What can the IT industry expect this year? More of the same -- change
As the age-old saying goes: Change is the only constant in life. The same is particularly true for the IT industry. New technologies birth newer technologies and the cycle of exploration, innovation, and mastery continues on repeat. In my opinion, it’s one of the many perks of working in IT. Variety is the spice of life, to quote another cliche.
The last two years have been, let’s just say, especially spicy -- with all sorts of unexpected challenges and advancements. The year ahead is sure to bring about more of the same. While hindsight may be 20/20 when it comes to 2020 (and 2021), the trick for IT professionals, and the organizations that employ them, will be trying to stay ahead of the ever-changing curve in 2022.
Here are three IT trends and predictions to consider as we embrace the New Year, and all the change it will bring.
With slashed budgets, a need to avoid indoor spaces, supply chain constraints, and increased demands for agility with our delivery of IT services, cloud adoption has accelerated -- far more than most prognosticators expected back in 2020.
Most of this adoption has come across multiple different cloud platforms, leaving customers with a cloud version of the best-of-breed vendor sprawl many of us were used to in our data centers. This approach is neither good nor bad, but does require a different form of management versus deploying everything to a single cloud platform.
Many companies will spend 2022 wrestling with this new management approach. They will have to start selecting the right platform for each new workload they want to migrate to the cloud, based on multiple different criteria, including the performance, security, and cost implications of each platform. Management and visibility across platforms will also be key so that businesses can see the data they need to make these decisions.
Connectivity is another very real concern that companies will need to address when deploying into a multi-cloud architecture. Should they all connect via VPN or a dedicated connection? How do SD-WAN and SASE fit into these connections? Again, there can be huge performance, security, and cost implications in these decisions that will require a high amount of visibility and expertise to provide the best business outcomes.
Layered on top of all of this is the distributed nature many teams have taken on during the pandemic. That further changes the nature of the connectivity puzzle by dramatically increasing the number of nodes that must independently connect to the other parts of the infrastructure. It also affects how teams communicate and collaborate across the business. Much of this has been built ad-hoc and without the rigor IT teams generally want to apply to new architectural directions. 2022 will be a reckoning for many businesses and IT departments on whether, and if so how, they will enable long-term distributed work models.
The skillsets of individual team members must also be taken into consideration as we move into a more multi-cloud centered approach across the industry. Not everyone in the organization will need to interact with any given cloud provider, so the training of staff needs to be thoughtfully considered. Reorganization may be needed to align teams based on their skill sets, whether by consolidation or distribution.
Last, but certainly not least, we have security. Change has come quickly and constantly for security over the last couple years. All of the above will drive changes to the security model within an organization, but so too does the epidemic of ransomware and the increasing prevalence of large-scale targeted hacking attempts from distributed hackers-for-hire and nation states. The challenges of security are rapidly requiring highly specialized skill sets, which will force organizations to make staffing choices or to look at partnering with a provider in the rapidly growing security as a service space.
In the year ahead, organizations of all sizes are going to be faced with many, if not all, of these challenges. Some started before the pandemic. Many were forced to start earlier than they planned. Many others have simply been in survival mode and must make decisions soon. No matter which group you belong in, it is likely that the adoption of a multi-cloud is a good business decision, but the implications can be far reaching within an organization and should not be ignored.
As specialists in life’s lone constant, IT departments should be well positioned to deal with changes like these. We should all keep in mind, however, that these changes need to benefit the business in the end.
Brian Knudtson is Director of Cloud Market Intelligence at iland