The Wide Area Network (WAN) as we know it is dead. Why build a private network to backhaul traffic to a data centre only to pass the majority directly to the Internet? The WAN needs to connect people, places and things to internal and external applications. For instance, mobile healthcare workers and first responders need their equipment, uniforms with cameras and vehicles to be securely connected and managed whilst they are working in the field. This is all now possible through the cloud and I believe that in 2017 we will see Software Defined Networking truly come to the fore. It is more simple, agile and flexible, and it comes at a much lower cost than traditional WAN alternatives.”
Nigel Williams, Senior Director, Marketing EMEA at Commvault. “With a hybrid environment likely to be the norm for some years to come, and with more than one cloud provider equally likely for most enterprises, it is clear that the ability to move workloads between cloud(s) and on-premises data centres easily and simply is critical. The next couple of years will see companies go further into multi-cloud hybrid networking, with choice bringing complexity as well as business benefits. If not addressed, this has the potential to create application and data silos that perpetuate some of the problems the cloud set out to solve. We see our customers gaining great benefit from ensuring that their data is independent from both the application and the infrastructure, because it is this independence that gives them the agility they need in driving the biggest generational shift of technology the industry has yet seen.”
Campbell Williams, Group Strategy and Marketing Director, Six Degrees Group, “Businesses have continued to rapidly adopt cloud computing in 2016 and IT leaders have become more business focused. Now, IT is not just about “keeping the technology lights on”, it is a way to transform organisations. Cloud technology may have high levels of automation, but it doesn’t run itself. Businesses now realise that human expertise is central to the success of cloud strategies. Moving into 2017 we are seeing the growth of a broader ‘cloud culture’ where the influence of IT leaders is going far beyond just tech teams and instead going right into the boardroom. IT leaders in 2017 will have to be more business savvy than ever before and those in the boardroom will need to be receptive to this change."
Jon Lucas, Director at Hyve Managed Hosting, "Cloud computing has been one of the biggest tech topics of the year. Given the levels of hype, people could be forgiven for thinking that it’s already established a winning position in the technology industry. Yet, according to industry analyst IDC, cloud spending is some distance away from its peak, compared to investment in ‘traditional’ approaches to IT. Their estimates say it will be 2020, before spending on cloud services will come close to equalling what is spent on traditional IT. For IT users and purchasers, this will mean cloud will continue to dominate strategic technology decision making next year. For most, the debate has already gone far beyond whether they will use to cloud, to how they can use it more effectively in even more areas of their business. Businesses will also seek out greater expertise in order to optimise their use of cloud. The role of cloud and managed service providers will grow as IT teams shift their emphasis from the traditional role of ‘keeping the IT lights on’ to focusing on how tech can deliver bottom-line benefits."
Geoff Barrall, CTO, Nexsan. “Towards the end of 2016 we heard that vSphere-based cloud services will run on AWS in 2017, a move that shows the major players are preparing to accommodate customers in a hybrid cloud environment. No matter how far we look into the future, there will always be data too sensitive to trust to public cloud services. So whilst some companies will create a hybrid cloud strategy, and some may go all private, most companies, especially larger ones, will not risk their data to a 100% public cloud strategy. So what of file sync and share? Today’s NAS storage solutions have not kept up with the times, creating a gap between the worlds of the data centre and the connected mobile user. 2017 will see forward thinking companies not just creating secure file sync and share capability, but intertwining them with the company’s storage environment to avoid damaging or duplicating files. In essence, next year we will see the delivery of the data centre on the go.”
Jacco van Achterberg, EMEA Sales Director, Cloudian, "Last year we predicted that Amazon S3 would become the de-facto standard for cloud storage. The rise of S3 has helped drive the adoption of cost-effect object storage. Now, object storage is not just a niche market; people are using it in everyday life without realising, be it through social media, Netflix and many other outlets that rely on the service. S3 has turned object storage into an industry movement. Looking ahead into 2017, we are predicting a bigger migration of data to cloud environments with a focus on the deployment of hybrid public/private cloud solutions. With more companies looking to deploy a cloud storage solution, the protection and control over sensitive data will be a further driving force toward hybrid solutions."
Chris Brandon, Founder and CEO, Storage OS, “2016 saw the next evolution of container technology with the creation of persistent, highly available, scalable containers storage. Many SME and Enterprise customers have started to test and prepare these systems for production. In 2017, these developments will change the landscape not just for DevOps but for all enterprises wishing to drive down cost and decrease time to market. Containers are used to quickly build and deploy cloud native applications that run securely on multiple platforms or cloud providers’ environments. Users now require scalable, deterministic, low latency storage that can securely move data with the container based application between bare metal devices, virtual machines or cloud infrastructure. They also need to maintain the control of Service Levels and Compliance for these system. With persistent storage, containers can be used – not just for applications – but databases as well. In 2017, we will see even greater adoption of containers by service providers and enterprises of all sizes as companies continue to develop in the cloud. The winners will be the ones focused on leveraging existing investment and maintaining business control, while delivering ease of use and sophisticated integration to make developers lives easy.”
Paul Zeiter, President, Zerto,"Over the last few years we’ve seen previous predications around increased public cloud adoption come to fruition, and we predict 2017 will be the year hybrid cloud asserts itself as the dominant cloud environment. Cloud spending will continue to be on the incline, and we believe a majority of that spend will go toward hybrid cloud infrastructures; this is proving to be the sweet spot for the enterprise. Organisations that have spent a lot of time and resources on their own data centre are not likely to do away with it all overnight. Adopting a hybrid cloud environment allows for a transition to cloud in a way in which feels most comfortable; a gradual approach that can provide both immense cost savings as well as recovery benefits. Hybrid cloud allows for a variety of recovery options should the need arise, on-premises, public cloud or a little of both, which help companies be better prepared for a variety of disaster scenarios. Additionally, the perceived complication and expense of transitioning to cloud, that has previously held many IT organisations back, is now starting to whither. More and more companies are realising that adopting a hybrid cloud approach, with the right partners in place, can actually be quite simple and affordable."
Mark Plettenberg, Product Manager, Login VSI, "2016 saw an increase in the adoption of cloud services, but now users are going to raise expectations. More and more organisations are noticing that you either go completely to the cloud or you stay on premises since it’s just not an ideal situation to use a hybrid ‘half-and-half’ approach. Amazon and Azure make it seem easy to migrate, but businesses are realizing that even though they have a cloud environment, they have to manage it and update it continuously. In 2017, they will begin to wonder if they’re getting what they need in terms of performance and security. The cloud will not solve all of their problems and IT departments will need to have an exit strategy to avoid vendor lock-in. The end goal should not be getting all of the desktops in the cloud, but to be able to access data from anywhere.”