By Paul Ruinaard – Infrastructure is transforming and as the years pass, the evolution we are seeing complexities creep into technology. Not only do we need to take into account that businesses themselves are spread across multiple geographies, but now we also need to factor in the fact that data itself comes from multiple touch points.

It is this very complexity which is presenting itself as the most significant pain point for IT CIOs. It is with this that IT is turning to the ‘cloud’ to bring in simplicity while being able to work and deliver results faster with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

But with innovation in technology comes opportunity. However CIOs are not only looking at tech to help them do things differently, but also to help them leverage a design template that will give them the longevity and future proof they crave for their business.


The demand for Hyper-converged infrastructure(HCI) to grow

While we are almost three months into 2018, public cloud adoption will drive the need for hybrid cloud.  As leaders increase their IT spend, there will be a growing need to explore public cloud as an option but that also means that there will be an increasing segment of people who will look for solutions that will help them adopt hybrid cloud solution because enterprises will need to evaluate which application needs to be put on which kind of cloud.

The idea of running all applications on cloud will be replaced with a more selective approach and having the hybrid cloud will help them to do just that.

This trend has already gained momentum in the global market and has been well recognised by the analyst community. In South Africa, we will start to see a HCI first approach for any new purchases made by enterprises in the coming year as well as into 2019 as we lag slightly in this, which will result in an increased adoption of HCI which fundamentally enables customers to do hybrid cloud.


Application mobility the key factor to evaluate technology

The second aspect of hybrid cloud is that applications need to be mobile. They need to be portable across the cloud, which means that one of the key aspects of people evaluating technologies will be application mobility itself. In the past, the applications used a virtual machine construct to make them portable and available on different systems.

Going forward, we will see further acceleration of technologies such as containers that will help people port their applications is a much more simpler way.

Containers will help make applications extensible make them scale out and make them more flexible. Containers are growing in popularity and we will see them get a lot more interest and technologies such as Kubernetes will draw more attention from people who would like to understand how to manage their cloud environment using the construct of Kubernetes and such technologies.


Infrastructure as a code

The third trend to look out for is more and more data-centric infrastructure will be treated as codes. This means that ‘Infrastructure as code paradigm’ (IAC) will now kick in. IT itself, IT management and planning of overall operations, will become automated and agile.

Developers will be able to write software infrastructure as a code, making siloed hardware boxes function faster.

We will see a lot of automation, self-service, a lot of private cloud as a service to the end customer going forward. The focus on automation inside the data centre will drive ICA as a theme for IT teams to evolve their cloud management and data centre management strategies.


Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is developing but is still at a nascent stage. Machine learning (ML) which is the foundation for AI will see more meaningful adoption. Evaluation of machine learning will lead to machines being able to identify and help optimise the overall datacentre operations – from overall root cause analysis to how ticketing systems will be created for teams to interact.

We are already seeing the merger of teams happening in data centres, today we do not need a specialist for fibre channel versus a specialist for hypervisor. We will also see that as teams come together, a lot of intelligence will be transferred to the machines, where machines can manage other machines efficiently.

This will mean that the machine learning paradigm and the heuristics that are used inside data centre operations will become stronger, eventually leading to a robust AI kind of delivery over the next few years. The first step to delivering artificial intelligence will be in this machine learning trend that we will see strengthening in the near future.

These are the four significant trends that people need to watch out for as they are evaluating their data centre transformation. These trends will not be specific to just a few industry segments and will radically transform every business right from consumer personal technology to enterprise technology across the globe.


Paul Ruinaard is the country manager at Nutanix sub-Saharan Africa

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