Ten predictions for applications and application delivery in 2021

We’ve become an application-centric society. We use apps to help us do our work, to communicate, to stream entertainment, to monitor our health, and to do a whole lot more. Over the years, the number of desktop and mobile apps has grown dramatically. Where we deliver them from has changed too. The cloud has played a huge role as we move away from strictly on-premises data centers to a hybrid cloud and multi-cloud approach. And, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on how we built, delivered, and consumed our applications in 2020. But what will 2021 bring?

Here are 10 predictions for applications and application delivery in the coming year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching well into 2021, we will see the rise of new videoconferencing apps that compete directly with Zoom and WebEx as employees and students continue to work and learn remotely.

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Similarly, with more employees working from home due to the pandemic, organizations will continue to see growing demand for cloud application delivery. For some, the pandemic is accelerating their plans to use public clouds and private clouds, while others will adjust their original plans to meet the growing demand.

Migration to the cloud will continue to grow and over 90 percent of enterprises will have adopted a hybrid cloud strategy by the end of 2021.

Microsoft 365 will remain the most widely used app. However, HR tools such as Workday will close the gap.

In 2021, the number of apps available in the Apple App Store and Google Play will exceed 5.5 million as consumer appetite for apps continues to grow.

83 percent of enterprise workloads were expected to be in the cloud in 2020. That number will grow to over 90 percent in 2021. This will drastically increase secure application delivery and load balancing needs.

With the growth in the number and use of essential business apps for online work and shopping, organizations will spend more budget on web application security to prevent cyber-attacks directed at vulnerable applications.

Looking to streamline the application development and delivery lifecycle, more organizations will adopt a DevOps approach in 2021, generating greater interest in automation tools which will fuel market growth.

Due to significant investment in data center hardware, more organizations than expected will take a hybrid cloud approach instead of "cloud only" for application delivery.

The containerization of applications has become more popular. By the close of 2021, 40 percent of enterprises will have containerized half or more of their applications.

Life changed dramatically in 2020 due to the pandemic. Many of us spent our days working from home. Students went online for school. Online shopping and app-based restaurant ordering and delivery dramatically increased, as did telehealth. All of these shifts were made possible by applications. We can expect to see these trends continue in 2021 and well beyond as the global economy settles into changes that may indeed become permanent.

We can also expect to see more cyber-attacks as bad actors look to take advantage of the increase in users accessing applications from many distributed devices and locations. Taking steps to secure our apps and networks is vital and it will be imperative for organizations to fortify their application delivery infrastructures now. Better times are coming. Advancements in the development and delivery of applications will improve our work and personal lives. Innovation is just around the corner. 

Image Credit: Shutter_M / Shutterstock

Scott Grebe is Senior Product Marketing Manager for Application Delivery Controller (ADC) Solutions at A10 Networks

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