2019 was in many was a rather dull year. For many of our clients the uncertainty of the political landscape saw no real dramatic changes to their IT infrastructure other than the need to maintain day to day availability of business critical applications expanding storage requirements and ensuring security remains tight.
Our acquisition of Mobius Business Solutions back in May 2019 saw us dive deeper into the world of virtualisation by expanding our capability around VMware, AWS and Microsoft Azure. For many of our existing client this new found capability on offer has coincided with a strengthening desire to improve off site storage and disaster recovery.
Technology changes such as ‘Software defined Storage’ or SDS and ‘Hyper converged Infrastructure’ have also seen considerable take up among the Enterprise and SMB markets, as the early adopters prove ROI. This is helping to increase competition between vendors, resulting in prices reducing. Many of our clients are now enjoying up to 50% cost reduction in previous years in off site data storage thank to Software defined Storage architecture. As data center costs continue to sore we think SDS could be on the January shopping lists for many a system admin looking to increase their storage capability but reduce their costs.
2019 saw a number of credible new products enter the enterprise server market. HPE, Hitachi & Lenovo have all provided us with the results of years of investment. The landscape now provides many options for those seeking assurance of 100% uptime guarantees combined with SMB market costs. We see the increase in competition as a good thing, as cost are driven lower and performance is pushed higher. Cost have reduced so low that many of our clients are now renewing before their contractual renewal date and for some 2019 offered a perfect time to switch to a managed service offering based on reduce TOC compared to in house management.
So what will happen in 2020? Where do we think our clients will invest in the next 12 months?
Hosted business critical applications
Corporate data consumption continues to grow, as many business applications recognize this trend, the market is now starting to offer hosted alternatives to on premise licensing. For many of our clients the idea of a single supplier for both application and infrastructure remains too risky. Preferring to continue their approach of self hosting in order to assure user availability, data sovereignty and security.
Off site public storage price drop
The 3 main public cloud providers continue to compete to offer more attractive storage deals. As AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google battle it out we all benefit. We predict that pricing will level out as user adoption reaches its peak in 2020. For many of our clients public cloud continues to offer a cost efficient way to manage data storage.
Software led infrastructure
Many of our client are under increased pressure to present new ways to reduce infrastructure costs. Software defined storage and hyper converged infrastructure offers a realistic way to significantly maximize hardware investment and reduce TOC. During 2019 over 30% of our projects where related to a hyper converged or software defined storage initiative. We think that many more will follow in 2020 as the market trend setters are replace by the mass adoption followers.
Last word on AI
Many of our clients have been looking at AI and trying to work out how they could benefit. As 2019 saw many companies scratching their heads trying to work out how they leverage their data, we’ve seen the emergence of many early adopters prove that AI and machine learning algorithms indeed do have the power to provide accurate, prescriptive actions that can improve an applications agility and an end users productivity.
For many AI remains elusive. Suffering from lack of credible case studies where traditional BI has seen significant improvement to justify any sort of POC investment. As major AI projects get underway in public projects related to science, highways and consumer trends, 2020 may just start to see an increase in how we currently perceive AI projects as tangible results are shared, and the benefits of AI are better understood by those able to make the significant investment required to make it a reality.
Data consumption continues to grow as predicted when the term ‘Big Data’ was first used some 10 years ago. We continue to store the data we produce in the hope that one day we can use it to predict behavior and therefore influence the results.
Major IT commentators are already promising that 2020 will see AI drive the technology economy beyond that of 2019. However, for most, AI will remain a watch word and will remain so until the business world can realise it’s benefits that have been seen by the on line consumer world.