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Which 5 IT areas look to prosper in 2013?

Andre Carpenter.jpgBy Andre Carpenter, senior solutions architect in Australia

On Twitter: @andrecarpenter

 

Here’s to 2013! It’s a very exciting time to be in IT—and especially in the storage, cloud and virtualisation space. Last year saw a massive shift in the IT landscape as CIOs really started to show interest in this thing we call cloud computing. More focus on how things can be done better and more cost effectively was one of the prominent drivers behind this surge in interest.

 

Looking into the crystal ball… Crystal Ball.jpg

I’ve never deemed myself to be a fortune teller of any kind, but I guess in some wacky kind of way it is part of my role: possessing a grasp of what’s happening now and an ability to translate this and interpret the market to foretell what might be happening 6 months, 12 months, 18 months down the track. This is always a beneficial skill for any IT professional to have. This time of year, we see a number of predictions on market trends that appear to be obvious for 2013. Then there are some that may come as a surprise. So let’s take a look at some of the areas that I think will prosper:

 

1. Big data gets BIGGER.

The foremost trend or upwards spike I see happening over the next year is a slight shift in focus from cloud to big data. Not to play Captain Obvious here, but I think big data will become more of a challenge for CIOs than where to host their infrastructure, and whether or not to adopt cloud computing. Cloud in my opinion has been a buzzword for a few years now, and only lately has really started to mature.

 

I have shared in another post, The Big Data Era: The Time to Tame the Big Data Beast Is Right Now, that the big data trend is the result of a surge in data growth – 8 Zettabytes by the year 2015. That’s two years from now, folks.

 

Big data was one of the main recurring themes at HP Discover Frankfurt in December. Understanding the concept of big data is important. It’s not about simply keeping on top of data growth by throwing more spindles at the problem when you run out of space and implementing efficient technologies such as deduplication and/or thin provisioning. We look at this concept as something that’s a lot more than this – from the governance, classification, protection, archival, even data destruction perspectives. These underpin the big data management lifecycle, which tracks data almost like a living, breathing being on its journey.  

 

Big data mgmt lifecyle.png

                     Big Data Management Lifecycle from HP

 

In fact, there are numerous vendors (including HP) that have invested in specialised big data teams, which focus only on big data challenges and opportunities. This area is going to be BIG this year.

 

2. Virtualisation becomes a true business-problem-solving technology.

VMware has come a long way in the last year. In my eyes, they really has evolved from just a server-and-desktop virtualisation organization to one that translates virtualisation into a solution for a business need. And right now it appears to be addressing business challenges around cloud computing (HP has a very compelling story with VMware in this space) and BYOD.  VMware is starting to tap into the growing number of mobile compute, tablets and smart phones and is extending the software suite to these with VMware Horizon Application Manager offering.

 

And what VMware has done with vSphere from a product development lifecycle point of view, I believe it will duplicate with its vCloud software offering. This, coupled with the ongoing improvements to the vSphere hypervisor (and subsequently vCloud Director), means we will see the game changing vastly.

 

Enter Microsoft and its product development in the Hyper-V space, and we really do have a great year to look forward to for more exciting announcements. I for one have made it a personal (or professional, depending on how you look at it) objective to get more in touch with my Microsoft virtualisation side this year, as I applaud an industry where there is healthy competition. And it’s good to know both corners. (It wouldn’t be fun if it were only a one horse race, right?)

 

3. Mobile Business Computing: smart phones get smarter and BYOD gets tamer.

Here’s what I think is going to happen in this area: I believe more employees will be adopting the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. The reason for this is simple:  choice.  People want to choose how they interact with the technology world, and not be governed by corporate IT policies putting restrictions on them. Personally, I am all for this, as I believe the best way to learn and grow as a technologist is to be unrestricted and unbound.

 

Looking at the market in this area shows that the VMware Horizon suite opens a very large door to this world. In fact I am really excited at the possibilities this world has to offer – mobile virtualisation for the smart device enabling business on the go, as well as segregation from personal use of the end-user device.

