By Damien Wong, General Manager, ASEAN, Red Hat
The Convergence of IT is Strategic for Businesses
The role of IT has never been more important within the enterprise. In a recent Gartner and Forbes survey of Board of Directors, the percent of respondents that rated IT's strategic business value contribution as high or extremely high doubled between 2010 and 2012. The rising expectations of executives require IT to be even more agile when addressing the needs of the business.
In response, Red Hat is seeing a trend towards convergence of compute, storage and network as integrated infrastructure in the next few years. Many of our customers are also looking to standardize their infrastructure to become more efficient. Many of those that have standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux across virtual, physical and cloud deployments are able to manage more servers and users per administrator and experience significantly less downtime.
While the long-term goal is simplification and standardization, this represents a significant shift for IT. How and when companies move forward will depend on their ongoing virtualization and cloud computing efforts.
The Future of Operating Systems
Operating systems have always served two primary purposes: to enable software and developers to consume and take advantage of hardware innovations as they become available and to deliver a stable foundation on which applications can run. Moving forward, operating systems will continue to evolve in these ways to power the cloud. Take Linux as an example. Linux was developed on and for the Internet and has evolved to support 8 out of every 10 cloud-based applications today. This is because it's portable, secure, scalable and reliable – all while being open and standards-based.
The cloud demands choice and flexibility, and we believe that is what will maintain Linux as the cloud operating system well into the future, and we expect Red Hat Enterprise Linux to play a key role in that future too. Red Hat Enterprise Linux enables applications to consume compute, storage and network resources on a broad range of virtualization solutions and cloud services from many vendors, with a commitment for stability over a ten year life cycle.
The OS has served as the foundation of traditional IT for decades while continuing to act as a cornerstone for new innovation. This is the role that I see for the operating platform in computing for 2013 and beyond. As organizations move to the cloud, the OS will continue to deliver a critical foundation. The question is which ones are the best fit – those based on a traditional, walled-garden approach that fosters vendor lock-in, or the ones built on open source that originated on the Internet and are tailor-made for the cloud?
Security Becomes More Consumable
Security concerns about ‘the cloud’ consistently top the list of adoption concerns. Even if naïve cloud safe/unsafe arguments have mostly been retired in favor of more subtle discussions, there's still a lot of complexity and uncertainty.
This is partly because the “security” moniker often serves as a sort of shorthand for a variety of compliance, audit, regulatory, legal and governance issues that are often only indirectly related. It's also because, as an industry, we're dealing often with new approaches to computing and delivering application services that don't have clear historical antecedents and established approaches to mitigating associated risk. As a result, dealing with security and associated concerns in the cloud sometimes seem to require true experts in the field, who are almost by definition in fairly short supply.
That's why we're encouraged by the efforts of organizations like the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), which Red Hat joined back in October . The CSA's mission is to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing, and to provide education on the uses of cloud computing to help secure additional forms of computing. While the CSA's work benefits everyone, its most important role may be ‘democratizing’ the process of securing and running clouds so that organizations operating and using clouds don't need security rocket scientists on staff. Expect to see tools for more easily and systematically securing clouds gain more attention in 2013.
Hybrid Shows Up More in Conversations
Hybrid cloud computing is another cloud computing hot button, which commonly refers to cloud management that spans both on-premise (or dedicated resources at a hosting provider) and multi-tenant public clouds—although clouds can be heterogeneous in other ways as well.
Early public cloud usage was often characterized by users gaining access to computing resources with a credit card because their IT department wasn't moving quickly enough. Such usage can also be outside the scope of any IT governance practices. That can be good for flexibility and speed but it can have a stark downside if there's a data breach or if an application developed using a public cloud can't be easily put into production on-premise.
The idea behind a hybrid cloud is that resources can be made available to users as easily as if they were accessing a public cloud while keeping the process under centralized policy-based IT management, as you can using Red Hat's CloudForms’ open, hybrid cloud management. Organizations are also increasingly looking to hybrid cloud architectures as a way to have a more dynamic computing architecture over time. There is only a modest number of hybrid computing architectures in production today, but the movement towards hybrid is clear. That's why industry analysts such as Gartner are recommending that organizations “design private cloud deployments with interoperability and future hybrid in mind.” Expect to hear even more about hybrid clouds in the coming year.
Big Data Continues to Make an Impact
Global data is estimated to increase 50-fold by 2020, and our customers recognize that they need to harness the increased volume, variety and speed of data if they are going to succeed. Not only are they concerned about how to store tremendous amounts of data; they’re also struggling with how to analyze it, because data is only valuable when you can gain insights from it to make decisions.
Big data also circumvents our ability to apply a traditional business intelligence approach to working with the data to make decisions. While batch versus real-time data analytics is currently split, companies are putting even greater focus on shifting more analytics to be done in real time. IT must continue to invest in the right transactional and big data analytics systems to analyze and communicate the results that aid in decision making.
Tremendous data volumes and complex, intensive analytic processing require an infrastructure designed for scalability, integration, performance, and scale-out storage. For the foreseeable future, organizations will continue to rely on the infrastructure for big data applications to run reliably and scale seamlessly to keep up with the pace at which data is generated or transferred.
An enterprise platform like Red Hat Enterprise Linux integrates high performance, scalable storage and data throughput with the ability to successfully develop, integrate and secure applications consuming data. This is why we estimate that the majority of big data implementations run on Linux.
Other 2013 Hot Buttons
Budgetary constraints for IT organisations to do more with less, hybrid environments, scale-out architectures, and breaking vendor lock-in - continue to influence organizations in terms of how they approach addressing big data, cloud, consumerization and other concerns. As the role of IT departments become even more strategic, they will continue to face fiscal realities requiring them to look for creative ways to gain efficiencies, such as standardizing their infrastructure and adopting a DevOps approach to development and deployment.
We’ll see these trends in 2013 and beyond. Technology is always evolving and I expect that new innovations and concepts will surface to drive us and our customers forward at a breathtaking pace. We’ll continue to provide our customers and partners an enterprise platform that delivers the kind of stability that frees them to take on their biggest challenges now and the flexibility to do what’s most important in the future. And our ecosystem of solutions and support will be at their side to help them get there.