Andrew Moloney, Chief Strategy Officer at SoftIron pulled together the leadership team with decades of combined expertise to debate the evolution of IT in the year to come and beyond. Here are SoftIron's top predictions:
Moving from an era when proposing a full-scale migration to the public cloud was a surefire way to promotion, the current maturation of the market, economic conditions, shifting performance requirements, and a dramatic simplification in building private cloud-native infrastructure, will see a much more rational approach. Underpinning this will be a broader understanding of the difference between cloud "the model" and cloud the "place", where how applications are built is decoupled from where they operate.
We see little to suggest that 2024 will be any less turbulent in terms of geopolitics than we have seen this year. Indeed, this is one that will likely play out over a number of years around the world. With regard to its impact on IT, we expect that we will see this accelerate plans by nation-states to boost their own sovereign resilience.
This, we predict will be in three main areas:
We predict that many of the "pseudo" sovereign cloud projects - those that rely on obfuscated infrastructure and/or local third parties to operate them to provide a veneer of sovereignty, will not gain traction. AWS, late to the party to offer such a service and having recently launched their European Sovereign Cloud may well be delivering too little, too late. Instead, those that offer true sovereign resilience - enabling nation-states to build, operate, inspect, and audit their own infrastructure on their own terms and turf, will become the preferred option.
Forced into seeking credible alternatives to using VMware to provide virtualized infrastructure in on-prem. data centers, existing VMware customers will take the opportunity to revisit their cloud strategy, making the rational decision to shift to a fully cloud-native infrastructure - one able to consolidate and simplify existing virtualized on-prem. workloads within an infrastructure able to deliver true private cloud going forward will grasp that opportunity. Finally, they will be able to deliver what VMware and Nutanix have promised for years but have never quite been able to deliver.
After a period of stability in the market shares of the big three, we predict we’ll see competition start to heat up as the hyperscalers are forced to battle on multiple fronts;
Partially related to our VMWare prediction, and the availability of cloud-native infrastructure that changes the economics of private cloud, the evolution of a more rational cloud strategy will see Cloud Centers of Excellence (CCoEs) and FinOps professionals grasp the opportunity to get an apples-to-apples comparison across not just public clouds, but now between public and private cloud. New open standards released in 2024, such as FOCUS will help to enable this.
At the same time, shifts to distributed cloud architectures, enabling workloads to move from the edge to the core and back will elevate the need to make private clouds more than just basic virtualized infrastructure.
Already effectively abandoned by its greatest exponent, Nutanix, the independent and elastic scaling limitations inherent in these architectures, plus their failures to fully deliver on a fully cloud-native environment without significant integrations and third parties will see hyperconvergence relegated from the data center to smaller, departmental type solutions only.
We predict a backlash against over-complexity in the fundamental ways IT is built. Customers challenged by a skills crisis and budgets under pressure will seek out simpler, more innovative ways of solving IT’s infrastructure challenges. This will compound the issues for VMWare as a major contributor to that complexity. While AI, we predict, will have an impact in the longer term in helping streamline the efficiency of how IT is built and run, in the short to medium term a shift to cloud-native infrastructure can address many of these issues today.
Fuelled by the hype around AI and the investments being made in the processing power to support it, we predict we’ll see a resurgence in interest in innovation right in hardware, and the hard tech required to support that. A new generation of start-ups will disrupt the inertia in innovation in IT infrastructure design of the last couple of decades.
Large providers of consumption-based on-prem. infrastructure (such as HPE GreenLake and Dell APEX) struggle to deliver quickly on the promised roadmaps that would make the delivery of such services seamless, painless, and highly profitable. Customers start to question why they are effectively paying a complexity tax that pays for the engineers needed to manually support the lack of integration in their own products.
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