Transformational technologies and innovations that will shape enterprise IT in 2014

New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: It's the end of the year 2013, and time for us to take stock of the IT landscape. It's also time for us to cautiously take a position on what 2014 may look like in enterprise IT.


Predicting the distant future is easy and tremendously entertaining; after all, the distant future is all about robots, self-driving cars, space colonization and such stuff of dreams! However, it's a lot more useful to place bets on technologies that will thrive in the next year or two.

We have had a frenetic last few years in IT, fuelled in part by "consumer grade" technologies that have become pervasive to our internet life. This third platform era (the first platform being mainframes and the second platform being client-server computing, according to IDC) has integrated advances in cloud, mobile, social and Big Data analytics to deliver rich experiences to the end-user.

The era is characterized by extremely scalable computing and data storage, dynamic connectivity between users, data sets and applications, and mobility. IT now reaches billions of users, and offers them a menu of millions of applications to choose from. These trends are quickly percolating to our Enterprise world.


According to a recent IDC report, IT spending will be driven by third platform technologies, which will grow 15 percent year-on-year and capture 89 percent of the IT spending growth. Naturally, many of our predictions for 2014 are strongly influenced by the third platform as the foundation for growth and innovation in the industry. We anticipate four clear trends taking shape in Enterprise IT in 2014:

Enterprises will embrace software-defined data centers: The past decade has seen virtualization technology transform applications, servers and networks into software abstractions that enable data center and IT managers to build adaptive and agile data centers. The rise of Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) promises to build on the progress of virtualization by completely abstracting every component of the data center from its underlying hardware so that we can truly deliver IT resources as customizable, on-demand services.

According to a report from Markets and, the global infrastructure SDDC market is estimated at $396.1 million in 2013 and expected to grow to $5.41 billion in 2018. SDDC is "Cloud" seen from the inside. In 2014, we will see enterprises making a strong move towards transforming their data centers into SDDCs. Technology vendors from all walks of IT - servers, storage, networking and security - are already rapidly reorienting their offerings to serve as ingredients to SDDC.


Hybrid cloud usage will develop momentum: There will always be a place for migrating entire applications to a public SaaS offering. Similarly, there will always be mission-critical applications that will run completely on-premise. In 2014, we will see a more mature understanding of workloads and what they mean in the cloud context. Clouds, as we speak of them today, will become special cases of a generalized Hybrid operating model.

Hybrid clouds will help business evolve and grow, with an intelligent combination of internal and external resources that delivers the right mix of cost savings, service levels and agility. Research from Virtustream reports that organizations with more than 1,000 employees are 46 percent more likely than smaller ones to use hybrid clouds. That sounds right - it makes a lot of sense for large enterprises to first tap into these technologies.

Predictive analysis will take center stage: In 2013, implementing big data architecture programs became an imperative in the enterprise as a wide range of companies embarked on collecting massive amounts of information related to consumer behavior, sales patterns, machine sensors, and product performance. However, most businesses have yet to leverage their big data assets in a more impactful fashion to drive their future actions.


Looking into the New Year, we believe two key trends will take center stage: predictive analytics based on advanced machine learning techniques will penetrate the mainstream, so that businesses use their data to drive actions; and privacy issues associated with accumulation of growing volume of data will be debated by business owners and consumers alike.

One more step toward trusted cloud: With cloud service providers mushrooming in the industry, it is now increasingly imperative for these businesses to differentiate themselves and from dominant mass market players like Amazon Web Services. We will start seeing this more and more in 2014. An important aspect of differentiation is the issue of "Trust". Fears over security vulnerabilities still haunt the cloud computing market.

Convincing a potential business customer that they can trust a service provider with their data can be a difficult and time consuming task. The concerns are not just limited to security. Technologies that will help a service provider guarantee specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs) across a spectrum of reliability, availability, data protection and performance measures will emerge and take root. It will be one more step towards cloud being a trusted platform.

2014 will be an evolutionary year, where the trends of Social, Mobile, Cloud and Big Data will influence the way enterprise IT will be delivered and consumed. It will be a year when enterprise IT becomes truly modern, by embracing the principles of consumer-grade technologies such as extreme scale, mobile platforms, and the ability to take advantage of a rapid explosion of data.

The author is the CTO, EMC India Centre of Excellence, India.