As usually happens at this time of year, my team persuaded me to look into my crystal ball and predict the technology trends I think will make the most impact in IT this year. Here are my top six tips.
- The Internet of Things (IoT), robots and autonomous systems will take us in new directions, with a continued growth in smart devices, robotics and AI. As these need to process information in real time and act autonomously, the latency of cloud becomes a problem, and so we’ll see intelligence moving back from the cloud to the edge of the network. Cloud will still be used for the back end services, data storage and analytics to store petabytes of data and train AI systems before the algorithm developed is loaded into the edge device. The autonomous system will process locally, then revert to the data stored in the cloud if further confirmation is required.
- I’m hoping we’ll see a big dose of pragmatism! Cloud has many advantages, but it isn’t the answer for everything, and public cloud in particular still struggles to handle legacy applications. IaaS is not the greatest answer for complex systems that you are already looking after pretty well internally. I expect organisations to increasingly adopt a hybrid model with a mix of cloud and on-premise computing. This will then drive the growth of monitoring and management systems which can handle a hybrid environment, such as Fordway’s CMaaS.
- After being a niche service for a couple of years, we’re seeing a surge of interest in cloud-based identity management. This provides a single authoritative identity assurance and authentication solution for all applications, with secure access from any location. It’s what I call ‘single sign-on for the 21st century’ and is an effective way of reducing security and compliance risks. As more people work remotely and have to sign into an increasing number of systems, I expect it to grow significantly this year.
- Still on the security theme, I expect to see individuals taking increased responsibility for their personal data security, with a cross-over between personal and business data, and they will start to taking ownership of and rent their data to organisations that want to sell to them. As the GDPR comes into force we will see a backlash against the FANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) in particular as individuals realise the need to take ownership of and value the data they have previously given away.
- More organisations will realise that vendor lock-in is still a thing, and your choice of hypervisor will define your chosen cloud provider. While it is potentially possible to host VMware on Azure, it’s not easy, you need to jump through hoops and it’s much more complicated and expensive than using AWS or another VMware cloud platform cloud provider. In the same way HyperV is best hosted on Azure and KVM on Linux.
- Finally, 2018 could be the year in which software-defined networking (SDN) finally takes off. You’re almost certainly already using SSL VPNs, probably without even knowing it, when you’re web browsing, and this is the basic principle behind SDN. Potentially SDN allows secure, policy based networking and security between endpoints. It’s pretty complicated under the bonnet but when implemented effectively will make all our lives faster, simpler and more secure.