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Here’s what 2017 holds for the data centre industry

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Scanrail1)

Last year laid the groundwork for what we are set to see in the data centre during 2017. There has been a general reluctance to talk about application development for the cloud. People simply weren’t ready. But in 2016, these conversations started taking place, and in 2017 we’re set to see a significant trend towards cloud application development.

Within the context of increasing numbers of organisations moving large IT operations into the cloud during 2016, this makes sense. It is a natural follow on development. People are beginning to understand that the value is apparent, the technology is solid, and the opportunity is clear.

Moving on application builds

Developers can get moving on application builds without having to wait for hardware and software to show up in the data centre, applications can be quickly put into production and it’s easier to collaborate with other developers, architects, and designers.

Related to this is a growing interest in bare metal servers for the cloud market. Designed for high density data centre workloads and thriving on tasks like container-based applications, data processing, threaded application workloads and network heavy functions such as load balancing, these bare metal servers are expected to prove popular for developers. In essence, bare metal offers low cost flexibility which is clearly compelling. 

Hybrid cloud gathers pace

The hybrid cloud market will also become more prominent. While the benefits of cloud computing are clearly compelling, people still want to retain a sense of ownership and control. They still want a private, single tenancy cloud. They want to know where their data is, have the ability to tap into cloud functionality, but also scale into the public cloud when required.

It’s a big psychological step to farm out IT operations entirely to the cloud. However, with a hybrid environment in which on-premises private cloud and third-party public cloud are mixed together with orchestration between the two, organisations retain a sense of control while benefiting from infrastructure savings. 

Another area that is garnering interest and is set to become a driving dynamic in the coming year is security developments. One of the first things people would say about the cloud was ‘it’s not secure’’. Now the market has accepted that clouds can be secure, it’s still something that needs to be front of mind. 

Advanced protection

In 2017 we’re set to see a move towards advanced protection based on behavioural analytics where cloud service logs are scanned in real time and flags raised when anomalies are detected. 

For instance, if someone usually logs into a VPN between the hours of 9 and 5 and then a log-on takes place at 10 in the evening, this is detected and flagged. Or if traffic is coming from and going to an unknown international IP address, this too is flagged. 

Another area that is set to become more marked during 2017 is defending against distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). Last year saw some big DDoS attacks, most notably one in which some of the world’s most popular websites were taken offline in the US.

Stopping DDoS attacks

Behind cost savings, efficiency is the second biggest driver for cloud adoption. Organisations are interested in running big loads that require mega-watts of power, so cost and efficiency saving are welcomed. 

This is also set to drive a growing popularity for platform-as-a-service, essentially server-less computing. For example, instead of running a server with an OS and database platform, you could just provision a datbase PaaS service and never have to worry about the maintenance of the OS and database platform.

QoS for verticals

An important new element we’re focusing on is offering Quality of Service (QoS) around hybrid clouds in specific verticals. It used to be that QoS management presented challenges for cloud applications. At a general level we’ve addressed this and are now offering QoS for specific verticals such as healthcare and retail for guaranteed performance, availability and reliability. 

Lastly, another issue that will become prominent in 2017 is avoiding vendor lock in. 

Avoiding vendor lock in

But in tandem with this is a concern about getting locked in with platforms such as AWS and Azure. For some time, companies have made big efforts to avoid vendor lock-in when designing IT infrastructure. 

This is now extending to the cloud with justifiable concerns around costs that could spiral out of control, differing standards and a one-size-fits-all approach. This is why there is also such an interest in a hybrid approach in which a mix of public and private clouds and on premises systems come into play, enabling customers to retain autonomy. 

Overall, we expect to see accelerated growth for a hybrid infrastructure approach, given that customers can combine public, bare metal, and private cloud environments to get the best hybrid solution for their organisation. 

Susan Bowen, VP & GM, EMEA, Cogeco Peer 1
Image source: Shutterstock/Scanrail1

Susan Bowen
Susan is the General Manager and Vice President of Cogeco Peer 1, who are a globally recognised specialist provider of colocation, network connectivity, managed hosting, cloud and managed services.