Heading into a new year filled with myriad crosscurrents, this much is certain: more organizations will find smarter ways to use data as they realize the benefits of digitally transforming their operations.
We’re seeing this trend toward data-driven decision making already play out in different industries around the world as companies modernize their infrastructures. You’ll find farmers in Australia now using data to grow more sustainable bananas while deploying sensors to conserve water consumption and reduce their use of fertilizers. Or financial services companies in the U.S. using data science to catalog millions of files so they can approve loans more quickly and get buyers into their dream home in days, rather than weeks or months.
What’s clear is that this is shaping up to be a year filled with possibility; especially when you consider how advances in data analytics that use the power of AI and the flexibility of the cloud will allow organizations to discover new insights to help them navigate the pressing challenges du jour. Here are some of the highlights of trends we expect to see unfold.
1. Advanced Apps go Mainstream
IoT, AI, Machine Learning and other advancements in data technologies will be major forces to address climate change challenges. We will start to see even more advanced applications for use in industries from agriculture to transportation, helping companies conserve resources and energy, and enabling a more sustainable future. The proliferation of EVs, for example, will be largely dependent on large swaths of government and private organizations coming together with actionable data in hand to ensure power grids are able to efficiently provide energy to an onslaught of clean energy consuming vehicles with undefined requirements.
2. DataOps Spur More Digital Transformation
Placing data-driven retail, commerce, entertainment and industrial powerhouses square in their sites, businesses of all sizes will increasingly seek digital pathways to better insights and more competitive business strategies. With data at the core of business innovation, organizations will increasingly adopt DataOps methodologies in order to efficiently and effectively capture, store, analyze, distribute and act on the process, customer, supply chain and production insights derived from more and better-quality data.
3. Hybrid Cloud Gets a New Look with Software Defined
With 87% of enterprise clouds operating as hybrid models, there’ll be growing recognition that purely cloud-based or on-premise environments are not suitable for all purposes when they’re measured from cost and functionality perspectives. Driven by the explosion of data across industries with more than 90% of all data being created in the past two years and an expected 2X growth over the next 5 years, organizations will begin to face the challenges of data gravity. Data at scale puts pressure on data protection, data continuity, point-in-time recovery, ransomware, data sovereignty and compliance solutions, etc. This data growth spans the entire data landscape from structured, semi-structured to unstructured data. As such, it will be important to have an updated storage strategy that allows workloads to move between edge, core and private and public clouds. Given the open environment of Hybrid Cloud Solutions, expect Software Defined, Container based offerings to define the Hybrid Cloud environment in the months ahead.
4. Containerization Breakout Advances Further
Containerization is all about a shift towards distributed applications – leaving monolith applications behind us – impacting how we develop and deploy applications in the data center and across multiple clouds. The digital revolution has changed not only how businesses are perceived, but also how work gets done. It also means a shift from a conventional business model to one that improves operation, customers experience, and accelerates revenue through technology. Containerization is one of the key technologies that makes it possible to create distributed applications and move workloads across multiple clouds, data centers (core), or even edge systems (such as Internet of Things devices, local machines, or even mobile devices) to accelerate digital transformation. Gartner predicts that more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production by the end of the year, up from less than 30% currently. I agree.
5. Software Defined Storage Takes Hold
The promise of Software Defined Storage (SDS) has been hailed for some time for the immense flexibility it provides to customers’ deployment models. The take up has been gradual but that’s about to change; 2022 will see promise translate into practice – Gartner expects about half of global storage capacity will be deployed as SDS on-premises or in the public cloud in the next couple of years (up from less than 15% in 2020) – so expect to see rapidly growing adoption of these solutions as customers finally reap tangible benefits.
6. AI and Machine Learning Play Bigger Roles in Apps & Data Pipelines
AI and ML are transforming nearly every aspect in the data stack. Whether it is AIops in the infrastructure context or AI/ML driving solution cores in various vertical industries, these tools will become increasingly commonplace in the development, deployment, maintenance and provisioning of applications, data stores and data pipelines.
7. Everything as a Service (XaaS) Transforms Infrastructure Management
The constructs of cloud adoption will soon become the norm for owned infrastructure. The transformation towards XaaS will constitute a major shift in the industry as customers move between CapEx to OpEx models with more consistent pay-as-you-go operating experiences. In the next several years, a majority of IT storage administrators and engineers will shift their skills and job responsibilities from managing storage to managing infrastructure stacks and datasets.
8. Immutable Storage Emerges as Key Ransomware Protection Option
How bad is the ransomware problem? Very bad when you consider that 63% of organizations have been exposed to ransomware and 48% have been victims of a successful attack – 22% have been hit multiple times – according to ESG’s 2022 Technology Spending Intentions survey. Perhaps that’s unsurprising considering how many times organizations give in and pay the ransom. This affects the entire organization from a CEO who is suddenly in a negotiation phase to the IT department trying to get its head around the encrypted data. I wish I could offer a more optimistic assessment, but the problem will likely worsen in coming months. However, this is an area where storage administrators and IT infrastructure teams play significant roles in how data is protected and stored in a holistic cybersecurity strategy to ensure business continuity, resilience, and data protection. Immutable storage capacity will be a crucial part for a modern storage strategy as the last line of defense in the data center.
As we close out the first month of the year, we see immense potential for 2022 and look forward to helping you tackle your most pressing data challenges.
Be sure to check out Insights for perspectives on the data-driven world.