The past year has thrown a spotlight on the importance of Availability – both of services and data. From a number of high-profile systems outages across the globe (think travel!), the public has come to understand the importance of having access to accurate information and critical services on-demand.
As we move into 2017, businesses will increasingly need to embrace customer expectations and ensure seamless delivery of services. From an IT perspective, there are four key trends that businesses will need to embrace in order to exceed the expectations of customers and partners alike:
Blurring lines between public, private and hybrid clouds: A few years ago, the thought of extending data centre infrastructure to a hyper-public cloud may have seemed a futile endeavour of connectivity, security and a mix of unknown surprises. However, now the market is ready to accept the adoption of hybrid cloud architectures from both the infrastructure and application side. It’s already happening and much greater mainstream adoption is on the horizon as enterprises look to enhance operational agility and reliability, while ensuring that data and applications are available at any time, from anywhere.
The explosion of the software-defined infrastructure. It’s no secret that the software-defined datacentre has been a huge trend in recent years – thanks in part to the popularity of virtualisation. Running applications in a virtualised environment brings many advantages for companies to help build efficiencies, provide reliability and a flexible IT infrastructure to ease management and free time and resources. As businesses evolve, expect to see more demands on vendors to provide software and services to meet the expectations of the next generation of innovators.
Stay one step ahead of hackers. Threats from hacking, as well as the proliferation of botnets, and malware (specifically ransomware) will keep IT managers up at night throughout 2017. We’ve seen enormous burdens placed on organisations looking to maintain availability during 2016, with large attacks on DNS services causing major companies and services to be unreachable during critical times. As more businesses look to provide digital services, the hackers will be nipping at their heels. More than ever before, businesses will need to place additional emphasis on end-to-end data security, backup and recovery to ensure their services remain available for partners and customers.
More data, more possibilities: The datacentre of today, and definitely of tomorrow, will increasingly hold more data – both historical and mission-critical. Whether it be an influx of inputs from the Internet of Things, more complex business systems, or growing amounts of existing data sets, the conclusion is obvious: the data deluge will continue. On the positive side, this will bring benefits to businesses looking to leverage advanced analytics to hone their existing operations and provide new services to customers.
As the calendar ticks over to 2017, businesses will be able to gain more insight from the data they have collected; helping shape decisions and inform business strategies. However, these analytic capabilities will only bear fruit if data is both available and robust. For businesses relying on advanced analytics to drive operations, any downtime not only halts the ability to transact with customers and suppliers, but also stymies informed decision-making. Businesses will need to direct their attention to maintaining availability of mission-critical systems that underpin their analytics.
Specific predictions are always challenging, but the technology landscape today provides endless possibilities for organisations to provide great services based on the datacentre and the information a datacentre both houses and delivers. The expectation is that data is available on-demand. Gone are the days where downtime is considered a “normal” part of doing business
In 2017, the datacentre will take centre stage and will serve as a critical piece of infrastructure to both store information and provide services to customers, employees and partners alike. Having a plan to ensure availability will be vital to maintaining business operations to meet – and exceed – expectations.
Gregg Petersen is an IT industry veteran with over 17 years of experience. As regional director, MEA and SAARC at Veeam, he has been instrumental in creating brand awareness, growing the company’s regional market share and driving profitable revenues.