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Nasuni 2021 Predictions: Preparing for the pent-up data and economic explosion

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

2021: Preparing for the pent-up data and economic explosion

By Russ Kennedy, CPO, Nasuni

Once the global, once-in-a-century (we hope) COVID-19 pandemic finally recedes in 2021, I expect to see an enormous boom in economic growth. Everything has slowed to a grind this year and there's a lot of pent up demand for things people didn't get to do, both personally and in business.

Remember, the Roaring Twenties weren't just a reaction to the end of World War I - it was also a response to the end of the 1918 influenza pandemic. As such, technologists and IT professionals should be planning now for the inevitable data growth explosion when the world opens back up again. The companies and organizations that use this time now to get themselves ready will be the ones able to benefit most from it.

A related challenge for business and technology leaders in 2021 will be managing data growth once the economic boom begins. Primarily, I expect most organizations to respond by accelerating their transition from on-premises infrastructure to cloud or hybrid-cloud. After all, deploying, managing and maintaining on-premises physical facilities and resources is not nearly as efficient or nimble as managing cloud resources, which provide ubiquitous access and essentially unlimited scale.

Performance, of course, may be an issue for some, especially for latency-sensitive applications that reside in a cloud facility far away. This will drive further adoption of hybrid cloud, in which data is housed in the cloud and cached at the edge close to the end-user to reduce latency to an acceptable level. Of course, there will always be applications and infrastructure that must remain on-premises, but I'd not be surprised to see most organizations approach having 50% of their apps and infrastructure in cloud or hybrid cloud, and some may surpass 75%.

A new world of work

Multiple studies, such as this one from PwC, indicate that many employees will still work from home at least some of the time even once the pandemic has passed. This bodes well for technologies that enable people and teams to collaborate remotely.

It will also change hiring, even in IT. After all, so long as the tools are available - and for the most part, they are - IT pros can work from anywhere in the world, especially if they're primarily managing cloud resources. This means that organizations of all sorts will increasingly be made up of a more distributed and dispersed workforce, not only because employees may relocate, but also because hiring managers will no longer be restricted to people who live within commuting distance of the office.

That said, this new world of work is a double-edged sword, because now companies located halfway across the country can hire your best people away without having to relocate them. Companies in Kansas who have great technologists can no longer rest easy knowing that there's not much competition for their people's skills nearby. A recruiter in San Francisco can now snap up your people without the city's high cost of living and a big move acting as a deterrent. 

2021 will also be a year of reckoning, where IT and business leaders spend a great deal of time and energy looking back at the lessons we learned from a technology disaster that none of us had any experience confronting: the equipment and applications were all working fine, but due to public health measures, people were unable to access it.

In the end, the new capabilities and processes that we adopt going forward as a result of a challenging year will serve us well. Organizations will adopt a more flexible, efficient, cloud-based infrastructure with employees who can -- and perhaps already do -- work effectively from home. When the next big obstacle arises, there will be no excuse for not being prepared.


About the Author

Russ Kennedy 

Russ Kennedy is chief product officer at Nasuni, which provides a file services platform built for the cloud. Before Nasuni, Kennedy directed product strategy at Cleversafe through its $1.3 billion acquisition by IBM.  Earlier in his career, Russ served in a variety of product management and development roles, most notably at StorageTek (acquired by Sun Microsystems), where he brought several industry-leading products to market.

An avid cyclist and hiker, Kennedy resides in Boulder, Colorado with his family. He has a BS degree in Computer Science from Colorado State University and an MBA degree from the University of Colorado.

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2021 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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