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Pivot3 2018 Predictions: The Evolution of Infrastructure Agility in 2018 and Beyond

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Bruce Milne, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Pivot3

The Evolution of Infrastructure Agility in 2018 and Beyond

Looking back on 2017, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) made some significant advancements both on the technology and business side. The industry saw IPOs, mergers and acquisitions along with new features, operating systems, and capabilities that expanded what customers could accomplish in the datacenter.

Throughout the last decade, HCI has helped reduce costs and complexity. As we enter the next generation of computing and move toward a more software-defined datacenter, the new horizon for IT is intelligence and automation. In some ways that reality is already here, with intelligence-based, self-organizing systems beginning to handle specific demands of multi-cloud workload mobility and edge computing within the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As the data from IoT grows exponentially, demands for faster storage performance and smarter infrastructure are guiding the evolution of HCI towards becoming a system of intelligence that can combine policy-based management, inference tools, and automated orchestration capabilities to accelerate workload mobility at scale, deliver lower CapEx and OpEx, optimize performance, and increase choice and control for the end user without requiring specialized skills.

In 2018, the new IT paradigm will be based on agility, delivery and intelligence models made possible by human-machine orchestration, with IT deeply embedded in the business.

Edge and Cloud

Cloud, IoT and edge computing will have a material impact on HCI across the board, especially for long-term storage. Enterprises should begin using edge design patterns in their infrastructure architectures - particularly those with significant IoT elements. A good starting point could be using colocation and edge-specific networking capabilities - features that could be differentiators for multiple HCI vendors.

It's a common assumption that Cloud and Edge are competing approaches, but that's a fundamental misunderstanding of the concepts. When implemented together, the Cloud is used to create the service-oriented model, while the Edge offers a delivery style that allows for the execution of disconnected aspects of cloud service.

There is also more value being placed on the notion of distributed - not centralized - computing, and putting remote office functionality at the edge. This is certainly true for companies that are looking to lean more heavily on IoT, or those leaning on sensors and analytics. HCI is a perfect fit for that. As IoT picks up steam in 2018, we're going to see a lot more ROBO deployments from larger enterprises.

Additionally, as we develop the intelligence and automation capabilities associated with cloud and edge approaches, customers will be able to choose what to push to the cloud and what to push to traditional infrastructure. Whether it's low priority jobs, low priority workloads, or power-hungry applications, flexibility and the economics of choice will become a factor in customer evaluations of HCI.

Intelligence-First Strategies and Embedded IT

As we approach a more programmable infrastructure - such as applying software development tools and best practices like APIs, versioning, immutability and automation to the management of IT infrastructure - new levels of agility and responsiveness will become more important and potentially disrupt how IT works within the enterprise. Yet, this comes with a caveat: more automation means reduced head count in traditional IT teams.

Intelligence and automation will underpin developments in how IT leaders choose to utilize their teams. Rather than having individuals continuously configure the datacenter, for example, CIOs will be able to reassign the same individuals as IT consultants in business units, furthering the case for "embedded IT."

CIOs and IT leaders will have to determine how they factor developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into their strategies. AI- and ML-based automation will be the key to supporting increased expectations for performance and reliability on the customer side and in the datacenter. The merging of the physical with the digital will continue to synthesize the labors of human and machine. Datacenters that do not effectively apply these advancements face the risk of not being operationally and economically viable by the end of the decade.

Looking Towards Self-Organizing Systems of Intelligence

2018 will be not only be about multi-premise, multi-cloud orchestration, but also about the orchestration of power, speed, efficiency and intelligence within the platform itself. We'll see more compute to power larger volumes of data; faster data access and timely decision making; cost optimization and effective resource management; and autonomous capabilities and programmability.

Self-organizing systems will also emerge at the edge - think self-driving cars, routing congestion, smart homes, military and genetics applications, drones, and supply chain - which will place an onus on the evolution of infrastructure agility to become its own continuously optimized system of intelligence.

In the next year and beyond, we'll not only see advances in AI, but also in the development of collective intelligence (CI) when exploring the development of integrated system architectures. As systems of intelligence become more autonomous and as cloud computing systems are designed with the goal of reducing their own complexity to select the most optimal outcomes, these inherently intelligence-based technologies will alter the competitive landscape and fundamentally change how IT drives business outcomes.

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About the Author

Bruce Milne 

Bruce Milne is a visionary technology executive who brings over 20 years of marketing and products experience to Pivot3 as Chief Marketing Officer. Over the course of his career, he has helped innovative software companies establish their vision and execute their go-to-market strategy. Prior to joining Pivot3, Bruce played an instrumental role in the success of companies such as Socialware, Hyperformix, and OpenText (formerly Vignette). An avid outdoorsman, Bruce volunteers as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, which provides him the opportunity to pursue his interests in boating, sailing and camping while giving something back to the community. 

Published Tuesday, January 02, 2018 7:51 AM by David Marshall
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