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SoftIron 2021 Predictions: Edge, Security and Open Source Pave the Way Forward

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

Edge, Security and Open Source Pave the Way Forward

By Andrew Moloney, VP of Strategy, SoftIron

The year 2021 has arrived, and the IT industry is facing a lot of the same challenges that it has always met, but at scales that add new dimensions to these challenges. The ever-exponential growth of data, with new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, is creating a relentless drive for more Edge computing - as well as the need to secure that data wherever it lands, not to mention ways to gain control and secure data center operations.

Below is a look at some of the key drivers and trends that SoftIron sees for 2021.

More Data-Generating Devices, In More Places

The era of automation is emerging, bringing with it a rise in data generation, storage and use in places where it previously didn't exist. The increased prevalence of data generating and data capitalizing devices in "untraditional" environments will drive focus on edge-to-core (and back again) data orchestration. Whether it's industry, with machines and sensors generating data on factory floors, or the desire to create richer user experiences through the interaction of 5G enabled devices, enterprises will need to decide how they will support their data's operational needs. For some, this data will land in the cloud. For others, hybrid or fully on-prem "edge" data centers will be used to handle the data flow. This next year will be an inflection point for IT managers to examine their data's growth and its practical long-term maintenance (and all the implications that this entails).

COVID Is Pushing Us To The Edge

While this statement is probably true psychologically for most, it is certainly true for what it is doing for the modern computing paradigm. Edge computing was already gaining momentum before 2020; the pandemic has accelerated this trend by changing where the data is created and used, further pushing it to the edge. With fewer workers on the data center floor, there is a greater emphasis and reliance on regional data infrastructure coupled with the need for greater simplicity and resilience (as fewer skilled operatives are close by). SoftIron sees 2021 as a banner year for Edge computing's growth as organizations wrestle with the pandemic's fall-out effects.

Enterprise-Class Open Source For All

Given the factors stated above, with organizations examining their long term infrastructure (and related security) needs, SoftIron believes that we'll see an increasing appetite for (and broad scale adoption of) enterprise-class open source infrastructure standards. We see that IT architects faced with issues around data growth, vendor lock-in, supply chain security, and long-term scaling are already considering how open source solutions can give them a handle on all of these issues. Ultimately, this will become an issue of empowerment, as organizations increasingly deploy open source solutions to shift the buying power and control back into their own favor. SoftIron believes that an increasing number of organizations will be looking for partners who can simplify deployment while fortifying resiliency - and thus help them tip the locus of control back into their favor as they prepare for their scale-out future.

Sovereign Resilience with Homegrown Hardware (and Software)

Security concerns were a continuing big topic of conversation in 2020, with ransomware attacks taking center stage for much of the year. The year ended with the SolarWinds software supply chain attack, starting 2021 off with a shift in focus of conversation to the opaque nature of IT supply chains (and the consequent dangers).

A trend that really started in 2019 and gathered pace in 2020, SoftIron anticipates that organizations and countries will continue to look for more ways to decrease their reliance on foreign nations for critical infrastructure. We expect to see more national policy shifts towards supporting more independent IT supply chains, such as those that have already begun in Australia and India, and which were introduced in the US early in the Biden presidency, bringing new domestic manufacturing opportunities.

With strong, accessible incentives in place to decentralize global research and manufacturing facilities, we'll start to see an influx of nationally and regionally-oriented technology businesses, supported by their governments, competing with multinational corporations.

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About the Author

Andrew Moloney 

Andrew Moloney is the VP of Strategy for SoftIron, helping to reinvent the software-defined scale-out data center. Follow him on Twitter at @AJMoloney.

Published Tuesday, February 02, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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