IT priorities and opportunities in 2018

Many major events will fall this year – from another Royal Wedding to the EU GDPR compliance deadline. Yet 2018 is also set to be a year of significant trends and opportunities for business technology.

Whether it’s the ongoing move to hybrid cloud, the continued growth of the container infrastructure ecosystem or increasing reliance on software-defined storage, the industry will see some significant open source developments. So what should IT teams be looking out for to make the most of these growing opportunities?

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Hardware in the limelight

Over the last few years, industry focus has increasingly shifted to software. However, this year hardware will re-emerge as a key competitive differentiator.

Open hardware has had a big impact on the industry already. It has opened up compute power for traditional high performance computing (HPC) use cases as well as the ability to power some key emerging technologies, from machine learning to quantum computing and deep learning. For instance, specialised processing units are already implemented to optimise specific types of computations. With the quantum computing market predicted to be worth almost $500 million in just five years, it is clear that hardware will become increasingly significant for businesses.

Containerised applications

Developments this year are also likely to both impact the future of Kubernetes and shape the evolution of the container ecosystem at large, on top of the orchestration layer, to offer greater value to developers.

Open source orchestration engine Kubernetes arrived on the scene in 2015, offering a way to easily automate deployment, scale and manage containerised applications. It quickly achieved container orchestration domination but there is more to come. Industry experts are predicting further rapid adoption in the coming years as businesses realise its full potential.

Moving forwards, the technology will be focusing on the wider container ecosystem. Kubernetes will need to tackle service meshing, networking, management and storage as well as security for containers. The open source platform will also need to consider the tools on top of it to abstract it further away from application development. While this has begun, it is likely that further developments will take place in 2018. With maturity and adoption quickly advancing, it’s now a question of when – not if – a consolidation of Kubernetes-based solutions and companies will take place in the market.

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Hybrid cloud matures

As hybrid cloud strategies continue to mature, we will see the public cloud continue to diversify. Consulting organisations like Wipro are now developing their own managed cloud services while a number of local cloud players, such as OVH, are gradually emerging as global players. As a result, more cloud providers are flooding the market globally.

Businesses implementing a hybrid or multi-cloud approach do not risk lock-in – a big advantage. Conversely, any companies that do all their compute and have all of their data in the same public cloud do face this possibility. Subsequently, we’ll continue to see enterprises shift to a hybrid model.

Running a hybrid cloud strategy will require IT to both enable different clouds to run side by side and ensure these can be maintained and managed for a long time. For any business, ensuring workloads and data are running and managed agnostically and dynamically on any cloud is essential. The industry will see more solutions emerging in this space – though growth in competition may push costs down. However, this pressure on price will only impact non-open source solutions.

See also: Hybrid cloud, open source lead the cloud pack

Open up to being open

Many companies will make a big push to work out how best to combine the most useful emerging technologies – from AI to the Internet of Things – this year. But beyond combining these technologies, organisations will need to find the most efficient way to integrate these with existing infrastructure. As one example, combining big data and existing analytics with machine learning can generate useful insights – but only when companies can combine and manage them effectively to make a positive impact on the business.

From an open source perspective, enterprises will need to embrace the idea of collaborating with competitors if the industry is to combine the stack successfully. There are a huge number of possible combinations today – and more possibilities arriving on the market all the time. This makes it more important than ever to be open with open source.

In 2018, the industry should focus on making the most of the open source community. This means utilising available resources and expertise rather than risking a ‘DIY’ approach. By turning to the open source community for emerging technologies – from containerisation to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – IT teams can focus on the business value this technology could create instead of ploughing time and resources into building it from scratch.

To keep up with these rapidly maturing technologies and benefit from industry developments, collaboration will be key for the enterprise. Successfully deploying these technologies to extract real business value will only be possible when IT finds a way to make them work together – and with existing infrastructure – moving forwards into 2018 and beyond.

Sourced by Thomas Di Giacomo, CTO at SUSE

Kayleigh Bateman

Kayleigh Bateman was the Editor of Information Age in 2018. She joined Vitesse Media from WeAreTheCIty where she was the Head of Digital Content and Business Development. During her time at WeAreTheCity...

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