This article is written by Entuity’s CTO, Lee Walker.
This is part two of a five-part series exploring my top 5 predictions for the year ahead. Last time, I explored AI and how understanding use cases will help us build better automations. This week, cloud!
Cloud – the great disruptor
Cloud continued to be one of the major disruptors of 2017, and this disruption will gather speed in 2018. Cloud offers unbeatable scalability and elasticity, promising to save costs for many businesses. Concerns surrounding security used to be one of the major barriers to adoption, but most security analysis now suggests that mainstream cloud is more secure than on-premises IT. Gartner predicted that the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market would grow by 36.6% and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry would grow by 21% by the end of 2017 .
Data centers aren’t going anywhere yet
Enterprises are gradually divesting from their data centers and moving applications workloads to the public cloud. According to a CSA survey report, in 2016, 60.9% of applications workloads were still in enterprise data centers. By the end of 2017, however, fewer than half (46.2%) would remain there. This is, in part, due to new applications primarily being deployed in the cloud, and because enterprises plan to migrate 20.7% of their existing applications to the public cloud .
But data centers aren’t disappearing just yet. For most large enterprises, data centers will be integral for the next few years and the focus will be on developing effective strategies for managing the hybrid combination of on-premises, off-premises, cloud and non-cloud architectures.
With new territory comes new challenges
Cloud migration presents the IT professional with new challenges – such as how to troubleshoot issues between layer 2 (on-premises) and layer 3 (public cloud). NMS vendors will need to arm their customers with tools to help them quickly eliminate blind spots and remediate issues on distributed networks.
Network analytics can help IT professionals extend their visibility and control of assets from on-premises up to cloud. Troubleshooting issues has become more complex. What happens when a user reports a problem with a cloud application (like Office 365)? The problem could now be in more places. It could be the host, or an on-premise device. Or it could be outside of the firewall, with the ISP, or maybe one of the application servers. And what if the problem is intermittent? Maybe the problem only occurs on certain network paths, but traffic doesn’t travel on that path every time. It can be a nightmare to investigate, and without the right technology to assist, can quickly lead to protracted fix times and a lot of finger pointing.
We’ll also see vendors offering cloud costing solutions, tracking cloud spend and how it compares to on-premise costs. There will be a lot of competition for this kind of offering, and not just amongst NMS vendors – Cloud Monitoring, APM and Software Asset Management vendors will all offer their own versions of cloud costing solutions. Cloud has created a world ripe with analytical possibilities.
As IT infrastructure gets ever more distributed, it’s essential that vendors provide ways to retain visibility and control of assets. In 2018, we can expect to see vendors offer innovative solutions to help IT pros solve problems quickly, help maintain excellent user experience and provide cost benefits to business. The world is getting bigger and it’s important we all grow with it.
Next week, I’ll look at the rise of Network Analytics, and how machine learning and cloud all play their role.
 Gartner, https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3815165 (2017)
 Skyhigh, https://www.skyhighnetworks.com/cloud-security-blog/microsoft-azure-closes-iaas-adoption-gap-with-amazon-aws/ (2017)