Monday, January 13, 2014

Blueprint Column: Top 2014 Predictions from Equinix

by Brian Lillie, CIO, Equinix

It’s that time of the year when experts gaze into their crystal balls, offering up predictions on what the next year has in store. As the experts in data center and colocation services, the Equinix team has come up with a list of our own trends that we think will be top of mind for technology decision makers next year. Here are a few:

Continued Convergence of Business and Personal Use of Technology, especially Mobile and Cloud: Employees have been using their personal devices at work for quite some time, much to the dismay of the IT department (more on that later). And now that the floodgates of Do-It-Yourself IT (DIY-IT) have opened, more employees than ever are adapting the services they use in their personal lives (i.e. Gmail, Dropbox, etc) as business and collaboration tools. The concept of “Bring Your Own Device” has evolved to include “Bring Your Own Apps” and “Bring Your Own Cloud,” which is creating new IT challenges for the enterprise beyond simply managing devices. For 2014, we see the cloud playing an even more pronounced role in propelling this trend, as DIY-IT makes it a technological imperative for companies of any size to secure their cloud’s data and processes, in addition to all the components that connect into it. And it’s just the beginning.

Public and Private Cloud Service Providers will Drive IT Market Demand, and Enterprise CIOs will demand Hybrid Cloud: We expect 2014 to be a year of explosive growth in cloud service consumption with all the major cloud providers becoming more aggressive in deploying their services. Over the coming year, we also expect to see many enterprise CIOs moving beyond simply deploying selected applications in the cloud and start to really move cloud services mainstream for their production environments. We also see the private-or-public cloud debate of yesteryear shifting to the private-AND-public cloud debate where enterprises are benefiting from the security and reliability of the private cloud while harnessing the scalability and flexibility power of the public cloud. In fact, Gartner recently advised enterprises to design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration and interoperability are possible. We couldn’t agree more.

Networks will be Reimagined to Optimize Access to Public Clouds:  It is an exciting time in the network…high density Ethernet switches, software-defined networking, application-level QOS…and this means network engineers and leaders have choices they have not had to reimagine their global networks to optimize access to the cloud services their users and businesses demand. In addition, the growing traffic, an increasingly dispersed end user base, and the proliferation of mobile devices have all created a perfect storm of latency and performance issues that are simply overwhelming old deployment models. As a result, expect to see more IT strategies that encompass an organization’s data management, network optimization and application performance. For instance, we see an increasing number of our customers deploying their common, off-the-shelf enterprise network equipment from their corporate location to shared data centers where network service providers come to peer. This allows for a highly available and agile service that gets the IT department out ahead of the demand storm.

Big Data Here to Stay: We believe that Big Data is in it for the long haul.  Storing, processing and analyzing data is becoming less and less expensive. Numerous companies are in the big data application development game and will continue to produce applications that harness data in new ways. In fact, IDC predicts that companies will spend more than $14 billion on Big Data technologies or services which translates to 30 percent growth year-over-year. As a result, expect low latency, close proximity and immediate access to this data to be top priorities for many CIOs.

Overseas Market Heats Up: We continue to see a surge in demand for data center and interconnection services in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) with current estimates placing the public cloud market at $22 billion and the virtual private cloud market at $10 billion by 2020. South America, and in particular Brazil, is expected to be a hot market as companies prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games that will be held there. Equinix recently opened a second data center in the region as we anticipate many multinational companies gearing up for those events by expanding their IT infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro. And as Brazil continues its rise as an international commercial center, we expect companies will decide it’s in their best interest to stay.

About the Author

Brian Lillie joined Equinix in September 2008 and has been focused on building business value through strategic and innovative product development and information technology initiatives. Examples include the design and build of global product portals such as the Equinix Customer Portal, Equinix Marketplace Portal, Equinix Ethernet Exchange Portal, and the Equinix Internet Exchange Portal. In addition to product initiatives, Mr. Lillie has driven several global initiatives to improve internal efficiencies and global scale, including sales force automation, enterprise resource planning, business analytics and acquisition integration. Mr. Lillie also leads the Global Solution Architects function, which is the leading global, strategic, technical resource within Equinix focused on solutions design that brings the network, application and data center together for current and prospective Equinix clients.

Mr. Lillie holds an M.S. in Management from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, an M.S. in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Montana State University.

About Equinix

Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), connects more than 4,400 companies directly to their customers and partners inside the world’s most networked data centers. Today, businesses leverage the Equinix interconnection platform in 31 strategic markets across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.