2021 Predictions: Data Mobility Will Drive a New Cloud Paradigm

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Click to learn more about author Steve Costigan.

As we begin to think about shifting to a post-COVID-19 world, many businesses will enter a new dynamic in which digital transformation is accelerated. New applications will emerge, and IT will be central to this by enabling more instant access and portability of systems. The increased mobility of data will drive the emergence of a new cloud paradigm. Read on for a few specific predictions.

1. Data Mobility Will Accelerate Containerization

Many companies will look to run their entire business in containerized application deployments, driven by the emergence of persistent storage for containers. A key factor driving this transformation is data mobility. The need to move data from on-premises to the cloud or between clouds is a challenge that can be overcome with containers — and having a common platform will enable containerization to go to new levels in 2021. Containers will allow application and infrastructure architects to look beyond the virtual machine toward a standard unit of measure. No more wondering about which hypervisor (KVM, ESXi, Hyper-V, etc.) to use. Instead, companies can focus their attention on where the application needs to run to meet the business needs, be that at the edge or centrally.

2. Remote Data Access Will Bring New Life to VDI

With more people working from home, a key issue is controlling company/corporate data and how to allow safe access to data remotely. This is causing a new thought process around remote applications and access to them using a zero-trust methodology, which will, in turn, drive virtual desktop usage and create a rebirth of VDI. Remote desktop capabilities can ensure that key data stays within the corporate-defined boundaries. In fact, 451 Research has already noted a significant change in VDI usage during COVID-19. The number of companies that have increased remote desktop capabilities using VDI means it’s here to stay. However, solid protection mechanisms will need to be implemented alongside. Further options for driving VDI are things like workforce automation and desktop automation, which will allow simplified data entry tasks to be completed with automation (i.e., employees don’t need to be at their desks). Operating with zero trust means no device is automatically granted access, which is needed as more sophisticated ransomware attacks focus on remote desktop and poor user-level security.

3. New Use Cases for Object Storage Will Emerge

In 2021, we will see new use cases for object storage, which will drive the need for higher levels of performance. Driven by AI, ML, analytics, and the ready accessibility for a hybrid cloud world, new apps, automation systems, backup, and DR are all utilizing object storage — and its usage will continue to evolve. In the traditional storage world, working with file systems generally has a limited scale, or it’s extremely expensive to overcome the limitations. Large amounts of machine-generated data need to reside in a scalable, immutable infrastructure, especially to meet GDPR and PCI regulation demands for audit trails. Indeed, longtail data is being driven by large amounts of unstructured data — so there is a need to simplify sharing and scalability — but just adding storage to traditional storage systems does not meet the need to scale at the same rate. Object storage is the perfect mechanism to do just that.

4. Automation in the Spotlight

Expect 2021 to see a rise in the number of companies acquiring technology to help automate tasks. Businesses will not only define their automation processes by coding but by people developing processes and then automating from there using process building tools. This will lead to simplification and enhanced time to deployment. As the reliance on people to do things changes and there is more infrastructure as code and an automation of deployments, there will be a shift in IT skill requirements. Data input from many different systems will use ML and AI to deliver new infrastructure dynamically and scalably. The normal rules will still apply: manually defining the process, fixing any bugs, trying to automate in a universal way, but the ability to model “what if” scenarios will lead to significantly improved efficiency. 

COVID-19 has spurred major changes in the business world, where companies of all sizes have had to adjust quickly to support WFH and other challenges. Increased digital transformation will only accelerate in the months and years ahead.

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