1. Efficiency will be key to data growth challenges
“The UK is seeing a lot of investment in new data centres from the likes of IBM and AWS and this is shedding new light on the role large facilities play in this modern digital world. As we move into 2017, I expect to see increasing scrutiny of data centre efficiency, especially as 2016 is set to have the highest temperatures on record according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
“Data centres are energy intensive; they are estimated to use approximately two per cent of the electricity supply in the UK. As the demand for space continues to increase, due to massive rates of data growth, it is essential that energy usage doesn’t rise too drastically, so resourcing responsibly and ensuring efficiency is key. Historically data centres have focused on becoming more green though altering cooling systems in legacy facilities, which represent 30 – 60% of their non-IT (server equipment) energy usage. Improvements in cooling combined with other smaller technology advancements such as ‘eco-mode’ UPS systems and energy-efficient lighting are vital changes that data centre operators should take advantage of. Data centres have a very long life span, and power consumption is constant, so even small changes and improvements can have a significant impact on efficiency and sustainability.”
– Campbell Williams, group strategy and marketing director, Six Degrees Group
2. Protection against outages will be a top priority
“2016 saw countless outages – broadband, web hosting and data centres all fell victim – and in each case there was ample evidence of how powerless organisations can be during the recovery process. Unfortunately, not much has changed and 2017 is sure to see it’s fair share of headlines featuring leading service providers.
“DDoS attacks will continue to plague ISPs, hosts, data centres and ultimately their customers, but a good result for 2017 would involve these ‘front line’ organisations mitigating the impact of large-scale attacks. But businesses should also be proactive. With each service outage that hits the newsstands, organisations should evaluate their readiness to meet a similar situation. Protection against outages and service failures should constantly be top of mind when discussing long-term IT strategy and service providers should lead the way in helping clients achieve this goal.”
– Jon Lucas, director, Hyve Managed Hosting
3. Disaster recovery solutions will expand further into the backup space
“Our prediction for 2017 is that backup and disaster recovery (DR) will consolidate. Customers will be able to get long term archiving out of their DR solutions, which may render some backup solutions redundant.
“Many DR solutions, for example, have backup like features, including point in time recovery, which can even be more granular than traditional backup options, recovering from seconds – not hours – ago. If you can recover data from seconds before an attack, for up to 30 days, why would you defer to a 12-hour old backup? Or in worse cases an even older one? Threats are on the increase, whether malicious, accidental or courtesy of Mother Nature, and data protection is an absolute must for business continuity. In 2017, with SLAs increasing, we predict that DR solutions will keep expanding their capabilities further and further into the backup space.”
– Paul Zeiter, president, Zerto
4. Hybrid cloud storage will accelerate
“Businesses are looking to make the most of cloud storage, yet due to a series of reasons including compliance and regulation, not all data can be sent to the cloud.”
Research conducted by ActualTech Media across 400 UK and USA organisations revealed that hybrid cloud adoption is set to double in 2017. In addition, 60% of respondents highlighted that they have data that cannot be migrated to the cloud.
“This challenge is driving the adoption of hybrid cloud storage, especially among those with a high compatibility between on and off-premises storage technologies.”
– Neil Stobart, global technical director, Cloudian
5. Graphic processing units (GPUs) will become more mainstream
“Windows 10 will become a more prominent platform in the enterprise space in 2017. As it is not easy to migrate a line of business applications from Windows to another platform, for the foreseeable future the enterprise will require Windows 10. Additionally, the user experience for Windows 10 will increase dramatically in 2017 due to heavier utilisation of graphic processing units (GPUs) by the OS and supporting applications.
“Historically, virtual workspaces didn’t require GPUs since most workloads were CPU heavy and only a small set of use cases needed dedicated graphics hardware. However, in 2017 with even core business applications like Office 2016/365 leveraging the GPU as well as usage even by Windows 10, GPUs will shift towards being a mainstream requirement.”
– Patrick Brennan, senior product marketing manager, Atlantis Computing
6. Rise of the machines
“Intelligent systems (machines with decision making and learning capabilities) are going to rise to the forefront in 2017. They are already seen as a market differentiator, but in an increasingly globalised and connected world where businesses have vast and complex networks they will become even more important. As a company, having an intelligent system on board can help to manage and marshal complicated virtual infrastructures. “
According to a study by Ipswitch, a third of IT professionals think Intelligent Systems are critical to their business’ success and 88% of IT professionals have already invested in one or more intelligent system to help them get to grips with increasingly difficult-to-manage corporate networks.
“Ironically, introducing intelligent systems into a corporate network poses its own complexities. The fast-paced adoption of intelligent systems means that many IT professionals – almost three quarters – feel unprepared and unknowledgeable about the potential threats and challenges that come with having one on their network. And the reach and popularity of intelligent systems doesn’t stop at corporate sanctioned systems – unsanctioned artificial intelligence technology is hastily creeping into corporate networks.
“78% of IT professionals are worried about the effect that both legitimate and unsanctioned intelligent systems will have on their network, on other industries and their customer bases. With 2017 seeing the ‘rise of machines’, it is likely that these issues will also be exasperated in the New Year.”
– Michael Hack, Ipswitch’s SVP of EMEA Operations