People 'n' Issues

Next big things for big business in 2018

December 21st, 2017
We are constantly seeing rapid changes in the IT industry but what does next year hold in store for us? THOMAS DI GIACOMO, CTO at SUSE outlines a few developments bound to make headlines.
2018

There are some big things set to come in 2018. In fact, we are seeing numerous significant developments in the world of enterprise IT. These include the emergence of the container infrastructure ecosystem, a continued move to hybrid cloud and the growth in software-defined infrastructure and storage. So, what is to come over the next twelve months and how should IT teams be preparing for any incoming changes?

Maturation of hybrid cloud strategies

There’s a chance that within the coming years the public cloud landscape will diversify. Consulting organisations are developing their own managed cloud services for example, some local public cloud players are becoming more global as well, so we’re seeing more and more cloud providers emerge. Of course, going entirely public cloud poses a risk for lock-in and, as a result, organisations are looking to a hybrid approach. If you do all your compute and have all your data in the same public cloud than you are likely to be locked in, but you avoid this by looking at a hybrid/multi cloud strategy. Consequently, we will see many more organisations subscribing to a hybrid cloud approach.

Hybrid cloud is a reality that enterprise IT must face, not only enabling different clouds to run together but also to maintain and manage them for a long time. Having workloads and data running and being stored agnostically on any type of cloud is definitely key. There are more solutions emerging in this space and this growth in competition may put pressure on their price – for non-open source solutions, that is.

Container ecosystem expansion, and consolidation?

Kubernetes, an open-source orchestration engine, exploded onto the scene two years ago as a way to automate deployment, scale, and manage containerised applications. It has already won the war for container orchestration dominance, and experts predict further rapid adoption over the next few years as organisations realise its full potential.

The next step for the technology is around container eco-system at large. That’s to say security for containers, service meshing and management, networking, management, and storage is the next thing for Kubernetes and the container world to tackle. We are already starting to see all of that happening, and this is set to be a big focus for the next year. As adoption and maturity develop, one of the questions is also if we will see a consolidation of Kubernetes-based solutions and companies in the market already from next year or slightly later.

Hardware – the new software

For some time now, software has been the main topic of discussion when it comes to giving organisations a competitive advantage through technology. However, it’s important we don’t forget about hardware, which is now more important than ever before.

We’re seeing trends emerge such as open hardware, with compute power not only for traditional high-performance computing (HPC) use cases but also some of the new trends we are seeing around machine learning, deep learning and quantum computing, with specialised processing units being used to optimise specific types of computations. This is set to be even more important in the coming years, with the quantum computing market alone set to be worth almost $500 million by 2023.

Being open about being open

The next year will be about figuring out how to combine various emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, it’s not just about combining these together, but also learning how to integrate emerging technology with existing infrastructure. The combination of big data and existing analytics with AI is one good example of technologies that can be combined with each other to work effectively, so it’s important that we find ways to combine and manage them together.

From an open source perspective, if we’re ever going to achieve success with combining the stack, organisations need to be opening up and working with competitors for the best chance of success. The number of combinations is huge and getting even larger, so it’s more important than ever to be open.

Since the beginning of Linux 26 years ago, we’ve seen enterprise Linux expanded and fragmented with lots of solutions, then consolidated. In the coming year and beyond, it’s vital that the industry continues to make the most of the open source community and use the resources available rather than take a ‘DIY’ approach. IT leaders need to look to the open source community for growing technologies like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and containerisation, focusing on the business value of the technology itself as opposed to building anything from scratch.

In 2018, we’re set to see the maturation of various technologies, from containers and hybrid cloud to AI. Most importantly, these technologies need to be able to work collaboratively – with each other and with existing infrastructure – if we’re to see them deployed successfully and provide real business value to organisations in the coming months and years.

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