From Dieter Lott, Vice President, Business Development, EMEA, at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA
This is how we see 2015 shaping up in terms of technology trends:
Hacking is widespread these days. Even the NASDAQ Stock Market was breached not so long ago. Security continues to be the most important trend in the IT market. It requires continuous changes and advancements. Year after year and into 2015, the channel simply can’t ignore this. With IDC predicting a 30 percent annual growth through to 2017 of smartphones purchased under a BYOD/A (bring your own device/app) approach, next year, the focus will move further into addressing security inside the firewall and not just around perimeter IT defences. Gartner, in its “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015” recently called this a “new multifaceted approach” which will lead to “new models of building security directly into applications.” Resellers will need to learn about these new approaches to address this growth area effectively and to help end user businesses overcome this huge challenge of how to secure apps. Distributors can help by enabling partners to take a more holistic data centre-centric approach taking BYOD (bring your own device) and the IOT (the Internet of Things) requirements into account. Such value-added services include not just technical training but also sales enablement activities. The channel needs this kind of help to address the demands of fast evolving data centres – where security and network efficiency is paramount.
#2 Converged infrastructure, SDN and the data centre skills shortage
The pace of change within data centres is spectacular and this is why software defined networking (SDN) and converged infrastructure are already key discussion points in the IT industry due to the drive for more scalable IT architectures. The convergence of data centre tech and networking tech is causing this significant market shift. We’re experiencing a radical change in how data centre infrastructure is designed and implemented and we’re still in the early stages of adoption of these new technologies. This means there’s also a question over whether the channel has the IT skills to address market demands. It’s clear that data centre infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex as end users embrace a combination of on- and off- premise cloud solutions, as well as platform and software “as-a-service” models. Additionally, businesses are under increasing pressure to align IT costs more effectively to performance, ensuring high demand times for IT are covered without over-investing. In 2015, not only will the channel need to educate themselves on emerging growth markets and technologies such as SDN and converged infrastructure, but they’ll need to address skills shortages. Delivering efficient, reliable converged infrastructure and SDN requires new knowledge. In turn, the role distributors (like us) play will be affected – we will be trusted to provide both enablement and even the skills required. I would suggest that this is an opportunity none of the channel players want to miss.
3# Web-scale IT
According to Gartner: “Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting.” Everyone can see the successful cloud computing models the Internet Giants (e.g. Google, Amazon and Facebook) have in place. In 2015, more businesses are going to turn a web-scale IT approach to create and deliver highly scalable IT systems that can, for example, reduce downtime when a website has a busy period such as the “Black Friday” shopping peak without overspending. Ultimately, the software defined data centre will provide such flexibility. However, enterprises will not move their complete operations overnight to such an approach. As such, we predict that in 2015, organisations will place more emphasis on capacity forecasting and analytics – the ability to scale up and down and deliver “bandwidth on demand” within IT networks. The appetite for this is getting stronger, especially where CFOs are concerned as they work more towards moving IT from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, in order to improve their balance sheets and move more to a variable costing model for IT. It is essential the channel is able to offer a full spectrum of procurement, usage and payment models. The ideal situation for a CIO and CFO is a “pay-as-you-go” model. Distribution is well placed to support resellers to develop that offering – this should include both cloud and hosting models, as well as creative financing models.
4# The Internet of Things (IoT) combined with data analytics
The IoT will connect every kind of device and common object – machines, household appliances, watches, vehicles, doors, thermostats, even clothing – to each other and to applications in data centres and in the cloud. In 2015, the channel needs to start identifying its approach to this trend. The IoT will radically change the requirements of computer networks and data centres. What does it mean for a data centre that has to support 30,000 clients today but may have millions in the future? It completely changes the required architecture for that data centre and the network. Security and software to manage that kind of scale hardly exist today. There are opportunities for ISVs to create optimal software products; for distributors to enable the channel and for our partners to offer robust solutions around connectivity, data centre and networking management, security and data analytics, to respond to the needs of the newly connected world.