Ch-ch-changes: Gartner’s top 10 emerging trends

From storage demands to smart resource delivery, IT shops and the companies they support face a slew of challenges

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Felix Burton (CC BY 2.0)

ORLANDO -- The No. 1 problem, or trend, facing IT departments today is nonstop demand, according to Gartner. As more devices connect to the Internet, the need for more computing capability, storage and networking is increasing at a rapid rate.

For instance, 39 million terabytes of storage is currently deployed globally; by 2019, that figure will more than double to 89 million terabytes.

The demand for data center capacity is "relentless," said David Cappuccio, and is creating problems for IT. "It's not about how many systems I have, it's how efficiently I use that resource."

Along with storage, server workloads are growing at a 10% average annual growth rate; network bandwidth at 35% a year, and power costs are rising at 20% annually, according to Gartner.

A frequent question from IT managers, said Cappuccio, is: "How do I make my existing environment last longer" and avoid building new data centers?

The leading trends Gartner identified at this year's Symposium/ITxpo often involve a complete rethinking of how IT delivers its services. New skills will be required to make these transitions -- and acquiring those skills may be one of the biggest challenges ahead.

One attendee, Robert Brown, the CIO of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, said that IT personnel "are going to be continually challenged to increase their knowledge of future IT services [while] maintaining current IT services."

"That's quite a burden to put on an IT staff, but it's got to happen," said Brown, who noted it will require more resources for training.

In addition to nonstop demand, or "the new scale of IT," here are Gartner's other nine top tech trends:

  • A start-up mentality. "Every business is a technology start-up," said Gartner, which means the entire business is focused on seeking new revenue sources from the Internet of Things, data analytics and mobile. For IT departments, this means that business often makes technology decisions "without us," said Cappuccio. The IT response should be not to stop these activities, but understand them.
  • Edge computing. This not only involves managing many devices but ensuring low-latency, reliability and the ability to use all the information those devices are acquiring. It also moves some processing to the edge of a network.
  • Enterprise-defined data center. The data center as the center of the information universe has been replaced by the need to deliver resources in the best possible way. That means turning the platform, whether it's cloud, SaaS, PaaS, or something else, to deliver those services while managing them as one.
  • Integrated systems. This is an old concept, but an evolving one and remains a key approach that is growing in sophistication as technology changes.
  • Open source hardware. Cappuccio said open source hardware is roughly in the same place open source software was in the mid-1990s. What made open source software acceptable for many businesses was the arrival of support for it, such as Red Hat; something similar may take place with the hardware.
  • IT service continuity. If a site is down for any reason, business will suffer. New disaster recovery approaches are needed that not only ensure uptime but continuity, too, including maintaining network latency when workloads shift.
  • Global data center management. This includes more analytics that describe what happened, diagnoses and predictions, as well as prescriptive analytics to determine what IT should be doing.
  • Bi-modal IT. In Gartner's view, bi-modal IT is about running an IT operation that can accomplish two things. The first is keeping IT stable, the second, running an organization that can be agile and innovative.
  • Enterprise workload monitoring. Managers need a better idea of what's going on with their resources, such as what business processes map to which application, and how performance issues are evaluated.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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