Five Availability Predictions for 2018

It’s that time of the year when technologists like myself put our “futurist” hat on, take a moment to reflect on the year that was, and scope out some exciting (and sometimes scary) visions of what the next 12 months will look like.

We are still a ways off from teleportation (a personal favorite) and the replicator (another personal favorite, that is more urgent), so I’ll temper our technology predictions to what we know best: Availability. Predicting the future is always subjective, but forecasting is critical so that we can innovate better solutions and in turn, ensure customers can benefit from new and improved offerings. So here they are, my five Availability predictions for 2018!

Cloud Replication Hits a Hockey Stick

Business continuity for digital services has been a significant focus for every executive over the past decade. Enterprises no longer just offer digital services, they ARE the digital services which they provide. Downtime is not acceptable. This recognition has led to highly available designs running on virtualized infrastructures. However, many of the natural disasters around the world in 2017 have raised the concern that single data center design is not sufficient. This concern, coupled with the cost of running active-active configurations across multiple data centers, will cause an exponential growth of replication to the cloud for the purposes of failover. The cloud has always provided excellent return on investment for variable load services, and disaster recovery is no exception. This will lead to hockey stick growth of cloud replication to fill a critical business need in 2018.

Emergent Growth of Data Recovery Automation and Orchestration

As an extension of cloud replication, many organizations will realize that recovery time objectives (RTOs) are very much dependent upon the orchestration and automation of recovery. Having a backup of the data, or replicating the data to a cloud provider is not sufficient to maintain minimal RTOs. This will cause forward thinking enterprise and service organizations to focus on orchestration and automation as an essential component of business Availability. These test plans will be designed, tested, documented and run on a regular schedule to provide attestation of the readiness for data recovery. However, data recovery automation will not cross the chasm into mainstream adoption through 2018.

Data Ownership and Privacy Rights will gain Board Visibility

Recent data breaches such as Equifax have increased security concerns to the Board level. However, in 2018, the pending enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and customer privacy concerns will raise focus on data ownership. It will no longer be sufficient to depend upon SaaS services to ensure customer privacy, or for existing security implementations to enable data ownership and privacy rights. End users and customers will demand the right to be forgotten, the right to be informed of data breaches, and the right to withdraw consent. These demands will put a focus on data ownership and privacy rights. In 2018, we will see a distinct set of controls and Board level visibility on this emerging area of compliance.

Bi-Directional Cloud Workload Migration

It is impossible to engage in the IT industry and ignore the noise and marketing on cloud. Every CIO and IT administrator has had some level of engagement and pressure to both investigate and implement cloud services. The past five years have seen the size of IT conferences hosted by cloud vendors to surpass the size of IT conferences hosted by traditional on-premises vendors. Dreamforce and Re:Invent dwarf the size of VMworld or Interconnect. Cloud vendors tout the eventual migration of all workloads to cloud, while virtualization and hardware vendors speak of multi-cloud. In 2018, we will see significant one-way migration towards cloud in one specific area: Software as a Service. The simplicity of SaaS services such as corporate email systems, collaboration, HR, CRM and payroll will lead to a one-way cloud migration.

From a cost, efficiency and expertise perspective, it no longer makes sense to run these SaaS services on-premises. However, IaaS workloads will see a mix of migration both to and from the cloud. Many enterprises will quickly learn that migrating enterprise services to the IaaS cloud increases cost while delivering minimal additional benefits when the workloads are not variable. Leveraging the cloud as a business tool rather than a destination will lead to the reprioritization of workloads after an initial trial. This bi-directional IaaS movement will continue through 2018 as the enterprise discovers and puts a renewed focus on where and why cloud adoption is most appropriate.

Increasing Focus on Data Enablement

Data protection and data security have been a core focus of every IT organization for the past several decades. This has always been a cost center and expense for the business that has been driven by compliance and regulatory pressures. However, in 2018, we will see an increasing focus on how this same data content can be turned into a business enablement asset. Investigations into data use for development operations, patch testing, analysis of data sets through machine learning and other emerging techniques will lead to data being used for positive business value rather than solely as an insurance policy for negative outcomes. Data enablement will drive business value and cause the enterprise to re-evaluate existing storage models.

Regardless of how the next 12 months unfold, our vision at Veeam is clear: To provide Always-On Availability for any application, any data, on any cloud.

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