Top 10 Key Technology Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) for 2019

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) is becoming increasingly involved in unprecedented areas of the modern-day enterprise. The focus of I&O leaders is evolving far beyond technology elements like data centers, colocation and the cloud to instead encompass more about how an organization’s I&O can support and enable business strategy. Focus on these 10 key technologies and trends to support digital infrastructure in 2019 and beyond.

Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2019
Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2019

Content Summary

Trend 1: Serverless computing
Trend 2: Artificial intelligence (AI) impacts
Trend 3: Network agility
Trend 4: Death of the data center
Trend 5: Edge computing
Trend 6: Digital diversity management
Trend 7: New roles within I&O
Trend 8: SaaS denial
Trend 9: Talent management becomes critical
Trend 10: Global infrastructure enablement
Source

Trend 1: Serverless computing

Serverless computing is an emerging software architecture pattern that promises to eliminate the need for infrastructure provisioning and management. I&O leaders need to adopt an application-centric approach to serverless computing, managing APIs and SLAs, rather than physical infrastructures.

The phrase ‘serverless’ is somewhat of a misnomer, the truth is that servers still exist, but the service provider is responsible for all the underlying resources involved in provisioning and scaling a runtime environment, resulting in appealing agility.

Serverless computing, in particular the capability known as function platform as a service (FPaaS), emerging software architecture pattern that promises to eliminate the need for infrastructure provisioning and management. FPaaS enables code residing as functions to be run without the need for the user to explicitly provision or manage infrastructure. Two of the characteristics that make FPaaS particularly interesting are rapid scaling and highly granular billing.

Serverless computing does not replace containers or virtual machines (VMs) but can support requirements for utility logic, unpredictable demand and event-driven requirements.

Serverless computing will become mainstream between 2020 and 2022 with 10% of IT organizations already using serverless computing. Developing support and management capabilities within I&O teams must be a focus as more than 20% of global enterprises will have deployed serverless computing technologies by 2020, which is an increase from less than 5% today. IT leaders start to learn its opportunities and limits, identify best practices, and pilot test cases to build knowledge and skills.

Trend 2: Artificial intelligence (AI) impacts

AI is climbing up the ranks in terms of the value it will serve I&O leaders who need to manage growing infrastructures without being able to grow their staff. AI has the potential to be organizationally transformational and is at the core of digital business, the impacts of which are already being felt within organizations. Global AI derived business value will reach nearly $3.9 trillion by 2022, according to Gartner.

From an I&O perspective, IT leaders must ask: What is the value of using AI to support growing infrastructures, knowing that hiring new people is not always feasible?

AI will start to get involved in failure recognition, predictive analytics and other functions within I&O. AI will enable IT to do more and at faster rates, growing infrastructure without necessarily growing staff.

The critical time frame for this trend is between 2021 and 2023.

Trend 3: Network agility

The network underpins and enables everything IT and the business rely on: cloud services, Internet of Things (IoT), edge services and will continue to do so moving forward.

Network teams have been under pressure to ensure network availability is high, with great improvements and as such the team culture is often to limit change, yet all around the network team the demands for agility have increased. However for future success, the focus for 2019 and beyond must incorporate how network operations can increase the pace of network operations to meet demand. Part of the answer is AI and building network agility that relies on automation, orchestration, analytics and addressing the real skills shift needed to succeed.

In 2019, network teams must collaborate heavily with other business units as new opportunities in 5G and edge computing arise. The demands on the network are set to grow with the advent of 5G, increasing cloud maturity stresses the network, explosion in numbers of IoT devices and endpoints grow, networks must evolve to support the management of these evolving needs.

These are just a few of the pressures leaders should anticipate, so the critical time frame for an organization to develop network agility is now.

Trend 4: Death of data center

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will migrate entirely away from on-premises data centers with the current trend of moving workloads to colocation, hosting and cloud leading them to shut down traditional data center. In fact, 10% of organizations already have.

I&O leaders must prepare to place workloads based on business needs, not constrained by physical location. From colocation through to public cloud — plenty of alternatives to on-premises data centers exist. Leaders must identify whether there are truly strategic reasons to persist with on-premises needs, especially when they consider the significant amount of investment involved is often amortized over many years.

This data point does not necessarily mean everything is going to the cloud but IT leaders do need to start thinking about where current and future workloads will live based on business reasons (e.g., customer engagement, GDPR regulations), not technology reasons.

Organizations need to create an environment that houses more agile infrastructure both on-premises and in the cloud, preparations must begin now, as the critical time frame for this is 2021 to 2025.

Trend 5: Edge computing

Edge computing allows workloads to be located in closer proximity to the customer to solve a specific business problem. It touches on the laws of physics, economy and land, all of which are contributing factors to how and when to use edge. Edge computing can be used to reduce latency and will experience increasing growth to satisfy the demand for high-quality digital experiences moving forward. For example, studies show that web-facing companies lose customers after just 2 seconds of slow loading time. Edge computing can be used to reduce latency and will experience increasing growth to satisfy the demand for high-quality digital experiences moving forward.

