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Hot IT trends 2015: Experts speak out

Cloud, colocation, convergence and more. See where five IT pros predict these data center technologies are headed in 2015.

We saw a lot of data center technologies in 2014, but where are IT trends taking us in 2015?

In 2014, the third platform had a slow start. Giant IT companies drove server types, variety and complexity. Software-defined everything came from everyone and everywhere. More organizations adopted converged systems, and big data caused a storage restructuring.

Now that 2014's in the history books, experts predict how these data center trends will change and mature in 2015.

A lot more people will get to a point where their existing data center is too old and can't handle the business's needs -- Clive Longbottom, Quocirca

Most workloads in the cloud are driven by mobile and consumers, said Matt Eastwood, group vice president and general manager of enterprise platforms at analyst firm IDC based in Framingham, MA. Society is overwhelmingly consumer based -- smartphones keep everyone connected 24/7 -- and emerging markets are going straight to mobile in 2015.

Clive Longbottom of QuocircaClive Longbottom

The economy will decide whether the transformation to the third platform continues in 2015, Eastwood said. It also depends on the type of customer.

In 2015, many people will test the hybrid cloud to see if it works for them.

If the economy is stable enough to handle corporations changing their IT model, hybrid cloud will replace or supplement aging data centers, Longbottom said.

[While] large organizations are happy with white box servers, traditional enterprises are not -- Matt Eastwood, IDC

In 2015, companies will continue to invest in hyperscale IT. Big players will become bigger consumers and influences in the market, Eastwood said. For example, Intel is optimizing silicon for workloads other than Amazon.

Matt Eastwood works at IDCMatt Eastwood

Expect large organizations to adopt the disaggregated systems model, Eastwood said. Traditional companies prefer to buy the best brand, or perceived best brand, for a task, rather than branching into these original equipment manufacturers' white box servers. Still, enterprises recognized the value benefits of hyperscale data centers.

Although this style of operation will continue in 2015, movement will be slower, said David Cappuccio, managing VP and chief of research on infrastructure at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

The biggest issue is still looking at solutions for software defined networking, storage [and so on], when we only need one ring to rule them all -- Clive Longbottom, Quocirca

If budgets stay the same, software-defined everything (SDx) will go from lab concept to real data center technology at the same pace as last year. But there is potential for expansion."With [recent] cyber security issues, there will be more scrutiny on new technologies and on service providers to [approve] the technology, [which] is still maturing," said Pete Sclafani, CIO of 6connect Inc., a software-defined networking vendor in Palo Alto, Cali. "It has the ability to shift quickly, which is good and bad."

SDx will continue with greater levels of interoperability driven by heterogeneous software providers, Longbottom predicted. All these different options for software-defined data center components must understand each other and work together.

Hyper-converged [will] take over a bulk of the market, but not without some problems -- Christian Perry, TBR

Christian Perry is the senior analyst and content manager at TBRChristian Perry

Enterprise data centers with converged infrastructure are comfortable with it, and the future looks more consolidated.Hyper-converged is the way of the future, said Perry, senior analyst and content manager at Hampton, NH-based Technology Business Research, Inc.

Hyper-converged systems can cause islands -- data that are connected to each other but independent of other entities within the same data store. Scaling leads to problems around silos; in order to scale, you have to purchase more systems, Perry said.

People are negotiating harder for SSDs because they know the benefits and the price comparisons -- Pete Sclafani, 6connect

Pete Sclafani is CIO of 6connect IncPete Sclafani

The recent price drop in solid state drives (SSDs) allows for a broader storage strategy in the next few years. The price for SSDs will drop more against consumer technology in coming months, Sclafani predicted.

SSDs are used in hybrid designs where hard disk drives (HDDs) provide the bulk of the storage and in all-solid-state designs. While tiered/hybrid storage is still in the running, SSDs are more desirable for the data center than HDDs since you can put more underneath them, he said.

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