Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: CentriLogic

Robert Offley (Profile)
Tuesday, January 22nd 2013

In 2012, the IT industry witnessed substantial growth in the migration of corporate IT systems and applications to the cloud. While companies benefited from these new business-driving technologies, they also were heavily exposed to security and outage issues from well-known cloud providers that resulted in devastating consequences to companies and their customers.

As companies encountered a reality check last year in the cloud, IT decision makers and vendors will need to think more strategically about their cloud migration and cloud solution plans respectively in 2013. Here's our perspective on top trends as relates to infrastructure management and hosting environments in the upcoming year:

Hybrid Hosting Solutions Will Prevail

In 2012 the “cloud” evolved from its status as a buzzword and became a viable option for many organizations. Through testing, experimentation, analysis, and feedback, we expect to see that many organizations’ critical IT workloads in 2013 will be restructured into flexible and tailored hybrid environments that combine aspects of cloud computing and traditional hosting. The cloud is an appropriate solution for initiatives with tight timelines or budgets, applications with unpredictable or fluctuating loads and commodity IT systems including archives, backups, QA, Intranet and sandbox. Yet the cloud is not a silver bullet.

Many legacy applications, high-risk applications that store medical or financial data, and high-transactional database-driven applications are still not suitable for virtualization or the cloud, given the need for low latency and high compatibility. Hybrid environments combine aspects of co-location, physical hardware, managed services, virtualization and public/private cloud to construct the ideal solution for an organization’s unique hosting requirements. Hybrid hosting solutions also enable a company to gradually migrate to the cloud to minimize risk.

Geographic Location of Data Takes Center Stage

One challenge of the cloud, and its global, distributed model for data storage and management, is that organizations are more susceptible to legislation, including but not limited to the US Patriot Act, PIPEDA, SSAE16, HIPPA, and the US-EU Safe Harbor. As a result, companies need to know with certainty the exact location of their data at all times, and understand which regulations if any apply to their business. In 2013, the geographic and geo-political location of data will be critical in the success (or failure) of any IT outsourcing strategy.

Vendors and companies will need to carefully consider the geographical locations of their data centers. Hurricane Sandy placed this challenge in full relief, as several large data centers in the flood zones suffered loss of service, intermittent availability and even worse, destruction of equipment. With the growth in cloud and managed services and reduced demand for traditional co-location services, locating data center facilities near corporate headquarters and major metropolitan areas is no longer a necessity. Major IT companies including Yahoo!, Facebook, and Google have opened rural and semi-rural data centers, to lower risks from natural disasters, terrorism and other threats in coastal city centers but also to take advantage of lower power and operational costs in smaller towns. In 2013, companies will also factor in, more than ever before, the merits of Green IT when designing and relocating data centers.