According to Gartner, 80 percent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centers by 2025 versus only 10 percent today. Additionally, the firm predicts the worldwide public cloud market will grow nearly 40 percent between 2017 and 2019.
It’s clear that cloud migration has reached a tipping point, but for many businesses, the prospect of data center optimization (DCO) can be daunting, requiring additional resources and new skill sets to implement and manage. This is especially true among small and mid-sized businesses, where resources are already stretched thin managing the business of day-to-day operations. It presents quite a conundrum, since those that often stand to benefit most from DCO are often those least equipped to manage the transition.
Enter the partner ecosystem
The opportunities continue to expand for technology partners to introduce new automation and management tools focused on simplifying and optimizing cloud-based data centers. For example, there are IT management platforms available that simplify provisioning and ongoing management of Microsoft Azure.
With these platforms, businesses can have a complete IT environment set up in just a few hours – without an engineer. Without tools of this nature, setup and migration could take weeks to implement and would require the expertise of an Azure-trained engineer.
Ecosystem partners enable widespread adoption of cloud-based DCO on platforms like Microsoft Azure to all businesses, even those that are resource or budget constrained.
Workload deployment and management tools represent the first wave of a fast-growing partner ecosystem. After all, these tools are the building blocks that enable initial migration and deployment. But many more should be expected to follow.
Where partners' help can influence DCO
Here’s a look at some of the fastest-growing areas within the partner ecosystem.
Workload Deployment and Management
Cloud-related IT management platforms will most likely continue to grow and evolve to offer increased automation and optimization. Ecosystem partners have the ability to deliver robust tools to take the heavy lifting out of DCO deployments and ongoing management through automation of mundane, time-consuming tasks such as user provisioning and backup automation.
Consumption-based billing models create the potential for large variances in monthly costs and can lead to unexpected expenses - both short- and long-term. To effectively manage costs, businesses need intelligent tools that provide the ability to intuitively scale usage of cloud-based resources up or down based on the real-time needs of the business. This functionality is currently included in some partner solutions, but will require ongoing evolution as applications and usage become increasingly complex.
As new software, technologies, and applications continue to be developed, data integration tools must continue to evolve to solve for new challenges. Delivering API-driven applications to help manage increasingly complex data integration challenges is another area where the partner ecosystem plays a crucial role in enabling widespread DCO.
Proactively diagnosing and resolving issues - whether it be bugs or bottlenecks - is central to the successful management of any data center. As system complexities continue to grow, advanced tools for reporting and diagnostic review of data center performance will be necessary to simplify and provide real-time recommendations for both repair and optimization.
AI and Machine Learning
People are talking about AI quite a bit, but there are a ton of misconceptions, misguided expectations, and overall confusion around the actual business outcomes the technology can be expected to deliver.
Sorting through all of this requires input from cross-functional experts – everyone from system architects to business leaders to software engineers. It’s not a big leap to anticipate this gap is something that will ultimately be bridged within the partner ecosystem.
In addition to a new generation of tools and solutions aimed at automating and simplifying AI planning and management, partners can provide consultative expertise in problem identification, solution planning and execution, and even ongoing program management.
Nearly 15 percent of financial institutions are currently using blockchain technology, and this distributed digital-ledger system of tracking and managing data is predicted to rapidly expand to many other industries over the next few years.
As with AI, there is a great deal of speculation around the impact it will have on everyday business processes, but it’s almost certain to drive the need for specialized, unique requirements within the cloud data center space.
Tools that simplify and automate coding and blockchain-based reporting will be necessary to bridge blockchain learning and resource gaps, especially among small and mid-size businesses.
As with most all significant evolutions in technology, data center optimization will require rethinking the roles and relationships of industry players. Skills evolve; tools and systems change. But the dependence upon the partner ecosystem has perhaps never been more necessary than now, with what is needed to achieve widespread adoption of DCO.