It’s hard to believe we’re already solidly into the fourth quarter of 2017. Rather than waiting for the new year and getting lost in the sea of 2018 predictions articles, we thought it would be more fun to make the exercise a little more challenging and make some 2018 predictions before 2017 is even up.
We did this last year, and had some pretty solid conversations about hybrid cloud transformation and more. We predicted the hybrid cloud transition would continue to be difficult and messy. OK, maybe this wasn’t necessarily going out on a limb, but anyone who helped their company through a hybrid cloud project this year would surely agree this came true.
We also predicted that IoT and machine data would raise many new questions for IT departments, especially around security and data access. With data breaches seemingly a daily occurrence, and machine data being created at a staggering pace, there’s no doubt this prediction was also confirmed.
We made some predictions that remain trends worth watching, like “hybrid cloud” coming to automatically mean “multi-cloud,” containers become more mainstream tools for enterprise application development and DevOps and IT teams developing a common language to maximize DevOps’s great potential to accelerate business application development. These are all still developing.
For 2018, we’re focusing more on the business side of things. As markets mature and change, providers will have to evolve with them. This will result in some surprising trends, from cloud providers looking more like on-premise, to market consolidation and its effects. Without further ado, here are our five fearless predictions for 2018.
Cloud looks like on-prem
One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is, “Wouldn’t it be funny if all cloud vendors had some sort of on-premise component that they sold?” Well, as a result of many companies looking to move critical apps to the edge and other factors, this is exactly what we’re predicting for 2018.
Whether it’s selling compute or partnering with hyperconverged providers, the prediction we’re perhaps most confident in is that in 2018, cloud providers will have more of an on-premise look. This is, of course, contrary to what many cloud providers have been saying all along, but with market factors where they are, this move makes too much sense to ignore.
Secondary storage consolidation
All the way back in 2016, we predicted hyperconvergence vendors would consolidate. This prediction came true, to an extent even beyond what we thought. In 2017, the secondary storage market looks curiously similar to that 2016 hyperconvergence space. There are fully half a dozen legitimate players right now, and market growth rates remain strong – not surprising, given that customers face no shortage of problems.
For 2018, we’re predicting some major consolidation in this secondary storage space. And, unlike the hyperconvergence space, where a lot of the consolidation was with weaker companies that resulted in some sad outcomes, in this case we’re going to see some interesting premiums in the acquisitions. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if one of the larger vendors in the space takes an acquisition offer. Can you imagine what would happen if, for example, one of the Actifio/Rubrik/Cohesity cohort was acquired? The backup business would be fundamentally changed.
Software-only backup becomes less interesting
One of the repercussions of the successful secondary storage market is that traditional backup software, no matter how cool the vendor, will become a more challenging business. Don’t get us wrong; there is a lot of good technology coming from software-only vendors. Now, however, they’re being forced to compete with integrated solutions like the aforementioned Cohesity, Rubrik, Actifio and even bigger companies that may be looking to make acquisitions in the space.
With the status quo of backup being an integrated system, the only lever left for a software company is lock-in, and that only goes so far. After all, it’s tough to compete with integrated solutions when you’re asking customers to buy your product and piece it together with the other technology they’re using.
Captive cloud comeback
There was a time, not so long ago, where it seemed as if all the non-“Big Three” (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) clouds were on their last legs. That time has passed. Maybe the most surprising prediction we have for 2018 is a comeback for captive clouds.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that in a multi-cloud world, the public cloud option you’d like to have isn’t always the option that’s available. With the technology currently out there, almost anyone can build a cloud that operates reasonably well. That means we’ll see an increase in offerings like bare metal clouds and developer clouds that offer targeted functionality for a low cost.
TCO or bust
Virtually throughout 2017, the stock market has been strong and the economy has been in a really good spot. Yet, at the C-level, cost-consciousness still rules the day when it comes to IT projects, especially in enterprises. This trend will continue in force for 2018.
Remember previous great economic cycles where IT could prioritize things besides TCO? We’re not going to get there this year. IT, no matter the industry, continues to be under significant budget constraints. That means, no matter how great your proposed technology is, how groundbreaking the capabilities are, you’re going to have to answer the TCO question. It doesn’t matter if your tech is the coolest thing out there, it has to provide a return.
There you have it, our five fearless predictions for 2018.
Want to weigh in with yours? Tweet us @ClearSkyData.