We are living in a do-anything-from-anywhere economy enabled by an exponentially expanding data ecosystem. It’s estimated 65% of Global GDP will be digital next year (2022). This influx of data presents both opportunities and challenges. After all, success in our digital present and future relies on our ability to secure and maintain increasingly complex IT systems. Here I’ll examine both near-term and long-term predictions that address the way the IT industry will deliver the platforms and capabilities to harness this data to transform our experiences at work, home and in the classroom.
What to look for in 2022:
The Edge discussion will separate into two focus areas – edge platforms that provide a stable pool of secure capacity for the diverse edge ecosystems and software defined edge workloads/software stacks that extend application and data systems into real world environments. This approach to Edge, where we separate the edge platforms from the edge workloads, is critical since, if each edge workload creates its own dedicated platform, we will have proliferation of edge infrastructure and unmanageable infrastructure sprawl.
Imagine an edge environment where you deploy an edge platform that presents compute, storage, I/O and other foundational IT capacities in a stable, secure, and operationally simple way. As you extend various public and private cloud data and applications pipelines to the edge along with local IoT and data management edges, they can be delivered as software-defined packages leveraging that common edge platform of IT capacity. This means that your edge workloads can evolve and change at software speed because the underlying platform is a common pool of stable capacity.
We are already seeing this shift today. As we move into 2022, we expect these platforms to become more capable and pervasive. We are already seeing most edge workloads – and even most public cloud edge architectures – shift to software-defined architectures using containerization and assuming standard availably of capacities such as Kubernetes as the dial tone. This combination of modern edge platforms and software-defined edge systems will become the dominant way to build and deploy edge systems in the multi-cloud world.
The opening of the private mobility ecosystem will accelerate with more cloud and IT industries involved on the path to 5G. Enterprise use of 5G is still early. In fact, today 5G is not significantly different or better than WiFi in most enterprise use cases. This will change in 2022 as more modern, capable versions of 5G become available to enterprises. We will see higher performance and more scalable 5G along with new 5G features such as Ultra Reliability Low Latency Communications (UR-LLC) and Massive Machine Type Communicators (mMTC), with dialogue becoming much more dominant than traditional telecoms (think: open-source ecosystem, infrastructure companies, non-traditional telecom).
Edge will become the new battleground for data management as data management becomes a new class of workload. The data management ecosystem needs an edge. The modern data management industry began its journey on public clouds processing and analyzing non-real-time centralized data. As the digital transformation of the world accelerates, it has become clear that most of the data in the world will be created and acted on outside of centralized data centers. We expect that the entire data management ecosystem will become very active in developing and utilizing edge IT capacity as the ingress and egress of their data pipelines but will also utilize edges to remotely process and digest data.
As the data management ecosystem extends to the edge this will dramatically increase the number of edge workloads and overall edge demand. This correlates to our first prediction on edge platforms as we expect these data management edges to be modern software-defined offerings. Data management and the edge will increasingly converge and reinforce each other. IT infrastructure companies, like Dell Technologies, have the unique opportunity to provide the orchestration layer for edge and multi-cloud by delivering an edge data management strategy.
The security industry is now moving from discussion of emerging security concerns to a bias toward action. Enterprises and governments are facing threats of greater sophistication and impact on revenue and services. At the same time, the attack surface that hackers can exploit is growing based on the accelerated trend in remote work and digital transformation. As a result, the security industry is responding with greater automation and integration. The industry is also pivoting from automated detection to prevention and response with a focus on applying AI and machine learning to speed remediation. This is evidenced by industry initiatives like SOAR (Security Orchestration Automation & Response), CSPM (Cloud Security Posture Management) and XDR (Extended, Detection and Response). Most importantly we are seeing new efforts such as the Open Secure Software Foundation in the Linux Foundation ramp up the coordination and active involvement of the IT, telecom and semiconductor industries.
Across all four of these areas – edge, private mobility, data management and security – there is a clear need for a broad ecosystem where both public cloud and traditional infrastructure are integrated. We are now clearly in a multi-cloud, distributed world where the big challenges can no longer be solved by a single data center, cloud, system or technology.