IT trends for 2013 and predictions for 2014

The arrival of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Glacier providing cost effective cloud-based data storage and Microsoft Azure offering platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service will become significant drivers of the next wave of virtualization. This is among the predictions offered by Charles Clarke, technical director at APAC, Veeam.

Clarke also looks back at the trends that unfolded in 2013, such as the continued growth of cloud computing and the rising concern around data privacy.

Trends for 2013

1. Cloud has continued to grow

The transition to and adoption of cloud-based technologies has remained a popular IT trend amongst enterprises and it will continue to grow. According to Gartner, cloud is to become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016 with cloud services revenue in Australia projected to have a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3 per cent from 2012 to 2017 across all segments of the market. Larger companies and industries, for example banking and financial services, proved to be strong advocates for cloud computing this year, with CBA and NAB both adopting Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud offering in the past 12 months.

2. Businesses adopt ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing mechanisms

Cloud computing has seen a shift in IT pricing models with cloud providers offering a ‘pay-as-you-go’ approach, mirroring the structure of other service orientated industries which is based on consumption only, instead of fixed contracts. This year has seen a flurry of large businesses adopt this type of service including Telstra and Fujitsu. This move away from capital expenditure to operational expenditure will definitely continue to expand into 2014.

3. Cloud skills become a focus amongst IT professionals

New cloud-based training for IT professionals was in popular demand in 2013.

Veeam has certainly seen a rise in interest among its key partners looking for training and education in cloud management and services. Major telcos such as Telstra have been especially attracted to training for employees. With an increasing amount of businesses choosing to update their infrastructure to become more sophisticated virtual environments, the need for trained professionals to have the right skills to maintain them has been a significant factor, giving rise to this trend.

4. Data privacy was a growing area of concern

Concerns over data privacy took a front seat this year. The migration of data through the public and semi-private cloud has caused anxiety in regards to the issue of data management and protection, especially when it comes to BYOD. It is a problem that has largely gone unanswered, so we can expect data protection and security to take a more prominent role as 2014 unfolds.

Predictions for 2014

1. Enter the next wave of virtualization and the emergence of automation

The arrival of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Glacier providing cost effective cloud-based data storage and Microsoft Azure offering platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service in Australia will become significant drivers of the next wave of virtualization. In 2014, we can expect the continued adoption of software defined networking and storage, as well as data centers as a subset of this. Organizations are going to be making large investments in these areas next year.

What the next wave of virtualization really represents, however, is the opportunity for automation. This means taking back a layer of virtualization and cloud by extension, and giving it programmability. The ability to create networks for example, such as the control of network packets on demand, where cloud providers can redirect traffic in just a few mouse clicks, will give customers the flexibility and agility they will be looking for.

2. Continued growth of the multi-hypervisor strategy

Cloud and mobility represent a new era for IT and next year we can expect to see more integration between the two, especially from a Microsoft perspective, with news the company recently claimed 57 per cent of hypervisor deployments in Singapore. The growth of multi-hypervisor strategies will create data management and protection challenges and will require organizations to rethink how they do back up and modern data protection in terms of the management of heterogeneous environments.

3. The end of support for Windows XP will see businesses re-think desktop strategies

Next year we can expect many organizations to rethink their end-user strategies, with the death of Windows XP from a support standpoint. Along with this, we can expect the rise of mobility, meaning non-PC type computing will take a much broader role within companies.

With Windows XP out of consideration, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which is currently a niche area, will be presented as an option in regard to niche applications, but will not necessarily be universally adopted. What we will see instead is a greater drive towards mobility and BYOD, which will drive application development and delivery, but not virtual desktop delivery per se.

For the most part, the game has changed and next year we are going to see organizations thinking about how they can facilitate mobile users and application type delivery rather than desktop type delivery.

4. Paradigm shift from client server architecture towards client cloud architecture

Driven in part by the rise of mobile devices, businesses will be encouraged to rethink the way they deliver content to consumers both externally and within their own organizations. As a result, in 2014 we can expect a move away from the paradigm that we currently understand as client server architecture, replaced with a thinking that focuses on client cloud. The key differences between client server and client cloud is the illusion of infinity, elasticity of provision and billing models. Cloud in essence is just a finance model.

Moving from client server to cloud architecture will bring interesting possibilities for better business continuity strategies. Suddenly we are divorcing the user from their physical office or fixed piece of hardware, such as their desktop or laptop. For businesses operating on client cloud architecture, in the event that their office is destroyed, data recovery would be as simple as accessing data from the cloud, and having a mobile workforce open this up for them.

5. Growth of big data, causing challenges for businesses

Many organizations are reaching a volume of data where migration becomes logistically very difficult and in instances in which the infrastructure to support the data isn’t massive, businesses may struggle to manage and maintain backing it up. As a result, in 2014, we can expect storage of big data to become an exponential headache for organizations. What organizations are now being tasked to do is to create the illusion of elastic storage within their business, which is expensive and a logistical nightmare. The most logical answer so far has been to move everything into the cloud.

6. Businesses will be driven by consumers’ interaction with cloud

Business confidence in the cloud is growing and consumers’ interaction with cloud is driving businesses own use of it. Next year, we can expect to see a blurring of the boundaries between how consumers use and leverage data and how SMBs do likewise.

7. Government privacy laws to change the way organizations consider their data use and storage

The changes to government privacy legislation in March 2014 will force companies to show more due diligence when it comes to things such as cross border disclosure of information and destruction of unsolicited information. The increased scrutiny by the Office of Information commission will ensure organizations that deal with the public or even their own end-users are going to be held more closely to account than they were in the past.