In 2019, with the real-time data wave, expect to see growth in technologies that will continue to remove complexity from the data center and its operation.
For an IT decision maker, simplicity, speed, and efficiency are paramount. While data center technology has advanced exponentially throughout the past year, it’s important to stay ahead of trends which will move the industry forward. In 2019, we expect to see growth in some specific areas which we anticipate will continue to remove complexity from the data center. These include machine learning enhancements, voice-activated solutions, and multi-cloud strategies.
The Growth of Machine Learning
Machine learning (ML) is a process of artificial intelligence (AI) which uses data analysis to identify patterns, improve processes, and independently adapt. ML technology is advancing rapidly, and IT managers are applying it to applications and data center management tools for greater efficiency and more optimal user experiences.
A current example of ML technology simplifying data center can be seen through customer and end-user ticket management techniques. Traditionally, if an individual has an issue with their desktop, they have to physically call their organization’s IT support. If IT support isn’t available, a queue mechanism directs the user to an answering system or web-based ticketing system.
ML is modernizing this process, in that if individuals have a desktop issue, they will soon have the option to interact with an ML interface to resolve their issue, saving enterprises and managed service providers (MSPs) time and resources. For larger issues, an ML interface can be used to gather basic details and relay them to IT personnel who will continue resolving the issue.
ML technology will be built into applications more and more, improving end-user experiences and evolving the skills needed by IT managers to oversee. IT managers should keep a close eye on new product launches, ML research (which is generated by industry analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester), ML learning conferences, and webinars to stay up to date on the latest ML management protocols.
The goal for IT managers is not to completely change the user experience through ML but to improve it in a way that still feels natural and easy for the user. To this end, IT managers should also pay attention to voice activation technologies.
Voice Entering the Enterprise
Voice activation is becoming more prominent in all areas of tech, and IT managers can harness this technology to solve data center issues more quickly and hands-free, making it ideal for the multitasking.
From an Enterprise perspective, this could benefit organizations through better end-user service, as voice-activated features make it easier and more convenient for end-users to articulate their requirements, challenges, or support issues. Voice activation technology transforms a complex user interface requiring a number of steps or mouse clicks into a natural voice interaction such as, “find user Joe’s VM.” Voice technology can essentially act as a virtual assistant for IT managers, allowing them to access data quickly, stay organized, improve search functionalities, and identify and resolve issues for themselves and other end-users they support.
Looking into 2019 and beyond, voice activation will likely impact dashboards, allowing them to be alert-driven and designed to focus on finding informational insights. For example, a user may ask questions directed at the dashboard which then updates in real-time as they interrogate the platform. In turn, the dashboard responds with an in-line interpreted data response. This method more closely mirrors a human interaction in comparison to solving problems or conducting searches manually on a dashboard.
IT managers will start to see a migration away from fixed dashboards towards voice-driven dashboards to make the overall user experience more seamless and data-driven. Additionally, companies should also look to stay nimble by applying multi-cloud platform strategies.
Orchestrating Between Cloud
IT managers are beginning to see the value in mixing on-premise, hyperconverged, and cloud technologies together to form an overall data center strategy. Initially, multi-cloud strategies gained popularity in their ability to protect systems against data loss or downtime as a result of localized component failure. If an organization experiences an outage or security threat, IT managers can lock that storage component and still run applications through another cloud portal. Many IT managers also prefer multi-cloud strategies as they combat vendor lock-in restrictions and regulations around specific enterprise data storage locations.
Essentially, multi-cloud computing allows organizations to create their own structure vs. relying on a one-stop-shop vendor which might have some of the desired capabilities but not all. Applications and workloads that move seamlessly between clouds offer organizations flexibility, the ability to prevent downtime or security threats, and allow them to scale more easily.
To conclude, in 2019 IT managers should look to implement and maximize strategies to simplify their work through ML features, voice activation technology, and cloud flexibility – and pursue the latest training and research around each. It’s an exciting time for IT managers and data storage gatekeepers, and the opportunities will only expand from here.