Infrastructure and Operations

Research firm Gartner, Inc. highlighted the trends that infrastructure and operations leaders must start preparing for to support digital infrastructure in 2020. The findings were presented at the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference earlier this month.

“This past year, infrastructure trends focused on how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) or edge computing might support rapidly growing infrastructure and support business needs at the same time,” said Ross Winser, senior research director at Gartner. “While those demands are still present, our 2020 list of trends reflect their ‘cascade effects,’ many of which are not immediately visible today.”

Going into 2020, Winser encouraged leaders in the industry to switch their focus. Rather than having a mindset of keeping the lights, transition to start preparing for the 10 key technologies and trends that are likely to impact support for digital infrastructure in the new year.

Gartner’s Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations

Gartner’s 10 trends they have identified as impacting infrastructure and operations in 2020 include:

  1. Automation Strategy Rethink
  2. Hybrid IT Versus Disaster Recovery (DR) Confidence
  3. Scaling DevOps Agility
  4. Infrastructure Is Everywhere — So Is Your Data
  5. Overwhelming Impact of IoT
  6. Distributed Cloud
  7. Immersive Experience
  8. Democratization of IT
  9. Networking — What’s Next?
  10. Hybrid Digital Infrastructure Management (HDIM)

While all of the predictions above are critical for infrastructure and operations leaders to understand, we wanted to take this time to dive deeper into four of the top trends we believe will impact the industry the most.

#1. Hybrid IT Versus Disaster Recovery Confidence

“Today’s infrastructure is in many places — colocation, on-premises data centers, edge locations, and in cloud services. The reality of this situation is that hybrid IT will seriously disrupt your incumbent disaster recover planning if it hasn’t already,” Winser said.

Gartner has found that many times organizations are relying too heavily on “as a Service (aaS)” offerings. Here is can be easy to overlook optional features necessary to establish the correct levels of redundancy. For instance, by 2021, the root cause of 90 percent of cloud-based availability issues will be the failure to fully use cloud service provider native redundancy capabilities, according to their report.

“Organizations are left potentially exposed when their heritage disaster recovery plans designed for traditional systems have not been reviewed with new hybrid infrastructures in mind. Resilience requirements must be evaluated at design stages rather than treated as an afterthought two years after deployment,” said Winser.

Without a business continuity or disaster recovery plan that aligns with your hybrid infrastructure, you are risking mission-critical systems, applications, and irreplaceable data. Aside from the threat of natural disasters, common mishaps like equipment failure can put a halt to operations and damage your reputation.

In an always on world, every second of downtime counts. As the years tick by, we expect uptime to be guaranteed. A redundancy strategy that seamlessly responds to IT abnormalities and interdependencies across all cloud resources can mean the difference between quickly resuming normal operations and lengthy disruption.

Disaster Recovery in the Hybrid Cloud

In order to best achieve redundancy, you must have a copy of your data that can be accessed immediately on-site, as well as a copy located off-site. Using the hybrid cloud helps in this situation by providing the secondary off-site backup location.

Another reason why disaster recovery in the hybrid cloud is essential is scalability. When your business grows, you want your IT infrastructure to grow with it. When operating in the cloud, organizations can scale as needed. No matter where your business is in size now or in the next decade, you can deploy multiple virtual servers and operate numerous recovery sites if necessary.

#2 Infrastructure Is Everywhere — So Is Your Data

“Last year, we [Gartner] introduced the theme of ’infrastructure is everywhere’ that the business needs it. As technologies like AI and machine learning are harnessed as competitive differentiators, planning for how explosive data growth will be managed is vital,” Winser said. In fact, by 2022, 60 percent of enterprise IT infrastructures will focus on centers of data, rather than traditional data centers, according to Gartner.

“The attraction of moving selected workloads closer to users for performance and compliance reasons is understandable. Yet we are rapidly heading toward scenarios where these same workloads run across many locations and cause data to be harder to protect. Cascade effects of data movement combined with data growth will hit infrastructure and operations folks hard if they are not preparing now,” Wisner said.

