Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017
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Executive Viewpoint 2017 Prediction: Virtual Instruments – Four Data Center Predictions

There are a few things you can count on during this time of year—holiday music overload, the new “must-have” toy on every kid’s holiday list, and New Year’s resolutions where everyone finally promises to take their health seriously. And, of course, everyone willhave their fearless predictions for what to expect in 2017.

Given our unique perspective on how enterprise IT leaders around the globe are solving their most complex workload performance and availability challenges—we’re no different.

With the technology landscape changing so rapidly, it helps to consider which topics might become trends, and which might go mainstream. One of last year’s biggest predictions was the proliferation of all-flash arrays in the data center. Now trends suggest that all-flash arrays well on their way to becoming a standard. So what is the Flash discussion for 2017? Based on what our customers have been asking for, and what we’re seeing in the market, here are four predictions for 2017.

1. Hyperconvergence Becomes Viable in the Modern Hybrid Data Center

This is the year that hyperconvergence goes mainstream. Because of its scalability, manageability and ease of use, hyperconvergence will see highly increased adoption.

However, hyperconvergence still lacks performance visibility. Add in public and hybrid data centers, and IT will be dealing with more complexity than at perhaps any other time in memory. Having visibility into the environment as a whole is critical.

This will lead to an increased need for unified performance monitoring across technologies, including the integrated compute, storage networking and virtualization of converged and hyperconverged environments. Therefore, end-to-end performance monitoring of heterogeneous environments – as opposed to point solutions – will become a primary focus.

2. Cross-silo Collaboration Increases as IT Models and Processes Evolve to Keep Pace with Technology

As companies implement new infrastructure models, like hyperconvergence and software-defined, IT will have to adapt and transform drastically into “agile IT.” Pressure will increase for agile IT to continually improve performance, cut costs and remain innovative while minimizing risk—without disrupting the business.

Just as hyperconvergence integrates the technology side, agile IT teams will converge across all IT functions, as the technology gives them no choice but to collaborate more quickly and merge views. What does this look like? One way to look at it is that IT teams will transform to become more like managed service departments. This requires a huge industry-wide shift toward services-based approaches. In terms of bimodal IT, greater emphasis will be placed on enabling the agile organization, with a focus on time-to-market, rapid application evolution and tighter business unit alignment.

3. Performance Monitoring Becomes Application-centric and Collaborative

Whether you’re talking about flash storage, the cloud, converged, software-defined, software-centric or something else, one thing is clear: companies need real-time visibility into every technology they deploy, and they need a unified view of these data and insights. After all, workloads will forever be organically complex, unpredictable and transient regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

So, in 2017 and beyond, performance monitoring has to move beyond domain-specific reporting. It has to be as fluid as the applications and networks it is analyzing. This requires not only technology change, but a change in thinking. Customer-vendor conversations will start moving away from vendors prescribing a solution to customers who sit and listen, toward more collaboration where the vendor and customer customize a solution together.

4. DevOps for the Win

With all we’ve talked about in the first three predictions, it’s clear that technology and culture will change significantly in 2017. This re-alignment and collaboration will largely be fueled by big data analytics for the data center. So the question is, how can insight into performance data address the cultural shift to bring development, QA and IT operations teams together?

This question and others present a significant opportunity for DevOps to take off. DevOps focuses on improving and enabling accelerated collaboration between development, QA and IT operations teams to deliver reliably excellent end-user experiences. With so many different technologies in each data center, and so much data becoming available, the only way companies are going to be able to use it to their most competitive advantage is by enabling fast, confident collaboration across teams. This is at the heart of what DevOps is, and we expect this methodology to really take hold in 2017.

Virtual Instruments