In the New: January

In the New is a personal update series from InsightaaS analyst Michael O’Neil. The below is the January edition; we’ll post February next week, and will get a bit closer to the beginning of the month after that!

What’s new?

This month’s topic is SDx: Software Defined (fill in the blank – I generally use ‘infrastructure’, but ‘networking’, ‘storage’ and ‘data centre’ are all popular, and ‘perimeter’ is becoming another prominent value for ‘x’) is very likely to be a key phrase in 2020. The infrastructure management benefits, and the impact on acquisition planning and CAPEX, are compelling – but applications and skills, to say nothing of management understanding, act as constraints on SDx progress. Expect a stream of content designed to demystify SDx and articulate go-forward paths and economic rationalizations in 2020.

That last sentence has a more cynical tone than I had intended. SDx is important, and the fact that supplier and buyer needs are aligned will result in the development of more and better insight. Stakeholders across the IT value chain, though – buy-side business executives, technical managers, consultants and channel members, and hardware and software suppliers – will need to be able to parse through a volume of material that exceeds current input needs. As always, keep an eye out for insights and assets that speak directly to business and technical requirements and which have both clear current benefits and a well-defined path to future integrations that align with key systems.

InsightaaS hosted a “Where Automation Meets SDDC” DC Foresight meetup (downtown Toronto, February 12th) to launch and discuss a new research report entitled “In-Band vs. Out-of-Band Data Centre Monitoring and Management.” If you’d like to start digging into SDx, this is an excellent starting point. The report is available at no charge – please follow this link if you’d like to request a copy.

File under ‘reminder’

Most industry watchers consider ‘cloud’ to be a settled issue – a phrase referring to an approach that has been discussed for so long that it must already have been fully deployed.

The reality is very different. Registrations for the recently-concluded semester of my 2856-Cloud Systems in Practice class were more than twice as high as for any semester in the past four years – and the learners were more senior in terms of positions and tenure than was the case in the past.

In actual corporate environments, cloud is very much a living issue: organizations are moving from exploration to integrated production, and broad-brush issues like CAPEX vs. OPEX are giving way to the more granular concerns that attend mainstream platforms: security (for an increasingly-hybrid current reality, not for ‘cloud’ as an amorphous future option), governance, integration, data management, etc.

To put it in terms that are relevant to both industry watchers and IT management, cloud is scaling the “slope of enlightenment” in some environments, and the “plateau of productivity” in others.

Another useful perspective on this disconnect between potential and impact is found in Amara’s Law: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

What else might end up reinforcing Amara’s wisdom and the reality of time in Gartner’s Hype Cycle in 2020 (and potentially, 2021 and 2022 as well)? I’m going to nominate analytics. Industry commentators have looked past analytics to an AI future in which an increasing proportion of decisions and actions will be taken by technology rather than people. This is a highly probably outcome…but not in the next year or three. During this period, though, organizations will be looking to build on initial analytics understanding by developing and deploying systems that provide new levels of insight into current conditions and future options.

December in review – InsightaaS content highlights

Upcoming events

Next up for us is a research initiative focused on “When Your Hybrid Cloud Network is Secondary to Your Cloud-First Strategy: How Hybrid Cloud Networks Affect Application Performance.” Let us know if you’d like to contribute to the research, and/or attend the Meetup!

And…next week, we’re launching the website for GCDCS20, the data centre event that we produce each year with McMaster University’s Computing Infrastructure Research Centre. Want to be at the head of the registration list? Here’s a link that isn’t public yet, but which will tie you into the reg system…

Feedback/etc.

If you’d like to ask questions about anything in this edition of “In the New,” request a briefing, pass on a tip or perspective, or ask about InsightaaS services, please contact me at michael (dot) oneil (at) insightaas (dot) com.

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