GlobalData’s Top Predictions for Data Center Technologies in 2019

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Data center portfolios will become more distributed and decentralized in 2019, thanks to the growing use of hybrid and multi-cloud environments and edge computing deployments.
  • 2019 will see an emphasis on enhancing the performance, security, and scalability of compute, storage, and networking resources in order to support new workloads, including AI.

GlobalData’s top predictions for data center technologies in 2019 include the expectation of increased competition in the provision of hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and Kubernetes solutions; this will be partly driven by a growing interest in on-premises workloads from leading public cloud providers. We also anticipate increased innovation around edge computing, as well as the evolution and enhancement of data center platforms and architectures with technologies that improve their ability to support AI and other advanced workloads:

1. Hybrid Cloud, Multi-Cloud, and Kubernetes: 2019 will see more enterprises make use of hybrid and multi-cloud environments for a range of purposes, including data center extension, cloud migration, and application development and modernization. The growing use of hybrid cloud environments to develop, deploy, and modernize applications will dovetail with the continued adoption and use of containers and Kubernetes. 2018 saw all of the major infrastructure vendors incorporate Kubernetes capabilities into solutions that target hybrid and multi-cloud management. 2019 will see efforts to extend Kubernetes to other parts of their portfolios, as well as making Kubernetes easier to use.

2. Hyperscale Clouds Target On-Prem Workloads: In 2019, the largest public cloud providers will intensify competitive efforts to target on-premises workloads. Amazon Web Services will come to market with a new managed on-premises version of its cloud platform called AWS Outposts. Microsoft will continue to extend the scope and capabilities of its Azure Stack offering, while IBM will prepare to leverage its acquisition of Red Hat to boost its ability to support multi-cloud management. Google will also promote its Kubernetes-based, multi-cloud management offerings for enterprises, while Oracle has announced plans to expand its Cloud Infrastructure platform to 13 regions in 2019 as part of a push to catch up with its larger cloud rivals. China’s Alibaba has also set its sights on targeting more international customers with its hybrid cloud offering.

3. Edge Computing, IoT, and 5G: 2019 will see continued innovation in relation to edge computing technologies, as well as more examples of end-user organizations engaging with edge computing in real-world scenarios. Investments in edge computing environments will be driven by the proliferation of enterprise IoT initiatives and by the launch of 5G networks and 5G-enbaled handsets. Also expect to see increased innovation around the delivery of edge computing resources in ways that make them more flexible to deploy and scale as well as more cost effective to consume.

4. Intent-Based Networking: The growing use of containers and microservices will demand new requirements from data center networking, including the need to deliver enhanced scalability and security as well as guaranteed performance. In 2019, specific strategies to address these requirements will include the increased use of intent-based networking as a way of accelerating network automation. Some implementations of intent-based networking will make use of machine learning in order to enhance the automation of network orchestration and management.

5. AI-Optimized Platforms: In 2019 IT vendors will continue to expand and enhance the capabilities of their compute, storage, and converged systems offerings, to enable greater support for advanced workloads, including artificial intelligence, analytics, transactional applications, and other workloads requiring low latency and high performance. Specific enhancements will include the addition of all-flash NVMe storage, GPU hardware accelerators, higher-bandwidth Ethernet and InfiniBand technologies, and innovations around data replication.

6. Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps): 2019 will see more applications of AIOps within the data center, including the use of AI tools to improve energy consumption efficiency. Other AIOps innovations will focus on the use of AI to optimize server performance, enhance data center security, and assist within overall facility management.

7. Flexible Consumption and Management: All major IT infrastructure vendors are prioritizing flexible consumption as part of their overall portfolio, focusing on a combination of consulting and digital transformation advisory services, pay-as-you-use consumption, vendor-managed and SaaS-based IT, and flexible options for financing the procurement of IT solutions. 2019 will see further competition around these areas as IT vendors expand the scope and capabilities of flexible consumption business models.

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