Predictions of Top Technology Trends for 2013

EMC executives forecast IT trends and challenges for 2013.

Eleven EMC executives offer their predictions of which technologies and trends will transform cloud computing, Big Data and IT security the most in 2013.  Scroll down to view them all.

Art Coviello
Executive Vice President, EMC
Executive Chairman, RSA

In the words of the famous French Philosopher: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Security predictions for 2013 in many ways reflect this quote. Unfortunately, evidence of criminals collaborating with rogue nation states, exchanging methodologies, buying and selling information, and even subcontracting services expands their collective reach and enhances their mutual learning curves.

Now a new model of cybersecurity is in order. More than ever, an intelligence-driven security model will be necessary to provide true defense in depth. This new model will require multiple components including: a thorough understanding of risk, the use of agile controls based on pattern recognition and predictive analytics, and the use of big data analytics to give context to vast streams of data from numerous sources to produce timely, actionable information.

Security is and will continue to be challenged in the following ways leading into 2013:

  • Hackers are more likely to get even more sophisticated.
  • Our attack surfaces will continue to expand and any remaining semblance of a perimeter will continue to wither.
  • Changes will occur whether security teams are ready or not.
  • National governments will continue to struggle to legislate on rules of evidence, information sharing and reforming privacy laws.
  • It is highly likely that nation states will continue to move well past intrusion and deliberately attempt disruption and destruction.
  • Responsible people in organizations from all verticals, industries and governments will move past awareness to a genuine understanding of the gravity of the situation.
  • Adopting an intelligence-based security model that includes big data and analytics will be the key to a true defense in depth strategy.

The bottom line is that we have the technology. Will we have the will to act? I predict we will.

Rick Devenuti
President, Information Intelligence Group

For many years, content management software providers sold massive platforms for customers and partners to build a solution that satisfied key business requirements. IT had the money and power to make platform decisions under the “build it and they will come” model and all business solutions, as they were prioritized, were to be implemented on these platforms. It’s just the way it was; IT would be the development shop for building these highly customized solutions on their chosen platform. These projects took months or years to develop, and by the time some of them were ready for prime time, the business was already on to the next big thing. Or the project far exceeded budget…or it just didn’t meet the need which had changed during the long delivery cycle.

But not today. For CIOs, the common theme is “now.” Rapid time to value is the leading driver. In many cases today, the business unit holds the money and determines the priorities, but they don’t care much about platforms, just the best solution for a specific problem. IT has the difficult task of meeting the time-critical need imposed by the business, while still trying to maintain a rational architecture for the enterprise. And to make matters worse, if IT doesn’t respond fast enough, the business will look to buy a cloud-based solution, cutting IT out until there is a problem.

At IIG, we believe this movement to cloud solutions is only going to escalate. Generally, the new trends we see in IT are adopted more slowly than we think, but once the tipping point happens, things accelerate faster than expected. In 2013, cloud-based, content-centric solutions will hit that tipping point.

Brian Gallagher
President, Enterprise Storage Division

Many of 2012’s trends — information growth of both structured and unstructured data, never before seen requirements for data mobility, and new foundations laid for extracting value from Big Data — will expand and drive new levels of enterprise storage requirements in 2013.

  • Dramatic information growth and traditional applications will continue to demand world-class availability, performance and efficiency.
  • The transformation to hybrid cloud environments, and the need to move data between corporate IT data centers and service providers, will accelerate. The concepts of both data and application mobility to enable organizations to move their virtual applications will become the norm.
  • Companies will continue investing in Big Data and seeking new value within information while exploiting the strengths of IT from the present.

To meet these demands…

  • Scale-up and scale-out enterprise storage capabilities will leverage and exploit industry standards, off-the-shelf processing components, enterprise flash technologies and leading drive technologies.
  • We will see enterprises invest in software innovation around mission critical, enterprise-wide automated tiering, business continuity, virtualization and security.
  • Enterprises will deploy highly mobile and highly protected active-active data center configurations — enabling them to offload applications to the cloud (or to Service Providers) permanently or temporarily.

Zahid Hussain
Senior Vice President & General Manager, Flash Product Division

In 2013, Flash is no longer the future game changer — it’s now the norm, ubiquitous in all storage architectures.

The industry will move beyond just exploring and promoting the benefits of Flash technology — and shift to exploring the new opportunities and use cases Flash opens up. In 2013, Flash will be the key enabler to larger IT initiatives such as virtualization and cloud computing, allowing companies of all sizes to use software combined with Flash to exploit maximum efficiency, maximum performance and cost effectiveness in all types of environments — from the world’s largest and most demanding enterprises, to the most demanding social sites, to consumer products. 2013 is about marrying Flash with other tech resources to deliver compute and storage power, turbo charging IT assets for top-shelf performance.

