Emerging Technology Trends and Business Opportunities for Solution/Service Providers

The business landscape is changing due to rapid technology changes. Innovation, technology and product life cycles are getting shortened; business use cases and application scenarios are changing swiftly due to globalization and technology integration. Organizations need to be flexible to quickly adapt to these emerging trends and be nimble to respond to changing market dynamics.

Emerging technology trends such as Software Defined everything, Object Storage, Flash, Cloud, Converged Infrastructure, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Internet of Things, Big Data analytics etc. are becoming more and more relevant with the emergence of multiple data streams. These innovative trends are transformational and are likely to shape the future.

Trends and Opportunities:

1. Software defined everything

Software defined everything will result in true interoperability standards, forcing individual technology suppliers to abandon working in silos with proprietary standards. Service providers can only offer value if they have the capability to offer all the constituents of computing, storage and network.

Some of the opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Software Defined Storage (SDS)
• Supporting software defined storage applications from leading storage vendors
• Support these SDS products to extend them to other platforms and make them feature rich, enable integration with other ecosystems etc.
• Building test strategy, tools and frameworks and various types of testing opportunities
• Software Defined Networking (SDN)
• Network orchestration and automation, manage and implement SDN in enterprise data center
• Professional services such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) implementation consulting or SDN and NFV testing for telecom vendors

2. Flash

Flash technology will definitely show an uptick in the 3-5 year horizon. One has to stay invested in terms of money, time. There may not be much of immediate progress in Flash adoption by enterprises due to the prohibitive cost, stable legacy set up, evolving enterprise features. Hence, most enterprises are still in the experimental phase, but there are lots of business opportunities.

The below trends represent some of the opportunities for solution/service providers:

• Most flash players are start-ups and would like to keep core work in-house and outsource peripheral activities
• Immense product engineering opportunities will lie with the big industry players in the form of testing wherein they plan to move products from existing legacy to all flash based platforms
• Flash storage OEMs are consuming PCIe based cards, AHCI and NVMe interface and most of these solutions are targeted towards cloud service providers

3. Object storage

Enterprises are inspired by the Internet companies’ adoption of object storage. Demand for object storage is driven by big data challenges of storing and analyzing a huge amount of data to provide value to the business.

Factors driving growth of object storage

• amassed unstructured data
• ease of accessibility via HTTP and SMTP protocols and REST APIs
• growing trend of organizations building their private or hybrid clouds
• software-defined storage (SDS) approach

Some of the opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Ongoing integration of newer versions of OpenStack swift with existing storage products
• Mergers and acquisitions happening in the object storage industry, which will result into new product acquisitions by large storage vendors. This opens up product integration opportunities for service providers

4. OpenStack

OpenStack is moving beyond the early adoption as more and more enterprises and service providers are moving towards its adoption. Telecom space will drive growth for OpenStack. Openstack is the main driver for NFV thus helping it to become a reality.

Some opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Provide storage vendors to enable their storage for OpenStack
• Help enterprises setup their OpenStack cloud, offer professional services
• Large storage vendors are building platforms with OpenStack using proprietary underlying infrastructure. It opens up integration and automation opportunities

5. Server SAN

Server SAN is poised to disrupt traditional storage architectures over the next decade. It involves sharing and distributing storage across multiple nodes. It is an architecture that turns multiple direct-attached storage (DAS) devices into a pool of shared resources via a high-speed interconnection such as InfiniBand or Low-latency Ethernet.

Some of the Server SAN solutions include EMC ScaleIO, VMware’s VSAN, and Quantum StorNext. One needs to follow this trend and see which of the existing solution gains momentum and is likely to emerge as a front runner.

6. BYOD

Businesses are implementing BYOD to save costs on software and hardware or to address the expectations of their mobile workforce. Provisioning of all of these devices is a Herculean task.

Some of the opportunities for solution and service providers include:

• Solution accelerators and automation frameworks in area of desktop virtualization, image management, Content collaboration and Bring Your Own PC solutions
• In mobile cloud era, the user is increasingly beginning to rely on endpoints, devices with very limited processing power, smaller screens, maybe no keyboard which makes manageability an area to explore.

7. Hyper/Converged Infrastructure

Massive improvements in processing power are driving converged infrastructure trend and reason for quicker adoption of it by data centers. All major infrastructure providers are moving towards the converged space. Many industry players are competing for significant market share in converged infrastructure space to uproot legacy installed base or protect own share of the market pie. It includes majors such as HP, EMC, IBM, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, VMware, VCE and start-ups like Scale Computing, SimpliVity and Nutanix.

There are two trends emerging:

• Hyper-converged Infrastructure – One vendor builds an entire infrastructure by taking all the various pieces that make up a traditional infrastructure in the market today and put it in a box. It is entirely seamless.

• Converged infrastructure – Vendor takes the fundamental pieces of storage, network, compute and server virtualization, possibly from different companies, perhaps put a management layer on top of it to make the deployment and the management of those pieces easier and make them operate as a whole.

Opportunities for solution/service providers are in the area of consulting, design, implementation, and management services related to private and hybrid cloud deployments.

8. Internet of Things (IoT)

Other related terms for IoT used by industry giants are Industrial Internet by GE, Internet of Everything (IoE) by Cisco, and Smart Planet by IBM.

IoT is being driven by a huge increase in data volumes collected from various types of sensors deployed by business, and business benefits provided by the analysis of sensor data.

9. Big Data Analytics

There will be competition to develop optimized cloud platforms which can leverage real-time data streams and/or massive data as enterprises look for varied data sources as well as applications that help them to get insightful information about the markets, customers, and products.

Opportunity for solution/service providers to offer Big Data implementation and analytics outsourcing services is huge. Some of the opportunities include:

• Professional services related to big data like data migration among platforms, maintenance etc.
• Opportunities such as Big Data technology implementation, including data collection, integration and designing of Big Data architecture etc.
• Log and sensor analytics are also gaining traction as very insightful information can be drawn using them. It opens up opportunity for data science specialists.

10. Cloud Computing

Cloud promises a growth on every front be it IaaS, SaaS, PaaS or customized security.

Businesses are adopting a cloud-based infrastructure due to the upsurge of Hybrid cloud architectures which include an amalgamation of private and public clouds

Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions allows businesses to lower IT costs. It speeds up application development through more efficient testing and deployment.

Security policies need renewed attention with cloud-based applications are growing and taking over businesses. Hence there is increased demand for security solutions to bring new exemplars of security to the cloud.

Some of the opportunity areas for solution/service providers can be:

• PaaS enablement services, application re-engineering and migration services, assessment, advisory services etc.
• Consulting services requiring strategic direction and guidance in a broad range of areas which will help organizations to migrate critical systems and infrastructure to the cloud

The pace at which technology is driving the change is phenomenal. It is inspiring new business strategies across industries. Organizations are embracing technology to draw meaningful insights from their operations and leveraging it to explore growth and revenue opportunities.

The trend is turning into a demanding environment where companies are seeking more returns from their technology investments. This represents a unique opportunity for solution/service providers wherein they can help companies maximize their return on investment through their offerings.

In summary, solution/service providers must adapt to these emerging technologies and quickly grab immense business opportunities emerging out of it.