notable cloud computing trends from 2023.

1. FinOps Continued to Gain Steam

FinOps — which means the practice of optimizing spending in the cloud — has been a thing for about five years. But it seems to have gained more attention than ever in 2023, as more and more companies look to rightsize their cloud environments from a cost perspective.

That's unsurprising given that businesses are navigating turbulent economic times. Plus, many began their cloud migrations long enough ago to have awoken by this point to the sobering reality that although the cloud can potentially save money in lots of ways, the savings don't happen automatically. Deliberate cost optimization is necessary to keep spending in check.

2. Increased Focus on Cloud Hardware

Originally, the cloud essentially commoditized hardware. Most cloud workloads ran on virtual machines, and few cloud users cared — or even knew — about the details of the underlying physical servers that supported them.

But developments over the past year suggest this might be changing. Hardware vendors are now investing in servers purpose-built for the cloud. Having access to GPU-enabled servers in cloud environments grew more important, given the central role that GPUs play in most AI model training. Bare-metal clouds continued to hold appeal. And the big cloud vendors continued to invest in custom computing chips, including but not limited to those tailored for AI workloads.

All of the above suggests that going forward, the physical hardware that exists in cloud data centers will matter more, at least for certain types of workloads.

3. Multi-cloud Ceased to Be So Trendy

Five or so years ago, the idea of using multiple clouds at once was one of the latest, greatest trends in cloud computing.

As of 2023, however, that seems no longer to be the case. And it's not because few businesses ended up adopting multi-cloud strategies. On the contrary, it's because multi-cloud has grown so widespread that using multiple cloud platforms is no longer a big deal. Indeed, given that three-quarters of companies now depend on multiple clouds, not being multi-cloud is what makes an organization stand out these days.

4. Cloud Lawsuits and Regulations Intensify

Google filed a complaint this year alleging that Microsoft has adopted monopolistic practices in its Azure cloud, and the FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon related to its cloud computing business.

For its part, Google hasn't faced any major regulatory lawsuits over Google Cloud Platform this year, but it remains under scrutiny over allegations of monopolistic practices in digital advertising, and it was found guilty of gender bias in a claim brought by a GCP executive.

Lawsuits and regulatory oversight of cloud providers isn't new, but developments during 2023 suggest they may be heating up. That's not surprising given increasing awareness among the public at large of just how central a role public clouds play in powering digital services, as well as the fact that there's not a whole lot, technologically speaking, that distinguishes the major clouds from each other these days — which means suing one another may become a popular strategy as they compete over cloud market share.

5. Edge Computing Feels Less Edgy

For years, it was popular to point to edge computing as, well, the cutting edge of cloud computing. The future of distributed infrastructure, we were told, would center on the ability to deploy workloads at the end, rather than in centralized data centers.

To be sure, edge computing is important, but it has arguably lost some of its luster. Edge adoption has grown slowly — plus, the novelty of the concept itself is questionable in some respects. When it comes to edge computing trends for 2023, the trend is that edge computing no longer feels so trendy.


Again, 2023 didn't bring any revolutionary developments in the realm of cloud computing. But it did bring us some new trends, such as an intensifying regulatory landscape surrounding the cloud and growing investment in cloud hardware optimized for specific purposes. It also ended some trends, like multi-cloud and edge computing, which are arguably no longer as cool as they once were.

About the author

Christopher Tozzi headshotChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.
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