As Flash technology matures with innovations such as Lithography shrinks and potential next generation 3D technologies, the industry will begin to turn its eyes to the “next big thing” in technology investment: Phase Change Memory. In 2013, we will see a flurry of investment activity in PCM based architectures. With this non-volatile random-access memory, the industry will begin to augment existing offerings and deliver an alternative extremely fast storage option with even lower latencies than Flash technology, beginning to approach DRAM type of speeds.

Leonard Iventosch
Vice President, Channels Americas

Channel players will transform their roles: 2013 will mark the beginning of a transformation that could see the channel completely change from its current form. Already the roles and responsibilities of the different channel entities are blurring. SIs are becoming resellers; resellers are becoming service providers; and even end users are becoming service providers. Over the next three years, it is probable that the traditional mix of end user, channel, alliance and service organizations will change, merge or disappear.

Businesses will focus on data management/Big Data services: Big Data is one of the hottest topics in the IT world at the moment. While it will have an impact on the channel in 2013, this will mostly be centered on the provision of scalable storage and data management technologies. The main focus for 2013 will be in helping businesses to manage their data from an infrastructure point of view and in extracting valuable insights from it. The next stage in the evolution of Big Data in the channel – the provision of sector-specific analytical propositions that SIs can build services around – won’t take place until further down the line.

The pace of market consolidation will accelerate: 2013 will see the trend for market consolidation continue and accelerate. Those resellers and SIs that have not been able to keep pace with the changes engendered by cloud computing and PS driven business models will find themselves the target for acquisitive companies. The economy will also be a major factor in the increase in such acquisitions. Over the next year, the revenues on offer to the channel will not grow significantly, meaning that only the smartest and fastest players will survive. Such consolidation will take place more quickly in EMEA than in the US, but will continue at a rapid pace in the U.S. This is due to the fact that there are a greater number of smaller players still in action in EMEA, and to the prolonged economic uncertainty hanging over the region.

Stephen Manley
Chief Technology Officer, Backup & Recovery Systems Division

Backup will continue to evolve toward “versioned replication” — rapid, incremental-forever backups stored efficiently on disk as full backups (e.g. source-dedupe, virtual synthetics, snapshot & replication and CDP).

As hypervisors, applications, and storage arrays expand optimizations for data protection, organizations will deploy backup and recovery solutions that leverage those optimizations.

Organizations will continue to rapidly eliminate tape for backup.

Organizations that have deployed hypervisor/application/storage-specific solutions will focus on consolidating their backup infrastructures to eliminate silos and look to deepen visibility by a broader group of stakeholders (application, virtualization and storage teams, as well as CIOs) into both the overall backup and recovery process and individual elements of it.

The role of the backup team will continue to evolve into a service provider model, delivering SLA-focused services to their users. The backup team will have centralized visibility into all the backups and control over the infrastructure.

The backup team will be able to delegate backup visibility and control to the virtualization, application, and storage teams, if desired.

Over the next few years, we’ll witness a complete transformation of the backup industry. Deduplication and disk revolutionized backup and recovery, but it did so within backup’s traditional role. Today, there’s a clear link between the state of an organization’s backup and its pace of business acceleration. As IT transformation and delivery of IT as a Service continue to progress in the upcoming year, backup will become more about acceleration of IT transformation and enablement of IT as a Service delivery. The current focus on issues of backup window and recovery timing will expand. Backup teams will begin to consolidate all backup and archive silos into a single storage pool, and using backup and recovery technologies that integrate deeply with the data protection intelligence now being built into applications and servers. Application, hypervisor, and storage managers will expand their visibility and control over their backups. Backup teams will focus on providing SLA-driven services to those customers — ranging from providing infrastructure to delivering the end-to-end solution.

Rich Napolitano
President, Unified Storage Division

One major area of activity for unified storage this year is virtualization and cloud computing. Customers are demanding tight levels of integration between storage and virtualization technology to simplify management and increase virtual machine scalability with array offload. In addition they are looking for a range of solutions from build-your-own to converged infrastructure.  Unified storage will play an even larger role in 2013, based on the trend to have Hypervisor access to storage using NAS protocols. VMware over NFS has been a popular choice, and with Windows 8 / Server 2012, Microsoft supports Hyper-V access to unified storage via the CIFS protocol as well as the ODX protocol for array offload.

The second key area of activity for Unified Storage is Flash. Flash adoption has been growing steadily and customers are deploying flash drives as a storage tier and to extend the cache on the storage array. Customers demand automated tiering to improve performance and lower costs without adding complexity. As we move into 2013, we predict a “Flash-everywhere” strategy will gain momentum as Flash technology will be deployed in the servers, the network, and unified storage arrays.

