By John Bidgood, CTO Systal Technology Solutions

It’s that time of year again – an opportunity to look back at the technology trends of the past year, and consider what looks likely to continue – and change – in 2019.  These are our tech predictions for 2019.

Three of the most significant enterprise technologies of recent years are inextricably tied with changing working practices: cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility solutions. As workers have become more mobile than ever before, expecting to be able to access the same tools and data from remote locations and on the move as they do in the office, so have technological solutions sprung up to support them.

These changes have gone hand in hand with the generation, storage and analysis of vast quantities of data – and, unsurprisingly, the increased profile of cybersecurity as a key business concern. Yet again, 2018 has seen a raft of high-profile security incidents and data breaches.

This concern for security is exacerbated by the increasing prevalence of cloud computing in enterprise environments, and the consequent lack of control that organisations may have over third-party platforms. This risk is only likely to get more complex in 2019, and any organisation with half an eye on protecting its corporate reputation needs to manage that risk accordingly.

The rise of SDN

Organisations are now able to deploy compute and storage resources for their critical applications more quickly and more cost-effectively than ever before. Throughout 2018, we have watched enterprise networks taking up the ‘compute and storage’ trend; deploying software virtualisation for crucial network and security components, and using software-defined networking (SDN) to achieve agility, scalability and comprehensive visibility.

By replacing the hardware-intensive IT infrastructures of the past with fully programmable and elastically scalable software-driven environments, SDN can have a dramatic effect on organisations’ ability to move quickly, innovate and develop new applications. We have seen software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs) reduce operational costs by around a third for some organisations. We predict 2019, therefore, to be dominated by requests for SD-WAN and SD-DC.

End-to-end SDE

As outlined above, cloud computing, the IoT and mobility solutions, coupled with a renewed focus on cybersecurity, have probably been the most significant enterprise IT trends of the past year. This is showing no signs of slowing, and we expect that to continue in very similar fashion in 2019.

However, underpinning this will be a gradual shift towards truly end-to-end Software Defined Environments (SDEs). This means compute, storage and networks working harmoniously together. It relies on sophisticated integration methods and a truly holistic approach to enterprise IT.

SDE is essential in a world where the rise of cloud computing and in particular hybrid cloud environments is encouraging organisations to consume IT resources ‘as a service’. This is ultimately more cost-effective and more agile and flexible for organisations.

Supporting multi-faceted and multi-layered environments

2019 will be dominated by truly multi-faceted and multi-layered corporate IT environments. This means that enterprise technology will be heavily focused on integration with existing providers, and delivering seamless visibility and control amidst complexity.

Enabling standardised, simplified and fully integrated SDEs is, therefore, how all forward-looking IT services providers need to be thinking. It looks likely that multiple vendor platforms will be consolidated to open-source, Linux-based operating systems to support this evolution.

Traditional skills to support the ‘underlay’ of these environments will still be required, but to enable this underlay to scale effectively, an overlay consisting of a software-driven control layer is necessary. The role of this layer is to facilitate on-demand, automatic and dynamic provisioning of the building blocks required by function-agnostic hardware. This could be extended to self-provision via business applications using APIs.

How to best control such dynamic and changeable environments? New management tools or ‘over the top’ Service Integrators look set to make noise in 2019 too. Contact us if you want to learn more.