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ClearSky Data 2017 Predictions: Enterprises will learn what hybrid cloud actually means, and deploy it

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Laz Vekiarides, chief technology officer and co-founder of ClearSky Data

In 2017: Enterprises will learn what hybrid cloud actually means, and deploy it

In the enterprise technology world, 2017 will likely see profits increase and IPOs revive while the market stabilizes as a whole. Mergers and acquisitions among major players such as Dell, EMC and HP created a period of settling and unpredictability in recent years. However, as M&A activity picks up again in 2017, startups will tackle new opportunities while organizations adopt solutions that recently seemed to have no place in the enterprise, such as multicloud strategies and container technology.

In the midst of this activity, below are some trends we expect to drive enterprise priorities in 2017.

1. "Hybrid cloud" automatically means "multicloud."

It's common sense: you likely wouldn't store all of your valuables in the same safe-deposit box, and your enterprise would likely prefer to avoid giving ownership of its sensitive data to a single cloud provider. Standardizing a single vendor for something as sensitive as data assets smacks of vendor lock-in situations from on-premise technologies of the past. To manage this risk, organizations that venture into public cloud territory are looking for strategies to employ multiple cloud service providers. While Amazon is the most prominent, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM SoftLayer and others are gaining traction. While the "Clouderati" are busy turning their noses up at VMware's recent partnership with AWS focusing on multicloud support, the new AWS/vSphere service will be one of the most successful product introductions in recent history from VMware.

2. Hybrid cloud transformation is a necessity, not an option - no matter how messy it gets.

The 2016 RightScale State of the Cloud Report found that nearly 75 percent of organizations are leveraging hybrid cloud, even though their tactics, strategies and even definitions of the term can vary. This lack of clarity surrounding hybrid cloud's definition can create complications and roadblocks when it comes to deployment. However, despite any setbacks, organizations have recognized that they are going to do something in the cloud and this, by necessity, will be hybrid cloud.  Like it or not, public/private or public/public hybrid arrangements will be a critical part of tomorrow's enterprise landscape, and many are working to ensure a successful hybrid transition as a result. If you are thinking about how to approach this, consider a "data first" strategy. Securing and managing your data uniformly across its lifecycle is a necessary first step to guarantee the greatest number of options down the road.

3. Containers are staring at the trough of disillusionment.

Enterprises are increasingly investigating and using container technology in on-premise, public cloud and private cloud environments alike. The hope amongst the faithful is that the technology becomes more relevant than conventional virtualization, as it turns into a mainstream option for enterprise application deployment. Continued use will validate containers further, as will a push for enterprises to use containers to deliver enterprise-class services. Of course, increased container use will raise many infrastructure and operational questions for enterprises, as many of the requirements for running stateful applications like databases are missing from products like Docker. Expect that a lot of new technology will appear over the next year or so to fill the gaps, especially around storage, so that the momentum can continue.

4. As companies increasingly outsource infrastructure, internal team dynamics are changing.

2017 will provide a more stable environment than enterprise IT startups have seen in recent years, but changes that have been building for years will continue to gain speed. For example, in the new hybrid landscape, IT is finally embracing DevOps. Traditional IT will be a DevOps practice in the enterprise, marking a shift in the scope of job descriptions as infrastructure becomes increasingly outsourced. Although DevOps and traditional IT are diametrically opposed in so many ways, the philosophies are so different. As enterprises increase their focus on hybrid cloud and cloud migration, we are going to see a world where knowledge of DevOps practices is going to be the magic skillset that guarantees job security in the enterprise.

Meanwhile, look for data-hungry applications, especially things like IoT and machine data, to lead to data management problems for many organizations. Look out, as well, for security issues, already evident in incidents like the Dyn hack, to raise the level of paranoia across the board. Although common sense solutions are available to help organizations address these issues, such as working with dedicated networks and avoiding reliance on the internet for connectivity, there are still some bigger questions around data management in a hybrid world that will continue to swirl. In these cases, it's more critical than ever for teams to work together to achieve business goals.

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About the Author

Lazarus Vekiarides is the chief technology officer and co-founder of ClearSky Data, the global storage network that simplifies the entire data lifecycle and delivers enterprise storage as a fully managed service. Previously, Vekiarides was a member of the core leadership team at EqualLogic and an executive at Dell. He is an expert in data storage, virtualization and networking technologies.

Published Thursday, January 05, 2017 9:01 AM by David Marshall
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