Bill Richter
President, Isilon Storage Division

2012 has been an exciting year for Scale-Out NAS as the continued shift of applications to unstructured data continues unabated. We’ve seen a rapid increase in organizations recognizing the challenges and opportunities around Big Data.

This is led first by early-adopter industries such as media and entertainment, oil and gas and chip design, but continues to expand into more regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare and the public sector. We’ve also seen a continued acceleration of Scale-Out NAS for traditional IT use cases, such as home directories, enterprise content, and archive. There have been new and emerging applications focused on analytics and business intelligence, leveraging open source frameworks such as Hadoop and Cassandra. Finally, we’ve seen a slow but steady shift towards the creation of private
clouds built on Scale-Out NAS using both proprietary and open source technologies.

In 2013, these trends will continue to accelerate: the creation and consolidation of large unstructured information (Big Data), the processing, transformation and synthesis of this information (Big Analytics) and the ability for an organization to monetize, innovate and drive business differentiation (Big Leverage), amongst an ever increasing need to be flexible, agile and operationally efficient. These trends are made possible by scale-out – new applications built in a scale-out paradigm, leveraging scalable software architectures and platforms and powered by scalable storage infrastructure. The pace of innovation and change in the IT industry is more exciting than ever.

Tom Roloff
Senior Vice President, Global Services

The advancement of new technology consumption models coupled with the growing adoption of cloud and Big Data in 2013 will underscore the importance of people, process and technology for customers requiring a modernization facelift to satisfy their IT and business demands.

Schools, trade organizations and companies will rush to fill the cloud, Big Data analytics and data science training and certification void, e.g. more formalized university and college curricula coupled with more online, remote training.

Organizations will start to understand where and how Big Data can power their value creation processes. This will drive dramatically improved tools and integrated Big Data development environments (to query and manipulate data on Hadoop, for example).

New automated environmental data collection technology and data analytics will lead support providers to deliver more proactive services specific to customers’ environments and provide expanded communication/language flexibility.

Organizations will develop strategies to minimize OS and application upheaval for workers as End User Computing and VDI mobility strategies are rolled out.

Future-thinking IT organizations will become brokers of IT services to the business, showing a catalog of services provided internally and by affiliated service providers, showing costs, service levels and policies in an easy-to-use service portal.

IT will look to accelerate the software development lifecycle by taking full advantage of cloud computing, automating manual processes, and improving how development and operational teams collaborate.

Amitabh Srivastava
President, Advanced Storage Division

2012 was the year organizations truly began transforming IT infrastructure. But, unlike past IT transformations such as the PC or Web eras, end users and their insatiable appetite for content and applications drive this transformation.

IT will continue to see abstractions with more intelligence in the data center moving to a software control plane that uses Web-based technologies to access compute, networking, and storage resources as a whole (e.g. software-defined data center). Cloud model tenets like efficiency and agility will expand to include simplicity as data centers look for easier ways to consume technology. Vendors like EMC will respond with infrastructure management solutions that combine best-of-breed technologies into packages, and open up new possibilities where physical locations no longer matter and central control points manage diverse infrastructures.

Object storage will grow rapidly as more organizations look for more effective ways to retain and leverage unstructured data. The ability to scale object storage systems will be important to object use in the enterprise. Similarly, support for open cloud-based interfaces will be critical to developers creating applications with objects.

Intelligence in software, cross-domain infrastructure management packages, and the greater acceptance of Web-based technologies like object storage and REST APIs will make hybrid cloud models a reality for many organizations in 2013.

Scott Yara
Senior Vice President, Products, Greenplum

Big Data investments are through the roof. Data from Thomson Reuters indicates that in 2011 venture capitalists invested $2.47 billion in Big Data-related startups, an increase over the $1.53 billion in 2010 and 2009’s $1.1 billion. This does not include the money spent on companies that have been acquired by larger companies, including Greenplum. The goal of these startups is to lower the barrier of entry for companies so that they can take advantage of Big Data, a goal all of us are working to achieve.

Big Data is on virtually everyone’s short list. The combined effects of social and mobile technologies, the constant need for driving improved competitive advantage and the pervasiveness of analytics software and services will change the way vendors and end users consume information. The base technology is here. The emergence of the Hadoop data ecosystem has made cost-effective storage and processing of petabytes of data a reality.  Innovative organizations are leveraging these technologies to create an entire new class of real-time data-driven applications. As this trend continues we will witness a new set of innovators that develop solutions to problems that we could not imagine solving a decade ago.

But we all can’t win.

The Big Data start-up world of 2013 will see significant fallout for companies who are providing just point tools and not integrated solutions to the market.

Though they may provide value for some, the maturation of the market will make the best players bigger and better, and the remaining players will hold a Big Data yard sale of their wares.

About the Author: Rachel Borman