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The trends and themes set to shape the infrastructure space in 2020

The trends and themes set to shape the infrastructure space in 2020

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We hear from several industry experts who offer their insight into some of these trends to help IT and data centre leaders prioritise for the year ahead

With 2019 now behind us, it’s time to focus on the key trends and themes which are set to be front of mind for data centre and infrastructure teams in the new year. We hear from several industry experts who offer their insight into some of these trends to help IT and data centre leaders prioritise for the year ahead.

Gartner has detailed trends that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders should start preparing for to support digital infrastructure in 2020.

Trends include considering an automation strategy, a review of Disaster Recovery plans with a hybrid infrastructure model in mind, as well as the impact of IoT and a need to investigate the concept of HDIM, which looks to address the primary management issues of a hybrid infrastructure.

Ross Winser, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said: “This past year, infrastructure trends focused on how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) or Edge Computing might support rapidly growing infrastructure and support business needs at the same time.

“While those demands are still present, our 2020 list of trends reflect their ‘cascade effects,’ many of which are not immediately visible today.”

Winser encouraged I&O leaders to take a step back from ‘the pressure of keeping the lights on’ and prepare for 10 key technologies and trends likely to significantly impact their support of digital infrastructure in 2020 and beyond. 

The full list is available at

Meanwhile, other industry experts have provided their views on the trends for the year ahead…

The role of AI

Phil White, CTO at Scale Computing

Most Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology today relies on the cloud and makes decisions based on the collection of data that is stored in the cloud it is accessing. However, this can cause latency as data has to travel to data centres and then back to the device. For example, this can be problematic for self-driving cars, which cannot wait for the roundtrip of data to know when to brake, or how fast to travel.

As a result of this, more organisations are turning to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and Edge Computing to capture data at the source of creation, specifically to support high-performance use cases, such as AI. The implementation of HCI and Edge Computing in AI will see the industry reduced form factors, since HCI allows for technology to operate within a smaller hardware design. In fact, some companies have already announced that they will be launching HCI Edge compute clusters that are no bigger than a cup of coffee.

By 2020, it is expected that 80% of all devices will have an Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature. While the cloud has provided AI with the platform it needed to grow to the level of being available on nearly every technological device, the combination of HCI and Edge Computing will give AI the tools needed to evolve to the next frontier, with smarter and faster decision making for organisations in 2020.

The colocation industry

Eltjo Hofstee, Managing Director at Leaseweb UK

The colocation industry will continue to grow, particularly in the enterprise space as more organisations migrate IT infrastructures to the cloud. IT start-ups and scale-ups nowadays start in the cloud from day one but are also pushing the colocation market. This expansion is being driven to a large extent by cloud service providers, who still require a space to host their systems – after all, even virtual servers need a home.

Businesses that subscribe to cloud and hosting services involving a colocation environment are inadvertently using colocation more, even if they might not be aware of it. We see this as a key contributing factor to the overall development of the global colocation market, particularly in the short and medium term.

Smart technologies

Jeff Manning, EVP Worldwide Sales at Cybera

The term ‘uberisation’ has become a popular way to describe how a business utilises the Uber business model to disrupt or transform their market. As 2019 comes to a close the Uber genie is now well and truly out of the bottle and in 2020 we’re only going to see more and more examples of businesses transforming in this way. Take retail as an example. This sector has been transforming itself for years – from bricks and mortar, to online, to omni-channel. And we’ll continue to see investment here. Hospitality is another example. It is following closely on retail’s footsteps utilising smart technologies to deliver the optimal digital customer journey.

The most successful businesses will harness these smart technologies in four key areas: closer and stronger customer engagement; an expansion of payment options; optimising their supply chain and logistics strategies; and optimising business processes through technologies like IoT.

Data security

Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting

Many of the predictions about the technology industry in 2020 are likely to be about the one thing on every CIO’s lips: cybersecurity. Recent research found that, in 2018, 70% of cybersecurity professionals said the cybersecurity skills shortage had impacted their organisation and the fact is that this cybersecurity skills gap is set to get even wider. This will mean the latest ease-of-management technology solutions become a necessity rather than a luxury and the growing skills shortage will cause a boom in businesses choosing to outsource their IT security requirements.

With the newest technological advancements still in their infancy, but growing exponentially, things like IoT and 5G will bring about positive change. But, they also bring with them complex new cyberthreats, as the mammoth surge of data volume and the new ways to create and connect this data will make implementing effective cyberdefences from every angle a much bigger task.

Cybersecurity will become top of the board agenda across all industries and businesses should expect to increase cybersecurity spend and look to deploy specific training in order to rise to the challenge and keep ever-valuable data protected from new threats and growingly sophisticated cybercriminals.

Ed Macosky, SVP of Product and Solutions, Boomi, a Dell Technologies business

Businesses to wise up in 2020 and stop jumping on the latest tech train without evaluating ROIs

For the past few years, companies have scrambled to follow the latest tech trends, forgoing ROI assessments in frantic attempts to modernise. US$1.3 trillion was spent on Digital Transformation last year, but it’s estimated 70% of those investments went to waste. Moving every application and dataset into the cloud or applying serverless computing to every workload isn’t always the best move – and I anticipate we’ll see businesses finally applying lessons learned from their over eagerness in 2020.

It’s not fiscally responsible to incorporate every last tech trend; none of them are magic bullets to Digital Transformation. Businesses are going to have to be more strategic, customising their plans to their business objectives and culture, and placing emphasis on accelerated time to value over long-term, moonshot ideas.

Digital Transformation strategies for the cloud will pull an about-face to hybrid IT environment

Companies that rushed to move all their business processes to the cloud are now finding it more expensive or cumbersome than anticipated. Over the next year, we’re going to see many businesses return to the hybrid model. Despite cloud computing’s recent leaps and bounds, it still can’t do everything on-prem can, creating breakpoints across environments.

Steve Wood, Chief Product Officer, Boomi, a Dell Technologies business

Is iPaaS a thing of the past? The future of data integration in 2020 and beyond

The term iPaaS (integration platform as a service) first came around when we announced AtomSphere in 2008. Now, as we enter 2020, I believe we’ll see a shift in this area as the market consolidates and continues to commoditise – Gartner predicts that by 2023, up to two-thirds of existing iPaaS vendors will merge, be acquired or exit the market. Within the next year, I believe there will be a new category/term used to define the unification of applications, people, processes, systems and devices: data unification platform.

How organisations are dealing with their data isn’t going to cut it in 2020 companies need an integration strategy

Global data regulations, combined with data silos will have organisations scrambling to rethink their data management strategies in 2020 and look toward data integration – or risk getting left behind. Savvy businesses are now turning toward this to glean more accurate and robust insights, streamline operations and improve business outcomes. This new strategy reduces the time and resources required to constantly reroute data to one place. As companies put dollars and resources behind Edge Computing and IoT next year as well, updating their data strategy is critical so they don’t risk losing out on the benefits of next-gen technologies or fall behind competitors.

Companies will rely more on metadata than data to provide insights

Overzealous data analyses have brought many companies face to face with privacy lawsuits from consumers and governments alike, which in turn has led to even stricter data governance laws. Understandably concerned about making similar mistakes, businesses will begin turning to metadata for insights in 2020, rather than analysing actual data.

By harvesting data’s attributes – including its movement, volume, naming conventions and other properties – companies will give indications of concerns around accessing PII and other sensitive information.

Metadata lends itself well to data privacy and with the correct Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence modelling, can still provide critical information to the C-suite such as lead generation changes, third-party data access, potential breaches and more.

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