Looking into the crystal ball

Network ME looks at the technology and networking trends expected to shape 2016

Tags: Allied Telesis (www.alliedtelesis.com)Cloud computingIDC Middle East and AfricaInternet of ThingsKaspersky LabQualys Inc (www.qualys.com/)Tripp Lite
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Looking into the crystal ball
By  David Ndichu Published  January 29, 2016

That 2015 has been a momentous year for tech goes without saying. From IoT taking root to Cloud going mainstream, not to mention the relentless growth of mobility, last year defined technology that will have major impact on technology development for years to come.

TNo one has more insights into IT and the networking industry than IDC. Citing the IDC FutureScape Top Technology Trends 2016 report, Megha Kumar, senior research manager, Software at IDC, notes that a lot of the major trends that will define 2016 are already well underway.

One of these is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which Kumar notes is now cannibalising the on-premise market. Telcos in the region are also re-orchestrating their operations to turn themselves into service providers. Indeed, mobile continues to be the device of choice that is driving innovation in the region, Kumar adds.

IDC expects the META ICT market spend to reach 270B in 2016, growing at a modest 3.6% as a result of the volatility in oil markets. The IT market specifically is expected to expand by 4.8% YoY in 2016. “These are some of the most conservative forecast that we have done for this region,” Kumar says. “A lot of this spending will be on software and IT services technology as companies decide to rationalise their spending. Many will also look at managed services as well as start to consider monetising software,” she adds.

Consensus though is that 2016 will build on the developments of 2015.

Sabbahuddin Khan, regional manager, Middle East for networking vendor Allied Telesis concurs, saying rather than new trends, the industry can expect new platforms to be developed, enabling the integration of IoT services. “The technologies we have are enough to promote those platforms. Moreover, many of them are not mature yet, so this development will require more investments. An example of this is SDN in the enterprise. The new platforms will be built around ecosystems and this will promote new innovation waves,” he adds.

The Internet of Things (IoT) was without a doubt the emergent technology in 2015. IoT will create a market opportunity of USD 7.03 billion in META in 2016, IDC predicts.

This spending will be driven by increased implementation of use-cases across industries. “We see a lot of organisations across the segments adopt IoT not just to boost productivity but also achieve efficiencies as they seek seamless process automation,” Kumar says.

Telcos will be called upon to work hard to ensure that the connectivity levels are available to ensure successful adoption of IoT, she observes.

Khan says we can expect the rate of growth of the Internet of Things to accelerate rapidly with millions of new IoT devices per day will be connected to networks in the coming year. This throws up some new challenges that the industry needs to grapple with as well, Khan notes. In particular, the challenge of managing a large numbers of devices and new security risks, as many IoT devices are developed in haste, on low budgets, with passing regard to security, Khan adds.

Allied Telesis, Khan says, is helping organisations tackle these challenges by bringing IoT devices under the umbrella of the embedded network management framework AMF, and delivering powerful security gateways in a convenient form-factor and appropriate price point.

IoT will also result in major discussions around governance, with questions being asked on who is going to protect IoT, says Kumar.  ‘Is it the job of the government to protect IoT or is it the prerogative of the organisation?’

Cloud continues on its relentless rise

IDC expects public cloud spending to cross USD 500 million in the region in 2016, driven by the need to turn IT spending to an “OPEX” model. “Public cloud will be seen as a way to overcome budget constraints, growing at 22.6% in 2016 as organisations consider whether they want to have all their applications on-premise or choose to move a lot of the non-critical applications to the public cloud,” Kumar says.

SaaS, IDC predicts, will form nearly 56% of the overall public cloud spend in the region. “Notably, some organisations are already moving core applications to the public cloud,” Kumar says. “A lot of organisations are focusing on what is core and moving a lot of the management and automation to public cloud service providers within this region.”

Cloud adoption will drive the demand for “cost optimised” infrastructure spending, IDC says. Most net new datacentre investments will leverage converged/hyper-converged infrastructures to support both public and private cloud deployments. This will result in converged Infrastructure investments in the region to cross USD 130 million in 2016 with a 3 year CAGR of 13.6% through 2018.

These converged solutions will move to replace reference architectures, says Hubert Yoshida, Chief Technology Officer, Hitachi Data Services (HDS). Instead of providing reference architectures detailing best practices for application enablement, vendors will begin to deliver these best practices as templates implemented through converged solutions. “The converged infrastructure offers a more evolved platform for deriving greater cost efficiencies and time savings by allowing IT resources to be managed more cohesively,” Yoshida says.

In addition to cloud, other Trends like SDN, Big Data and mobility have rapidly changed the face of the data centre industry over the past few years, says Alexander Khalaev, vice president of Sales, MENA, CIS and Baltics at Tripp Lite.  This shift has forced data centre solutions providers like Tripp Lite to adapt as priorities shift and demands change. “But the key to success in the industry has always been listening to customers’ pain points and developing new solutions that solve current problems and anticipate future ones. So data centre solutions providers have also helped shape how these megatrends are handled,” he adds.

It won’t be all smooth sailing in 2016 as cybercriminals who left a trail of online misery last year continue on their destructive path.

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