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Not all that long ago, company IT wasn’t all that complicated. As long as everyone had a working computer, with a working internet connection and working software then everything was more or less fine.
A whole host of factors have changed that. For one, people are no longer bringing dumb phones into the office with them, they’re bringing in a huge range of smartphones and tablets and they want to be able to access their work from them.
While that brings challenges, there are also massive opportunities. And that’s just one of many aspects that the people in charge of business level IT are grappling with today. So what will they end up facing in the next few years.
Read more: 10 digital trends you have to know about for 2015
In a bid to answer that, research advisory firm 451 Research has compiled a list of key trends that it expects to dominate the IT industry agenda over the coming year: Containers, Convergence, Cloud Security, Closets, Crowd Workers and Coexistence.
There is an explosion of activity around Docker and containerization leading 451 analysts to anticipate disruption in IT departments in 2015 as they start to use Docker. While containerization technology has existed for years, Docker is a more modern, lightweight form that is widely viewed as a next-generation virtualization technology. 451 analysts believe Docker will be adopted by large enterprises to work alongside, as well as replace, traditional VMs because of its management and efficiency advantages. Docker has not yet achieved parity with traditional VMs in some critical areas, including orchestration and security, and a large number of vendors are rapidly addressing this.
One of the most hotly debated areas in IT is the evolution of integrated platforms. Hyper-convergence has exploded, and we will see the first signs of meaningful adoption in 2015. Enterprises are tempted by the promise of improved efficiencies from integrating compute, storage and networking, while vendors are attracted by the potential to differentiate product offerings in the face of commodification. The larger questions are whether either of these expectations can be realized and what the move to new product categories means for the IT marketplace. What we know for certain is that in 2015, vendors will have to change their approach to product delivery and their partner ecosystems, and customers will have to adjust their operations to gain the benefits of convergence.
3. Cloud Security
Security spending is up again. In 2015, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, venture capital and private equity funding will continue at or near record levels. This is good news for the industry, but the underlying causes are not something to cheer about. Security is in large part reactive: new tools emerge as new IT architectures evolve. The growth in IT and mobility means that security will follow suit, roughly two years behind. Not only are new products coming along to match IT developments and widespread vulnerabilities, but they’re also all claiming to be complementary to the existing security. This will cause enterprises to pile on more layers in the coming year.
Demand for data and processing continues exponentially. But as the debate about Net Neutrality demonstrates, there are many technical and commercial constraints involved in accessing or delivering data over wide-area and public networks. Part of the solution may lie with the micromodular datacenter – the next generation of server closet. These small datacenters bring processing and storage near the point of use and are delivered as complete, self-contained products.
Micromodular datacenters include IT capability (processing, storage and connectivity) coupled with the supporting infrastructure such as uninterruptible power, cooling, fire suppression, security, a complete management system and a hardened shell. They can currently support up to 50kW of IT load and can be configured to support specialist local loads for DevOps, Internet of Things connectivity or HPC. 451 Research expects micromodular datacenters to emerge as an important execution venue and an outer “edge” tier in the datacenter hierarchy.
5. Crowd Workers
The structure of the workforce and the way people work is changing at a faster pace than companies’ abilities to effectively manage that change. Human resources systems that were conceived in the 1990s are showing their age because they were not designed to deal with the multiplicity of working structures that are emerging. In 2015, we anticipate this disconnect will increase as workers become disassociated with the firms that employ them, whether this be through increased mobility, remote working practices or the use of outsourced, freelance or crowd workers. This is impacting processes such as on-boarding and off-boarding, corporate communications, and time and task tracking.
The data management landscape is changing. Gone are the days when IT ruled data, metering it out to data scientists and analysts for reporting and analysis projects. The rise of self-service data-preparation tools from a crop of startups is putting data management directly into the hands of analysts. As 2015 progresses, the number of DIY offerings for importing, cleansing, mapping, combining and transforming datasets will grow.
Analysts will adopt them – as will data-savvy marketers and sales personnel – building on their familiarity with the self-service discovery and visual-analysis tools, which first untethered them from dependence on the IT department for data. We believe that self-service data preparation and harmonization will complement and coexist with IT’s traditional data management tools, which will continue to address critical issues around data security, compliance and governance.