 

Sure, it may mean we as consumers\users become even more addicted to our smart devices, but it essentially gives control back to the IT manager\administrator. So BYOD, which was a growing, problematic, unstoppable force that CIOs had a tough time gaining a handle on, has really started to be tamed by VMware with their Horizon Application Manager.

 

4. Disaster recovery gets serious.

A passion of mine, disaster recovery (DR), is an area that will become more and more present in CIOs’ agendas as an area to look at and invest in. Working with customers to date has shown me there is still not enough emphasis on DR.  Think back to this post of mine, Would you like a side of Disaster Recovery with that? What I think CIOs who have implemented a DR plan previously may face is business continuity plans (BCPs) that are out of date, and infrastructure that has been refreshed – and consequently BCPs are now useless.

 

If you are a CIO or IT manager, think back to your last infrastructure refresh, whether it was storage, servers or both. Apart from the obvious, what has changed? Perhaps the hostnames on the servers have changed because you needed to run the old servers alongside the new servers for a period of time after the refresh. Another common setting that may have changed is the DNS server. Sure, your new infrastructure is happily pointing to the updated DNS server and resolving as it should. But in the event of a disaster, your BCP still references the old DNS server, causing confusion and potential mayhem for those who are not in the know but who are part of your business continuity team.

 

The question I put to you is: Have the BCPs since been updated to capture these changes?   I have been studying some recent researched conducted in the market where CIO’s were asked about which part of their disaster recovery management plan needed the most improvement. 

 

The respondents identified the top three concerns:

  1. Creating and/or updating of the BCP
  2. Having the right infrastructure
  3. Improve the quality of DR Testing

 

If the plan is outdated, chances are things are not going to be restored to service when a disaster occurs, and this document needs to be put through it’s courses to ensure it will get the business is up and running when a disaster occurs.

 

DR as a Service?

I think we will see a different view/definition of disaster recovery, which will be the result of more and more companies taking up a cloud provisioning model. Cloud computing is not just about how to get the service to market. It also encompasses protection – backup and disaster recovery. This should be in every CIO’s points of discussion if looking at adopting a cloud model. Don’t just assume DR is automatically included.

 

5. The VMware admin and the storage admin become one, bringing death to the traditional sys admin.

I’ve evangelized this notion for awhile now, and I really do think IT leaders will recognise this, with such great integration points between enterprise storage arrays and the Hypervisor, areas like VAAI, VASA, and even VSA, to a point. And vendors in these areas are going to explode with new and exciting announcements. Data migrations are subsequently going to become more and more seamless and application non-disruptive (moving to an array-based strategy). We will no doubt see more and more converging of teams – server folks are going to be attending storage training with the storage folks and vice versa. This has been happening for a while now, but I think 2013 is the year that it will accelerate drastically.

 

This particular prediction is in turn supported by the introduction of vVols and the ability to offload ANY per-VM data operation to the array.  (A good preview of 3PAR - thanks Calvin.) Not to play the bias card, but this is simply going to rock with 3PAR, especially with the thin story we have. Enough said.

 

Onward into an exciting New Year.

Big data. Mobile business and computing. Making virtualisation an even better business-problem-solving solution. Disaster recovery.  The integration of the admins. These are what I predict will be the leading growth areas for 2013. I’m not discounting other areas, but in the field and game I play in, this is it.

 

And we are off and running in the New Year. Wishing everyone a successful and happy 2013!

 

See what other predictions our storage gurus are making in this blog discussing 10 top storage areas to watch in 2013.

 

Comments
Ed Rescsanski(anon) | ‎03-13-2013 07:59 PM

Older post but I like it. My opinion is Cloud is only getting bigger and better as the automation and reporting tools evolve. Virtualization and Cloud are forever linked and the linkage will only get stronger. Therefore, numbers 2. Virtualization and 5. VMWare and storage admin becoming one, are a reflection of Cloud prospering big time in 2013. So I would put 2 and 5 together and simply say Cloud is my number 1 part of IT that will prosper in 2013. 

| ‎06-19-2013 08:01 PM

Thanks  Ed - good feedback.  And apologies that I lost track of your comment and didn't respond sooner.

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