In the modern world, everything seems to be in a perpetual state of flux. There is perhaps no field to which this omnipresent change is more central than computing. Here are 11 IT trends and how to be prepared as they transform data centers in 2017.
- Introduction: Information technology comes of age
- IT trends becoming more prevalent in 2017
- Innovative and responsive high-performance infrastructure
The long-range trends that are reshaping data centers through 2020 – limitless infrastructure, unceasing business needs, and an evolution of control – can sometimes seem beyond challenging. However, IT leaders must be prepared.
Introduction: Information technology comes of age
It’s impossible to know exactly what will happen in the coming years, but one trend that is impacting business at all levels is the transition from a mechanistic to an informational approach. This transformation has involved an overhaul of policies and procedures, management expectations, internal roles, and company culture.
IT is of course not new but is maturing, delivering a major impact to the consumer and business worlds at each phase of its development. Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin believed that the rise of the “information age” represented a radical cultural revolution that resembles the inception of agriculture or the advent of the scientific era – although more shocking because of its sheer speed.
The blisteringly fast increase in knowledge that is so readily acknowledged today was addressed by William Conboy in the 1960s, noted Chris Anderson of Bizmanualz. “Conboy estimated that the amount of knowledge in existence doubled between 1 AD and 1750,” reported Anderson. “Knowledge doubled again by 1900, 1950, 1960, and Conboy projected it to double again by 1963 and beyond.”
IT trends becoming more prevalent in 2017
Lists of trends are sometimes not given the credit they deserve. Yes, the Internet does become a bit obsessed with trends. However, genuine analysis of how the industry is evolving is invaluable.
For instance, esteemed analyst David Cappuccio listed top trends for IT decision-makers to use in their strategic plans at Gartner Symposium 2016.
One thing that is certainly changing is the perspective toward what is possible within a data center. Business leaders increasingly expect internal infrastructure to resemble the expense and scalability of high-performance public cloud.
Trends mentioned by Cappuccio include:
- Data centers aren’t over
The on-premise data center is on the decline. By the end of the decade, 4 out of every 5 workloads will run off-premises, in Cappuccio’s estimation. These workloads are occurring through a patchwork of third-party locations.
Hybrid means flexibility but not simplicity, noted Cappuccio. “As workloads move off premise, our lives are not getting easier,” he said.
It’s necessary for CIOs and directors to pay close attention to key performance indicators (KPIs), regardless whether systems are on- or off-premise.
- The fabric is growing
To foster resilience in a data center, disparate assets are peered within a multitenant fabric. Interconnect fabrics now additionally peer sites that are remote.
The notion of fabric is to increase availability for better service continuity and, in turn, stronger UX.
What encompasses a firm’s IT architecture is, effectively, broadening, noted Cappuccio. Infrastructure “is not just on prem, but [involves] all services provided to customers,” he said, adding that IT succeeds when “services are delivered from the right place, for the right price, from the right platform.”
- Stop: it’s container time
Let’s face it: containers are too legit to quit. Increasingly popular in development and DevOps, they allow apps to be partitioned as microservices for deployment on virtual or physical servers. It’s up to IT to supply the backend and support for this breakthrough model.
Containers are tricky because they are ready-made for scalability, but they are also characterized by impermanence – sometimes only existing for a split-second. Orchestration and automation will be key to managing container workloads.
- Business drives IT
More and more, heads of business departments are looking beyond the boundaries of their organization for their high-performance infrastructure needs. In fact, Gartner-verified data shows that nearly a third of IT dollars (29%) are spent on off-prem solutions.
As the cloud rolls in (leading, of course, to fog computing), IT will gradually transition to a more consultative role in brokering or curating services that better support the immediate needs of business.
- The service-oriented approach
IT can be viewed as a service provider. To extend the brokering or curation idea, the responsibility of the datacenter is about finding the services that most meet continuity, latency, security, compliance, RTOs (recovery time objectives), and other factors.
- Waste management
Other research validated by Gartner estimates that ghost servers – which are active but serve an unjustifiable purpose – make up 28% of corporate infrastructure. Similarly, two out of five racks (40%) aren’t fully provisioned.
Designation of racks for certain departments is a primary reason for this misuse of resources, explained Cappuccio. “We must put more governance in place to understand what’s running and why,” he said.
Here are a seven ways you can limit this form of waste:
- Right-sizing your resources (provision to fit the job)
- Tagging workload lifecycles for company-wide monitoring
- Avoiding data egress so pointless copying doesn’t occur
- Throttling workloads that are underused
- Evaluating price structures to verify they are logical;
- Prioritizing open source management programs; and
- Recycling stranded resources.
- Expansion of IoT
To understand the emerging scope of the Internet of Things, think twenties: by 2020, 20 billion devices will be online. To understand the security challenge, consider how popular IoT endpoints such as thermostats and webcams are as DDoS botnet slaves.
“IT must start thinking about an infrastructure to support IoT,” said Cappuccio. Networking and interoperability are key issues to address.
- Need for IoT management
Use of the IoT could come with extraordinary IT labor and administrative costs. Think in terms of installation, registration, calibration, testing, maintenance, and eventual disposal.
Yes, the IoT bears similarity to other data center needs, such as edge computing or bandwidth improvements, but when you map the future of the IoT, the most shocking trait is its scale.
- Building on the edge
Don’t look down. The centralized nature of infrastructure is being modified rapidly to better serve the business. Placing workloads in greater proximity to your users – especially in the era of real-time IoT needs – better contributes to high-performance infrastructure.
Edge computing or microcomputing sites are powerful in these scenarios. User management, distribution, and synchronization are all fields of knowledge that can help architects prepare.
- Up-and-coming IT roles
As IT continues to shift and reshape, giving rise to new responsibilities, what once were novel roles are becoming increasingly commonplace.
Cappuccio highlighted these six:
- IOT architect – Processing, networking, and management of your IoT.
- Cloud sprawl manager – Cost containment for stranded per-use resources.
- Strategy architect – Refinement in delivering high-performance infrastructure to meet business objectives.
- Capacity recovery/optimization director – Aligning resources with needs in a parallel function to sprawl managers.
- Vendor broker – Grasp of available providers’ performance, cost, and SLAs.
- End-to-end/performance manager – These roles “reflect the growing importance of workload performance and user satisfaction management in the enterprise,” said Stephen J. Bigelow of TechTarget, paraphrasing Cappuccio. “Knowing that each aspect of an application is running well can offer early warning for potential problems, as well as insight for improvement.”
Innovative and responsive high-performance infrastructure
As we look toward how business computing will evolve through and beyond 2020, the focus will be on ramping performance and flexibility through hybrid, on-prem, and off-prem systems.
At Total Server Solutions, we provide a performance infrastructure and thoughtfully engineered services that function as a whole. Check out our solutions.