How to Protect your Moving Data

Ensure the availability and integrity of critical applications and data in the event of a disaster through continuous replication that captures all changes as they occur. Consider the following:

  • Real-time replication
  • Write-order fidelity
  • Any-point-in-time recovery

#3 Networking — What’s Next?

In most cases, network teams have shined in delivering highly available networks, which is most often achieved through careful change management. At the same time, the pace of change is tough for I&O to keep up with, and there are no signs of things slowing down.

Winser said that the continued pressure to keep the lights shining brightly has created unexpected issues for the network.

“Cultural challenges of risk avoidance, technical debt and vendor lock-in all mean that some network teams face a tough road ahead. 2020 needs to be the time for cultural shifts, as investment in new network technologies is only part of the answer” Wisner said.

SD-WAN Technologies On the Rise

For a while, Multi-Protocol Labe Switching technologies (MPLS) allowed carriers to focus on deploying IP networks that could support both public internet and private WANs across the same infrastructure and lines. MPLS VPNs (a private IP network encapsulated using labels over a public IP network) were the dominant technology to deploy a WAN from 2005 through 2015. Since then, they have seen a sharp decline as SD-WAN technologies have matured and become more widely deployed.

This recent technology shift has refocused buying trends towards the internet. This is a result of the internet being the dominate of connectivity and communication for both public and private applications.

Advances in machine learning and inexpensive high-performance processors in today’s routers allow SD-WAN algorithms to make routing decisions. These decisions are not only based upon available paths but the best performing path in real-time.

This means a link does not need to fail for the SD-WAN router to shift traffic. It only needs to be degraded. Traditional routing protocols only re-route on a failure of a path, whereas SD-WAN routers can force a routing decision based upon performance data of the application as packets flow through the internet or between SD-WAN sites.

Additionally, the performance data collected about each link can be used to help businesses make better purchasing decisions with internet carriers. It can also make data-driven decisions about the viability and performance of their applications and businesses process.

Currently, network allowing businesses to have it all. By leveraging SD-WAN as a core technology, visibility is back in the hands of enterprises. Buying connectivity from multiple carriers helps to lower costs.

#4 Hybrid Digital Infrastructure Management

As the realities of hybrid digital infrastructures kick in, the scale and complexity of managing them is becoming a more pressing issue for infrastructure and operations leaders.

“This is an emerging area, so organizations should be wary of vendors who say they have tools that offer a single solution to all their hybrid management issues today. Over the next few years, though, we expect vendors focused on HDIM to deliver improvements that enable IT leaders to get the answers they need far faster than they can today,” Wisner concluded.

Let us Help Solve Disaster Recovery in the Cloud for You

What would happen to your mission critical infrastructure and data if a disaster were to hit this very second? Are you prepared? If not, or if you’re in need of a better disaster recovery solution. Thankfully, LightEdge can help. Now that modern IT practices have started to blend physical with virtual, and cloud with on-premises, safeguarding your applications and data requires several tools and methods.

From a dedicated physical infrastructure to a virtual delivery model, we’ve got the compliant cloud and hosting solution for your organization. Retain the level of control you want, and the amount of data isolation you require.

LightEdge is committed to keeping our customers’ IT operations, critical applications, and data protected. We provide the technology and resources our customers require to get back to a production state that meets their RTO and RPO requirements.

LightEdge offers a comprehensive set of disaster recovery solutions to ensure uninterrupted performance of IT operations and mission-critical systems in the event of a disaster.

The reliable availability of business IT is essential to the management and livelihood of every company, large or small. All elements hinge on the dependability of your technology to deliver vital information right when you need it.

Redundancy is built into each of our data centers located in Des MoinesKansas CityOmaha, Austin and Raleigh  facilities. Each of our LightEdge facilities strive to deliver more than traditional data centers. We have created true Hybrid Solution Centers designed to offer a complete portfolio of high speed, secure, redundant, local cloud services and managed gateways to public clouds through our hardened facilities.

Want to learn more about LightEdge’s disaster recovery and business continuity services? Contact one of our disaster recovery experts to get started or to schedule your private tour of any of our data center facilities. We have disaster recovery, colocation, and business continuity experts standing by to answer any of your questions.

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