My top 10 predictions for Hybrid IT in 2017

With 2017 well underway now and everyone slowly shaking off the festive lull, we’re starting to get a clear picture of what 2017 might look like for Hybrid IT.

Our research last year found the majority of IT leaders think Hybrid adoption is inevitable, and this year we can only expect the use of this approach to keep expanding and evolving.

On that note, here’s what I think will happen in the Hybrid IT world in the next 12 months…

1. Enterprise public cloud adoption will finally break cover

Every organisation will elect to support more than one cloud provider alongside their hyperscale vendor of choice to ensure they can properly manage service levels and security risks.

The challenges will come in the form of potential vendor lock-in, business risk and single sourcing risk, and overcoming these hurdles will be a big focus for IT organisations.

2. Event-driven architecture will gain more momentum

Microservices will play a much bigger role in Hybrid IT architecture this year as businesses make the most of increased efficiency and seek out new real-time use cases. A reactive, event-driven architecture will be essential to achieve this real-time approach.

Microservice architecture will also evolve from being a technical component to a business function, following the trend we’ve seen across the IT landscape.

The reuse of address lookup in web services is common today – imagine being able to use the same principle inside enterprise systems. This could massively reduce overheads and improve quality by sharing and integrating services.

3. Use of APIs will continue to grow

Enterprises will adopt application programme interfaces (APIs), not just for new digital projects and user interfaces but to sit at the heart of the business and unlock traditional systems with exciting new front ends and input methods.

As a result we’ll also see traditional enterprise systems becoming more securely accessible as public-facing services.

These enhanced and alternative methods of inputting data and using the system will transform the business by making data instantly available and, in turn, enabling enhanced automation.

The most exciting part of exposing these traditional systems by API is the ability to innovate and to easily create new business models and potential differentiation.

4. ‘Serverless computing’ will become an overused term

And also a misunderstood one!

But it will still be a hugely exciting topic for innovation. We can expect to see many more use cases created – APIs launching cloud resource that can achieve tasks in just seconds without the complex and expensive overhead of server infrastructure.

Entire libraries of actions could be produced – think the Alexa skills library but for business.

5. Multi-cloud management tools still won’t deliver the promised land

But the link between business and service versus technical provision will become even clearer.

We’ll see better integration of management and reporting tools with customers’ own top-level services. And where those services don’t exist we’ll see the acceleration of the service provision market (the likes of ServiceNow).

We can also expect to see social and incident-driven provisioning and deprovisioning come into play as artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics are increasingly placed on cloud-native applications to increase up-time and mitigate risk.

6. IoT will drive faster IT

The internet of things (IoT) will require more attention, as sensor-driven proofs of concept working across the business begin to require more rigorous management. This in turn will drive a need for faster Hybrid IT processes.

IoT will also begin to change and expand the managed service IT organisation.

Think about the processes involved in managing firmware, security patching or similar when it comes to IoT sensors – we can expect this responsibility to be pushed to the management teams in corporate IT departments or managed service partners.

7. Public cloud outage will cause concern

It’s likely we’ll see a significant public cloud outage this year that will threaten the momentum of mission-critical systems adoption and prompt organisations to reassess their needs.

The risk of cyberattacks will still be at the top of IT decision-makers’ minds – they’ll be aware of the need to adjust disaster recovery and business continuity processes to be cloud-aware and to better cope with global security risks.

As a result we’ll see testing of these areas become more important than ever as businesses begin to better understand what the proliferation of cloud means to their organisation.

With every company having typically more than 100 different public services in use today, business, legal and financial risk is clearly at stake.

Business leaders need to be asking what happens when (in the worst-case scenario) the internet goes down due to a terrorist attack or a hack. Will your cloud-enabled organisation be able to keep on running?

8. Better integration of SaaS and public cloud

I’m confident we’ll see much tighter integration of software as a service (SaaS) and public cloud proofs of concept this year.

Systems that allow for early adoption of new applications will become widespread, although this could in turn bring more challenges in terms of legal and reputational risk when it comes to data protection.

9. The shift to open-source will continue

As companies continue to adopt open-source applications we’ll see faster development and adoption that enables people to test and develop code anywhere, on any device.

Developers will be free to use platforms like Cloud Foundry, Openstack and Docker on their own laptops, enabling the easy promotion of code from those devices to the public and private cloud.

And with the resulting increase in compatibility and interoperability thanks to using open tools, risk and cost will be significantly reduced.

10. Data centre consolidation will accelerate

As more business applications are created or redeveloped to use in the cloud and remote office cloud solutions increase, we’ll see a greater number of organisations choosing to consolidate their data centres.

The business case for doing so is an easy one to make – a reduction in risk and cost and a gain in office real estate that offers quick return on investment.

We may see this being used to fund the acceleration of other business applications becoming cloud-native and mobile-centric.

And my final bonus prediction…

Security in the public cloud will become critical as enterprise adoption accelerates.

The use of dev-ops and multi-skilled delivery teams will create more risk, and the ease of being able to control network, security, servers and applications from a single set of tools and people means a new security approach will be needed.

It is inevitable that breaches of cloud-delivered services will occur in the coming 12 months, highlighting the need to adopt different processes and services to temper the risk of public cloud adoption.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below or join the discussion on Twitter.

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