As 2019 comes to a close, we look back at the technology trends of the past 12 months and consider what looks likely to continue and change in 2020. So, here are our thoughts on technology predictions for 2020.

Three of the most significant enterprise technologies of recent years are inextricably tied with changing working practices:

  • Cloud computing
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Mobility solutions

If you had read our blog in 2019 you may ask what has changed? The answer is probably not a lot, other than a maturing and wider adoption of the trends we predicted in 2019.

In this CRN article, Gartner predicts technology trends for such things as “Hyper automation, blockchain, multi-experience, distributed cloud, autonomous things, artificial intelligence and democratisation.” But these only emphasise more than ever the dependency for even greater agility, security, resilient and robust IT solutions.

Yet again, 2019 saw a raft of high-profile security incidents and data breaches. Cyber security will continue to be an ever-key business concern in 2020 which impacts both reputation and revenue. Attacks will become even more sophisticated and harder to spot as they exploit the individual rather than an easier to spot systematic attack on the enterprise.

This concern for security is exacerbated by the increasing prevalence of cloud computing in enterprise environments. The consequent lack of control that organisations may have over multiple third-party platforms that together form the service.

Cloud computing, the IoT and mobility solutions, coupled with cyber security, show no signs of slowing, and we expect that to continue in very similar fashion in 2020.

The rise and convergence of SDN and Edge Computing

Organisations are now able to deploy compute and storage resources for their critical applications more quickly and more cost-effectively than ever before.

Again in 2019, 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) meet its promise of reducing operational costs.

We predict 2020 to continue to be dominated by requests for SD-WAN but also coupled with combined edge computing. The focus on the edge currently stems from the need for Internet of Things (IoT) systems to deliver disconnected or distributed capabilities due to them using increasingly sophisticated AI devices.

By combining the two together, edge computing will keep the traffic and processing local in order to reduce latency and exploit the capabilities of the edge.

Software Defined Environments and Automation

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

So, alongside the convergence of SDN and edge computing there will be a gradual shift to link these “islands” of convergence towards a truly end-to-end Software Defined Environments (SDEs). This will facilitate increasing automation for deploying, provisioning and running IT services. But means that compute, storage and networks will have to work harmoniously together.

Whilst edge computing will create an unstructured architecture consisting of a wide range of “things”, the services will need to be connected to a set of distributed cloud services. To link these together we will need a flexible mesh that relies on sophisticated and potentially automated integration methods.

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.

More Private Cloud

At first this may seem a strange predication. But as we have seen a wider adoption of public cloud options, we have also seen a realisation that public cloud is not for everyone.

Mismatch expectation on cost, levels of simplicity, and time/cost required to build, migrate and integrate with existing IT services has meant a dedicated private cloud could be attractive.

When private cloud technology is combined with innovative finance options that offer “a pay as you grow” commercial approach, a dedicated private cloud hosted in an existing data centre or co-lo becomes a realistic proposition. If required there are multiple 3rd parties that offer such as service.

Supporting multi-faceted and multi-layered environments

Today’s IT operations are 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.

We have seen major operational outages, that have been caused by increasingly hard to predict changes as organisations migrate from traditional platforms. There are fewer and fewer organisations with a single view of their end to end IT operation. Which means it is harder to assess and predict change and then perform “root” cause analysis when something goes wrong.

This risk is only likely to get more complex in 2020, and any organisation with half an eye on protecting its corporate reputation needs to manage that risk by either investing in-house or working with partners that can.

How to best control such dynamic and changeable environments? New management tools using artificial intelligence combined with automation to predict and control problems will make noise in 2020. Enabling and supporting the road map to support these technology challenges is something that Service Integrators like Systal can help. Contact us if you want to learn more.