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Top Tech Trends in Infra and ops for India: Gartner

GOA, October 26, 2013 — Milind Govekar, Managing Vice President at Gartner Inc,  has highlighted the top 10 strategic technology trends for most Indian organizations in infrastructure and operations  in 2014. Analysts presented their findings during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, here  earlier this week.

“We have identified the key technology trends that Indian companies should monitor closely over the next five years. Internal trends, market trends and societal trends are rapidly converging, and many will have dramatic effects on infrastructure and operations planning", Govekar said.

 The top 10 technology trends include:

Software-defined Networks (SDN) provide a means to abstract the network just as server virtualization abstracts the server. Unlike traditional networks where distributed forwarding and routing protocols manage topology based upon port and route metrics, the SDN controller (pair) is optimized for control of a data center (single, or hybrid cloud) and is the authoritative source for topology and policy enforcement. This is important in that it allows simplification of how the network is designed and operated such that one is not boxed by configuring it to individual vendor platforms and even different distributed network protocols.

Software-defined Storage: Data growth continues unabated. From an IT perspective, one of the main issues is not awareness of the issue, but prioritization of the issues. Software-defined storage (SDS) is the logical next step of the software defined data center. By employing SDS, organizations are able to separate and abstract storage elements, as well as combine storage elements and capabilities providing storage solutions/services. They also have the potential to enable heterogeneous storage resources to create virtual pools of resources based on application requirements rather than the physical storage characteristics.

 Hybrid Cloud Services: Unlike private, public or community cloud services, hybrid cloud services horizontally "span" two complete implementations. A single service request could be deployed in either implementation, or moved from one to the other, or can horizontally grow between the two implementations (also called cloudbursting or overdrafting). The primary benefit is flexibility of deployment, managed security and elasticity. This is contrasted from a cloud service that relies completely on another cloud service in a supply chain - in which the service is incomplete without the connection between the multiple implementations.

 Integrated Systems: The very use of the appliance or integrated terminology creates great angst for some vendors and users - particularly for physical appliances. And yet, deploying traditional server, network and storage systems has been a labor of frustration. The new world of virtualization has forced greater attention to speeding the processes of deployment and using resources more efficiently. In effect, IT is demanding the end of hard and fixed intersections and boundaries. This "unified fabric" concept will take time to evolve through increased levels of automation, OS intelligence and management tools, but the evolution toward integrated systems is well underway.

Applications Acceleration: The consumerization of technology is creating more devices that organizations will need to support in order to reach out to customers and employees. The point has already been reached at which the number of mobile phones has surpassed the number of PCs. However, a more relevant tipping point will be reached by 2014, when there will be more Internet-connected mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices using lightweight OSs, such as Apple iOS and Android) than PCs. As a result, users expect applications to be available on all their devices and organizations increasingly have to build multichannel applications - ones that run on all the key endpoint devices and preserve state between them, so users can switch devices as they need to.

The Internet of Things: The Internet of Things is not a technology, but a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the Internet. The vision and concept have existed for years; however, there has been acceleration in the number and types of things that are being connected and in the technologies for identifying, sensing and communicating. Key advances include:

Embedded sensors: Sensors that detect and communicate changes (e.g., accelerometers, GPS, compasses, cameras) are being embedded in an increasing number of places and objects.

Image recognition: Image recognition technologies strive to identify objects, people, buildings, places, logos etc. Smartphones and tablets with cameras have pushed this technology from industrial applications to consumer and enterprise applications.

NFC payment: NFC allows users to make payments by waving their mobile phone in front of a compatible reader. Once NFC is embedded in a critical mass of phones for payment, many industries will be able to explore how NFC technology can improve efficiency and customer service.

 Open Compute Project:  Originally founded by Facebook and Rackspace as a vehicle to highlight their energy efficiency and hardware design projects, the Open Compute Project is now designed to drive open design concepts where own design manufacturer (ODM) equipment will be much easier to interchange within a rack or data center environment. Over 50 vendors and end user companies are now actively adding value to the project.

 Intelligent Data Centres: As more of the IT infrastructure becomes virtualized, it is becoming reshaped. Increasingly, there will bemore possibilities for the "fabric" to have the intelligence to analyze its own properties against policy rules that create optimum paths, change them to match changing conditions and do so without requiring laborious parameter adjustments. X86 virtualization is effectively the most important technology innovation behind the modernization of the data center. It heralds a sea-change in how IT leaders view the roles of compute, network and storage elements - from physical hardwired to logical and decoupled applications.

 IT Demand: With the increased awareness of the environmental impact data centers can have, there has been a flurry of activity around the need for a data center efficiency metric. An effective way to look at energy consumption is to analyze the effective use of power by existing IT equipment, relative to the performance of that equipment. Pushing IT resources toward higher effective performance per kilowatt can have a twofold effect of improving energy consumption and extending the life of existing assets through increased throughput. The Power to Performance Effectiveness (PPE) metric is designed to capture this effect.

Organizational Entrenchment and Disruptions: The personal device era of IT provides business users with increased levels of personal flexibility and functionality, together with a complexity that the traditional IT service desk is unable to support. The IT service desks of the future must look to new and innovative means of user engagement to address demand, or perish as costly, ineffective, business irrelevant entities. The survival of the IT support organization rests on new IT service desk analyst skill sets and techniques that leverage the same consumer-based forces that accelerate business demand to their advantage. .