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Dimension Data 2017 Predictions: Automating, networking and containing clouds - Three trends for 2017

VMblog Predictions 2017

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

Contributed by John Andrews, chief product officer, Group Services, Dimension Data

Automating, networking and containing clouds: Three trends for 2017

Cloud is a ubiquitous part of the IT infrastructure. Many companies are moving from the traditional, on-premise data center to a hybrid IT structure consisting of hosted applications and servers distributed across data centers around the world. There is no debate that cloud has brought great changes with its flexibility and scalability, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are three main areas will become more prominent in 2017:

1.      Automating cloud deployments

Automation of cloud services is on the rise, extending this process beyond the orchestration layer to cover the entire application deployment across all cloud  infrastructures. This evolution has been driven by the need to have an integration point that allows for automated deployment across multi-vendor platforms. While some companies have tried OpenStack, the preferred method looks to be an abstracted DevOps toolset that can be used in other environments, but without the headaches of creating additional, specialized API libraries. And companies cannot ignore this cloud automation trend. This type of self-service provisioning and automation is now a requirement for DevOps teams. Companies that fail to embrace self-service will find their development teams falling behind their competitors. The good news is that by widening the cloud automation deployments, it will accelerate the initial ongoing DevOps integrations, speeding application delivery and meeting business objectives more quickly.

2.      Containing clouds

Analysts and industry influencers see containers as the next evolution in the virtualization and cloud infrastructure market. Since Docker was introduced in 2013, the market has shifted to application level virtualization. Companies are slowly beginning to adopt this infrastructure, mainly to assist with accelerating DevOps and making applications more portable across hybrid cloud and on-premise infrastructures.

The combination of Docker with Kubernetes, the open source cluster manager designed by Google, is overtaking other systems in the market such as Heroku's cloud platform-as-a-service offering as it is best suited for more complex workloads. Although containers are only a small portion of current cloud and virtualization infrastructures, this technology will become more significant in the next 2-3 years. Companies should start designing their container strategy now so there is a clear plan around image management, network access, security patching, service discovery and container monitoring for a smooth deployment.

3.      Stitching together cloud networks

Picture this: Your cloud deployment has services running on-premise as well as spread out across two public cloud providers and a few cloud-hosted applications. You can run any service element in any area or infrastructure with your decision based solely on performance, availability and cost. There are no issues with the networking of hybrid domains - it's seamless.

Is this a pipe dream? It may certainly seem like one now, but there may be answer on the horizon. Network function virtualization (NFV) is an easier way of networking together hybrid IT and cloud environments. NFV is the process of moving services such as firewalls, load balancing and intrusion prevention systems, away from dedicated hardware into a virtual appliance or environment. The advantage is that NFV provides better control over IP addressing schemes, DNS and routing choices to help simplify the process of stitching the network together. Cloud can be treated an extension of the network allowing IT to work with familiar networking technologies, tools and vendors. And NFV may be very helpful in addressing future containerization networking challenges as well.

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About the Author

John Andrews is the chief product officer, Group Services for Dimension Data. With more than 25 years of experience in product management and product development, John provides direction and management on Dimension Data's systems integration services and IT outsourcing solutions.
Published Monday, January 30, 2017 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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