We’ve seen a lot of changes throughout the year, and cloud adoption has grown significantly among enterprises. The impact to IT organizations has kept the vendor ecosystem extremely busy with evaluations, consulting and POCs throughout the industry – infrastructure, management, applications and services. Check out what I’ve learned and what I’m predicting for the coming year.
1. Slow container adoption for production scenarios
Over the past year, containers have continued to experience the hype and coverage across the IT world. While Docker has pioneered the trend, many more solution providers have been entering the market with each day, but what does this mean for 2016? If you follow the news and media outlets, containers will be the new way of life for both IT and developers… but will it? When you take a closer look at the market, there has been a significantly high level of interest for development and test scenarios but very little commitment to leveraging containers for mission-critical workloads. Don’t bet on containers being the primary technology for large enterprises for at least a couple of years as the market stabilizes with complementary solutions for security, management and monitoring solutions that are easier to implement. We’re getting there, but there is still room go over the next 12 months.
2. DevOps practices adopted in IT
Trying to anticipate the DevOps trend is a very interesting dynamic when you consider that this is much more of a process and philosophy, more so than a job-title or business group within an organization. Just like containers, this is an industry term that receives mixed emotions depending on any given customer’s’ business model and organizational structure.
For organizations delivering modern applications and services to external customers, product and application teams often drive core decisions. So what role does IT play in this process? Not very much beyond providing environments during test/dev cycles. For 2016, don’t expect standalone DevOps teams to be as widely adopted as others may predict. When this happens, we’re seeing 3 isolated teams versus two (IT, Dev and DevOps) which introduces confusion and slows the process for innovation. As this movement gains traction, organizational philosophies are shifting which is beyond any technology commitments. We see formal “DevOps” teams being absorbed into IT and Dev respectively, as traditional IT and Dev organizations are adopting the collaborative philosophies fostered by the DevOps culture.
3. Support offerings and professional services will be king
As environments and applications shift to an agile approach, this injects a perception of uncertainty about the stability or security of solutions being implemented. Large enterprises have always valued support, and you can definitely expect this to increase technologies are exceeding the expertise of on-staff IT professionals. The conflicting message comes from the concept that flexibility, freedom of choice and deep heterogenous integrations are valued, yet enterprises seek a “one-throat-to-choke” support offering when there are problems. Downtime, loss of productivity, security breaches and failures simply aren’t acceptable in today’s narrow SLA models.
Thus for 2016, you can expect vendors that offer thorough support offerings to be very desirable, and at times, be perceived as more valuable than the rich feature-laden competitive solution. When you can reduce a customer’s time to value, help them onboard to your solution much faster and maintain a close relationship, this will be favorable.
4. Private cloud down. Service providers up.
With the “cloud” (and specifically public cloud) gaining significant traction each day, it’s not a surprise that customers are rethinking their on-premises private cloud investments. Since these still require high CapEx budgets, narrow in-house expertise and philosophical shifts; cloud becomes much more attract … but where will people go? Not necessarily public cloud providers like Amazon or AWS but smaller, regional service providers have a greater opportunity in 2016. The notion of shared infrastructure, lack of security and unpredictable costs (whether it be valid or invalid assumptions) wont compare to what hosters or service providers can offer customers. They often have physical resources that can engage with customers directly and provide fixed offerings that are much more predictable. Expect service providers to play a greater role in the transition to the cloud throughout 2016.
5. Tight integration with “Born-in-the-Cloud” technology vendors
As everyone is familiar with the mega technology companies that have controlled the infrastructure and platform market for quite some time, there is definitely a change on the horizon for managing services higher up the stack. Of course, core infrastructure, security and hardware providers will continue to innovate and differentiate their offerings for supporting workloads on their platform; however, cloud-first solutions for the application layer are becoming tightly integrated to compliment existing offerings. Silicon Valley is seeing new SaaS companies pop up focused on application management, deployment, configuration and infrastructure integration with service portals. Ultimately, this trend will lead to these high growth companies innovating at a faster cadence through their agile development and deployment, but over a longer period of time, the large providers will see a plethora of acquisition targets and deep partnership opportunities.