2016 feels like it’s going to be an amazing year, product time to market and the adoption curve appear to be shrinking and if I had to speculate it’s only going to accelerate this coming year. The big equalizer for businesses this year is change. You can either embrace it and hopefully come out on top or you can stay the course and weather the coming storm. Both have inherent risk but I believe doing nothing is no longer the safer bet.
With that being said, I’ll go first by making some predictions and observations. BTW, a lot of people like to make yearly predictions, some of them actually sound plausible and others not so much. Full disclosure here – A lot of my predictions are partly based on what I’d like to see happen.
2016 Go Big or Go Home – Security, Security, Security.
In case I did not say it enough, this will be a huge year for cyber security. Cisco has recognized that simply having a security appliance is not enough and has refocused its strategy in order to reclaim market share from its competitors like Palo Alto Networks and FireEYE. Cisco has made some pretty significant investments in security companies like Sourcefire, OpenDNS, Lancope and for the first time I’m really impressed with what Cisco is doing to reclaim mind share. But what has impressed me the most is how they are enabling deep visibility via the FireSIGHT Management Console, you can’t protect what you can’t see.
Prediction: Here’s what I see happening in the next 2 years. Customer data will no longer be the biggest risk we see in health care but instead patient health will be the biggest risk. Imagine a hacker shutting down a life support system – Scary right? This is really going to come to center stage and scare the hell out of people.
New Storage Tier – Sub-Zero
All-Flash-Arrays will be dethroned as the tier 0 storage appliance. Sounds crazy right? These things have only recently become prolific and already a new technology is positioning itself to rival its performance. Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) is a new class of storage media. It’s way faster than (NAND) flash, slower than RAM, but it is non-volatile (retains data when powered off). You might have already heard of this technology when Intel / Micron announced it last year – called 3D XPoint.
I’m not going to argue that a small hyper-converged appliance doesn’t sound great, especially for a small business and to be honest it’s a viable alternative for such a use case. But from what I’ve seen once you start to scale these things out, your cost model start model starts to weaken and you’re left with a more complex environment to manage than the traditional converged solutions. So unless you don’t plan to scale these things past 6 nodes, do yourself a favor and seriously look at VCE VBLOCK. For those of you who insist that it costs too much, maybe its time to look for a new partner as well ;). But seriously, the cost difference when comparing apples to apples is negligible (Hyper Converged scaled out past 8 nodes) you will also see diminishing returns.
Data Center Networking – Need for Speed
Towards the end of 2016 we will see 25Gb Ethernet coming out like Conor McGregor going after Jose Aldo. Consider the following, 25Gb Ethernet cabling is about the same cost structure as 10Gb Ethernet at 2.5X the performance. On top of that it’s backwards compatible with 10G (uses the same SFP-type connector). Just remember you heard about it here first.
Reduce Complexity – Easier to say…
A big push for several companies this year will be the drive to reduce complexity. Driven by the business objective to reduce MTTR (Mean time to Resolution). The problem business will face is not enough resources or simply not leveraging the right tools. Most organizations know what needs to get done, unfortunately they just don’t have enough resources or the appropriate tools to get it done. The only viable alternative which can help accomplish this goal, without trying to boil the ocean is to embrace configuration management (CM). Unfortunately, this space is crowded and some of the products like Chef and Puppet require an understanding of Ruby, which is something most sys admins and network engineers are not even remotely familiar with. Great for developers, but a jagged pill to swallow if you don’t have a coding background. The alternative is SALT, which leverages YAML. YAML is a markup language with many powerful features. YAML is a very easy language to work with. It is very easy for people to read and understand. If you are considering implementing a CM this year, I strongly encourage you take a close look at SALT.
This is looking to be another big year for technology and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top.