Because Wednesday sits in the middle of the work week, people often refer to it as a “hump day” they need to get over before enjoying the fruits of their labor on the weekend. In many ways, 2015 has been a “hump year” that IT service providers needed to get over before enjoying the fruits of their labors for the rest of the decade.
So far, the two most dominant IT trends of the decade have been mobile and cloud computing. While both trends have already generated billions in revenue, they are still in the early stages of development, and the impact these technologies will have on the way business processes are developed and managed is just beginning to be felt. For example, IT organizations are just now appreciating how agile they can truly be in terms of standing up new services. Similarly, most organizations are coming to understand how mobile computing allows them to extend their business processes in a way that enables them to get much closer to their customers.
In fact, it’s even arguable that mobile and cloud computing are joined at the hip because most of the applications running in the cloud are accessed primarily from a mobile computing device.
Big Data and the IoT
While mobile and cloud computing generated the most revenue in the past year, in terms of IT megatrends they are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It’s probable that in the latter half of this year that both Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) will surpass them in terms of the amount of revenue generated.
Big Data affects almost every facet of IT there is. As organizations begin to embrace Big Data, it’s not long before they find themselves upgrading almost every piece of IT infrastructure they have to support what amounts to a new class of applications. IoT, meanwhile, will extend those applications in ways previously never thought possible by turning all manner of devices into programmable platforms. For example, it’s now only a matter of time before drones start generating video data from every corner of the planet.
Data Centers of the Future
The irony of all this is that the data centers required to deliver all these capabilities are becoming both physically smaller and easier to manage. Thanks to advances in non-volatile memory such as Flash, the number of applications that will run in memory will rise considerably through the rest of this decade. That means compute engines get much faster, and there will be less reliance on hard disk drives for primary storage.
More data than ever will reside on magnetic storage in the cloud, but as far as where the applications themselves are being executed, the amount of compute capacity generated by each rack of servers will dramatically increase by multiple orders of magnitude. Better still, those highly automated data centers will be defined by software, which means the amount of computing horsepower that can be managed by handful of administrators will soon be beyond measure.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the emergence of open application programming interfaces (APIs). Once confined to providing access to Web applications, APIs have emerged as the sinew that connects our collective IT tissue in way that gives organizations the power to execute almost any concept they could possible imagine.
Put it all together, and it’s clear that from an IT perspective this decade will be one of the most transformation in history. Which vendors and IT services providers will remain standing at the end of it is anybody’s guess, but the one thing that is certain is that the decisions they make in 2016 will determine their ultimate fate before the decade ends five short years from now.