Recently, SimpliVity VP of Product Strategy Jesse St Laurent wrote about his prediction on how IT roles would change in 2016. That’s not in a way that means fewer IT roles, but instead that roles will become broader and more strategic as organizations transition away from legacy infrastructure and toward hyperconvergence and the cloud.
This led me to wonder, what do some of the top independent minds in the industry believe 2016 has in store for us all? Do they agree with Jesse? I asked a few of them to discuss their predictions for the next year:
- Erik Ableson, a France-based IT generalist and owner/consultant at Infrageeks
- Scott David Lowe, a US-based cofounder of ActualTech Media and man-of-many-articles
- Trevor Pott, a Canada-based co-founder of eGeek consulting and contributor to The Register
They started a great conversation that covered a lot of ground, but brought up two main themes.
- The new waves of scale-out, hybrid, and all-flash storage will hit their strides
As customers look to move off of spinning-disk-only arrays, they are naturally looking for higher levels of performance, but they also want to reduce floor space and minimize nerd-knob fiddling.
“All-flash array has its place, with customers coming off the last generation of big iron who are resistant to architectural change and just want the damn thing to work,” Erik said. And Scott agreed: “All-flash is starting to become a reasonable reality.”
However, all-flash arrays don’t seem to have hit the critical inflection point of price, so the group thinks hybrid arrays will continue to expand faster than all-flash arrays at the expense of all-spinning-disk arrays.
On the other hand, it seemed to the group that those who are open to architectural change would likely begin to embrace scale-out storage. For Erik, “2016 will be the year that scale-out storage systems start really showing up in the enterprise through hyperconverged systems and standalone clusters.”
“Scale-out is something that people are starting to ‘get’ in that it enables far easier maintenance, far less availability risk, and far easier expansion,” Scott said. “In this sense, both hyperconverged infrastructure and scale-out storage arrays are well-poised moving into 2016.”
- IT needs simplification and the elimination of infrastructure overhead
Summed up best by Scott: “Simplicity — or at least less complexity — is increasingly desirable.”
The IT industry has been discussing complexity and the need for simplification for a long time, but there are three movements poised to truly make things better: cloud, hyperconvergence, and the automation of infrastructure.
“The more I talk to people in the field, the more I’m convinced that we’re very rapidly headed toward a hybrid cloud model,” Scott said. Hybrid seems to be the likely end game due to the many challenges with the cloud, particularly security, connectivity, and cost. These challenges will likely result in a number of workloads needing to remain on-premises. In a hybrid world, where both on-premises infrastructure and cloud infrastructure need to co-exist, Trevor sees one big opportunity: the rise of the managed service provider cloud.
“I see the ease of use of appliances as well as their diminishing cost and expanding feature set driving adoption by VARs and MSPs who are struggling for relevance in a changing world,” he said. “In order to retain their customer base, they will be tying their customers’ backups, disaster recovery, and anything else they can to their own clouds.”
This pressure to blend the models of VARs and MSPs will cause a lot of disruption within the partner community. Technologies poised to make hybrid cloud easy to implement and manage will clearly rise to the top. So, what about the on-premises part of the hybrid cloud model?
“Ultimately, the success of IT infrastructure will be driven by two things,” Trevor said. First, that “’who provides X’ doesn’t matter, only ‘what API is presented.’ The second thing that matters is whether they are offering up a fully vertically integrated stack.”
“IT departments under increasing pressure (both downwards, wage-wise and downwards, staff-wise) will be looking toward these ‘data center in a can’ solutions as a sort of salvation,” he said. “These vertical stacks will take a lot of pressure off of IT to learn the ins and outs of an increasingly complex group of emerging technologies. Technology is changing on so many fronts, so fast that they just don’t have time to play LEGO with individual bits any more.”
Scott thinks this will lead to “2016 as a breakout year for hyperconverged infrastructure.” Trevor agreed, stating that “the education portion will be completed by mid-2016 and we will be moving toward the product definition and competitor differentiation stages of the market lifecycle.”
Moving to a simpler building block approach to on-premises infrastructure “allows these beleaguered IT departments to focus on APIs, automation, and applications,” Trevor said. “This lets them advance the state of IT within their organization, delivering on the value they keep saying they will deliver on, thus justifying their jobs and switching from departments that fight fires to departments that automate business processes so fires don’t occur in the first place.”
What does this mean for hyperconvergence vendors?
Clearly this small panel of industry experts sees the current state of IT infrastructure as too monolithic and not nimble enough to meet the current and future needs of business. The use case for hyperconvergence is no longer limited to individual projects like VDI, but should be considered strategically in order to maximize the value automation and hybrid cloud can introduce to the entire organization.
By optimizing and accelerating the data for maximum efficiency and integrating all IT functions below the hypervisor, SimpliVity is able to deliver just this. Focusing on core data center functionality from the beginning, extending functionality and integration with the cloud, and automating via orchestration platforms and APIs, SimpliVity has positioned our hyperconverged infrastructure to fully deliver on these trends today. With this momentum, and even more exciting items on the roadmap, we expect 2016 to be another amazing year for both SimpliVity and our customers!
The first news from SimpliVity for 2016 was posted earlier this month: SimpliVity joins the Microsoft Cloud Alliance.