Looking forward into the New Year, it’s now becoming apparent to all concerned just how much the rise of cloud computing in all its forms is transforming the modern enterprise. In addition to public clouds, the number of private clouds running on premise or hosted in a third-party data center are starting to proliferate exponentially. Naturally, a large percentage of those private clouds are running, or soon will be, on converged and hyper-converged infrastructure that greatly simplifies the time and effort required to architect and build them while simplifying their ongoing operations. With this in mind, I’ve outlined below what I see as the top trends for 2017 that will shape the Converged Systems industry:
Blurring Lines Between Public & Private Clouds: Even though cloud computing as we know it today is now more than 10 years old, the transformational impact that it enables across all industries is still in its relative infancy. In fact, as 2017 progresses, one of the things that will become more apparent is how much the line between public and private clouds is starting to blur. As Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI) matures, the ability to manage both private and public cloud environments as a single coordinated IT resource, hybrid clouds will become the technology rule versus the exception.
Boundary-less, Dynamic Data Center, the new IT reality: In effect, the data center as we know it today will soon become boundary-less. Data has gravity and application workloads requiring low-latency access will invariably be better served by IT infrastructure resources near the computing resource. It is likely to turn out that the workload in question may only represent a component of a larger application made up of workloads running both locally and simultaneously consuming resources in an external public cloud. At other times, it may make more sense to host an entire application in a public cloud. Of course, just because an application workload was created in one environment does not mean it will need to stay there for its entire life. Application workloads are already moving bi-directionally between both on-premise IT environments and public cloud as well as between public cloud providers as part of multi-cloud strategies.
Rise of the Variable Application Workloads: To illustrate just how dynamic those IT environments have become, a 2016 IDC study finds that close to half of the 53% of respondents that had moved or are considering moving workloads away from of a public cloud cite better performance or need a less expensive way to deploy certain classes of application workloads as the primary reasons for making the shift.
The challenge facing IT leaders will be determining which cloud environment best aligns to an application’s needs during that workload’s maturation within the enterprise. The challenge for technology providers will be to abstract the complexity of infrastructure management where portability of an application between environments as it traverses its own unique stages of development and maturity for their enterprise owner. The Vblock, VxBlock, VxRack Systems, Vscale Architecture and hyper-converged appliances developed by Dell EMC, coupled with our Hybrid Cloud offerings, allow IT organizations to expose internal and external IT infrastructure resources via a common self-service portal and are all designed from the ground up to address that challenge.
Normalization of the Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI): Heading into 2017, it’s apparent that SDI technologies running on premise will achieve parity in terms of flexibility with public cloud capabilities. The next challenge will be finding the means to make use of public and private clouds as application workloads economically warrant. That may not always wind up being in a place where that application was developed. But the one thing that is for certain is that IT operations teams will be given tools to have confidence in the fact that any given application workload is running in the most optimal way and place possible.