And the Survey Says… Upcoming Trends That Will Transform the Data Center

Flying cars. Hover trains. We’ve all seen predictions of the new technologies coming our way in the next several years. Security is no different. Remember the prediction that by 2010 there would not be a security market, because everything will have security built natively in? Or that software defined networking (SDN) will kill the traditional switch vendors, and everyone would shift all their computing to the cloud? To cut through the hype, we decided to gather our own data to make predictions about the future of the data center.

It’s obvious that there are differing views about how quickly the market is moving to the cloud, and how prepared organizations are for this transformation.

To see for ourselves, we surveyed 170 of our top enterprise customers to get their thoughts on the growing complexity of data centers and what’s driving some of the change. Here are some of the highlights. 

Is Everyone Moving Their Data Centers to the Cloud? 

Even for those who aren’t rushing to a cloud-first strategy, there is a growing “cloud also” approach. We’ve started to call this the hybrid cloud data center. 52.4% of our respondents have already deployed some public cloud workloads, with another 60.2% looking to deploy more in the next 12 months. This has to be balanced against the 84.1% of respondents who have a private physical infrastructure and the 55% looking to deploy workloads in their own virtualized environments.

What type of data center has your organization deployed? This diagram is a visualization of survey results.

What’s the Top Trend? 

An obvious trend is the move to a hybrid cloud, with many organizations looking to make their private data centers more “cloud” like. This is backed up by the 70% of respondents who are looking to deploy an SDN or hyper converged infrastructure. Once organizations reach this tipping point, it will be much easier to move workloads between the public and private clouds. This will open up the market for cost-based workload location brokers.

What technologies are you deploying or looking to deploy in your data center in the next 12 months? The diagram shows the results of a survey.

What Are the Big Roadblocks? 

The top answers were security and complexity, with protecting the workloads wherever they go being the most challenging. The issue of complex management and especially the complexity of managing security appears to be the major roadblock. The way that many organizations have deployed security over the last 15 years is by creating defense in depth with multiple vendors. This has made transforming IT and simplifying security a complex challenge. 

Here is my prediction, and it’s not as much of a leap as flying cars or hover trains: Businesses can only transform if they move to a security model that is consistent across all environments. To do this simply, they must stop creating rules and policies based on IP addresses and TCP ports and shift to an application and user-based model. To secure the hybrid cloud environment, we all have to think in terms of the cloud and transform our security to a simpler model.

To find out more, download our handy infographic, “3 Trends Transforming the Data Center.”