IoT and immersive technologies will drive more information processing to the edge, redefining and reshaping what I&O leaders will need to deploy and manage. The edge is the physical location where things and people connect with the networked digital world, and infrastructure will increasingly reach out to the edge. Edge computing is a part of a distributed computing topology where information processing is located close to the edge, which is where things and people produce or consume that information. It touches on the laws of physics, economy and land, all of which are contributing factors to how and when to use edge.

This is another trend that does not replace the cloud, but augments it. The critical time frame for organizations to adopt this trend is 2020 to 2023.

Trend 6: Digital diversity management

Digital diversity management is not about people, but rather about the discovering and managing the explosion of diverse assets and technologies used in today’s modern digital enterprise. There has been huge growth in the range and quantity of “things” that I&O is expected to know about, be supporting and be managing, traditional asset management is still important, but we’re moving into the realms of involvement with new assets that might have direct effects on the finances, health and welfare of the organization’s customers.

The importance of identifying, discovering and monitoring those that directly impact or support the business cannot be understated. Some challenges that come out of this trend include analysis paralysis, maintaining an accurate inventory and avoiding exponential wastage as a result of poor visibility and management of assets. Preparing I&O is vital now before the critical time frame of 2020 to 2025.

Trend 7: New roles within I&O

This trend is all about how I&O is increasingly taking on the role of supporting cloud services, requiring skills in aggregation, customization, integration and governance. One of the biggest challenges with cloud services is exposure to unexpected costs. As the business looks to I&O to optimize costs and simplify complexity, I&O must evolve capabilities to broker, support and govern many new types of services.

I&O leaders find that staffing justifications require resolving complex relationships between costs, activities and customer quality expectations. Explaining I&O staffing requirements to IT and business leaders in terms of business value by connecting staffing levels to business performance and strategic objectives is a must in today’s modern digital enterprise.

For instance, IT is increasingly taking on the role of supporting cloud services in terms of aggregation, customization, integration and governance. A big challenge with cloud services is keeping costs under control, and the business expects I&O to be doing just that. Rather than focusing solely on engineering and operations, I&O must develop the capabilities needed to broker services; these will require different roles to the I&O of old.

The critical time frame for this trend starts immediately in 2019.

Trend 8: SaaS denial

SaaS is software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at any time on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.

In 2019 and beyond, SaaS will have a big impact on how organizations look at infrastructure delivery strategies moving forward.  Despite SaaS being an initial preference for many organizations, most IT professionals are still heavily focused on delivery and support of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) solutions.

SaaS itself is becoming a level of complexity that IT shops aren’t yet coping with as they should. The shift to SaaS must be accompanied with robust I&O support, all the way from security, ensuring visibility is maintained of what is in use, through to supporting compliance requirements and enterprise integration needs and service delivery capabilities that their business expects.

The critical time frame for this trend is 2019 to 2021.

Trend 9: Talent management becomes critical

Historically, IT staff have been vertically organized based around the technology stack they managed.As infrastructures go digital, the organization still needs depth of technical expertise but also now demands better collaboration from people who can work horizontally across stacks in order to identify and remediate technology work stoppages in their business, , there becomes a need for people to work horizontally Expanding I&O skill sets, practices and procedures to accommodate hybrid operations is of the utmost importance in 2019 and beyond. In short, talent is the critical ingredient for a modern, high-performing technology organization, and great talent is in high demand. People that show versatility and adaptability are quickly becoming must-haves, particularly in hybrid environments.

Because getting people to think beyond their stack is a challenge when the traditional model paid them to be expert in it, IT leaders must hack their culture and get those people out of their bubble. The success of hybrid infrastructures depends on the talent behind it.

The critical time frame for this trend is now.

Trend 10: Global infrastructure enablement

Despite few infrastructures being truly “global” in nature, organizations must still prepare for the notion of “infrastructure everywhere.” While doing so, I&O leaders must work within the constraints of tight budgets and cost pressures.

The question then becomes: How can I&O leaders enable this within a realistic budget? Becoming digital at scale raises the bar for I&O teams and their partners. Leaders need to identify the right partnership strategy to surround themselves with an ecosystem of capabilities and support.One way to tackle this challenge is to wisely choose the network of partners needed for global success, as they will play a large role in helping to evolve and scale your organization’s’ infrastructure moving forward. I&O leaders must look hard at their existing partners and raise the bar of expectation. Can they clearly identify the value the partner will bring to them in the context of global infrastructure? Are they unlocking all the value from recent investments their partners have been making?

There will be no time for ‘B-team’ partners in 2019 and beyond. I&O leaders must be on top of this trend between 2020 and 2023.

Source

Gartner Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure & Operations for 2019
Gartner Newsroom: Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2019