The beginning of a new year always brings an exuberant flurry of predictions from industry pundits, marketing folks, bloggers and others. While certainly many of these predictions have merit, in the 15-plus years since Array was founded we’ve all seen our share of industry fads, hype and vaporware, as well as entire classes of technology that were rendered obsolete by later developments. Remember personal digital assistants (PDAs), anyone? Netbooks? NetScape?
Some of this year’s crop of industry predictions might be a little ‘out there.’ (For one of the more amusing – and thought-provoking – round-ups, see Ericka Chickowski’s excellent slideshow on Dark Reading, “Boldest Cybersecurity Predictions for 2016.”) Some are fairly predictable; most have at least a grain of truth.
At Array, we see a number of trends that have developed over the past few years that we believe will gain even more traction and adoption in the coming year, and therefore bear closer scrutiny:
Hybrid Cloud: A number of industry surveys and predictions are pointing to hybrid cloud as a hot trend for IT managers, and it makes a lot of sense. CapEx budgets are always under tight control for IT departments, but demand for applications and data continues to grow unabated. These two opposing forces can both be accommodated by moving certain network assets to the cloud; the strategy can reduce CapEx while providing the agility that businesses need to grow and thrive.
Multi-Tenant, Multi-Function Application Delivery: As a ripple effect of the enterprise move to hybrid cloud, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers will begin to revisit their application delivery strategies. Currently, many offer load balancing services via virtual application delivery controllers. This option offers a great deal of agility and operational agility; however, it can come at the cost of performance and cost efficiency. Multi-tenant, multi-function virtualized appliances, like Array’s AVX Series, can be an alternative that provides the agility of cloud and virtualization with the performance and cost efficiency of dedicated appliances. The AVX Series, for example, can support up to 32 entry-level instances per system, and instances can be either application delivery controllers or SSL VPN. The latter allows network or customer administrators to securely access management interfaces or other network/application resources from anywhere, at any time.
Security Continues to be a Major Concern: Network security always seems to make it into industry predictions, and with good reason. This past year brought several high-profile consumer data breaches, and nation-states are increasingly targeting government and enterprise assets (see this article on a possible Russian attack on the Ukrainian power grid a few weeks ago). In addition, terrorist organizations may have begun what’s dubbed a ‘cyberjihad.’ Network administrators must remain ever vigilant and continue to investigate technologies such as SSL VPN and Web application firewalls to create a layered, multi-level security strategy.
Value Begins to Matter More than Brand. We may have begun to see a slowdown in growth in the industry’s largest players, who offer premium-priced products that oftentimes far exceed the actual requirements of the enterprise. Like Goldilocks, IT managers are beginning to take a closer look at products like Array’s that hit the sweet spot – powerful yet simple to use, and scalable yet cost effective.
Management Integration also Matters More. Another key area this year for IT organizations is very likely to be management integration. Most IT teams have invested heavily in virtualized servers and centralized management, so it makes sense to expand management beyond servers and storage to the ‘nuts and bolts’ technologies that optimize and streamline data and application performance (like ADCs). The overall theme is a push toward greater agility, lower CapEx, and reduced OpEx. Array has worked hard in the last year to offer a broad range of management integrations, including VMware vRealize Orchestrator, Microsoft SCCM, and OpenStack Neutron LBaaS. We also support homegrown cloud management through extensible APIs.
These are the trends we’ll be watching in 2016. Join the conversation – tell us your predictions or trends by filling out the comment form below.