Published: July 18, 2017
The next wave of resource flexibility in IT has arrived. System managers in virtualization-aware organizations are using software tools to provision capacity in minutes from a commodity-based datacenter. In TechTarget's 2017 IT Priorities Survey, IT managers revealed that they are turning to software-based configuration and management of a wide variety of resources on their networks, empowering staff to design and create a responsive datacenter in a "lights out" fashion.
As a result of this virtualization trend, 49% of respondents say they are investing in new networking technologies, empowering IT staff to reallocate their time and expertise from racks and cabling to envisioning and implementing new configurations in the virtual space. IT automation is on the minds of 29%, reaching out for new, powerful tools for configuration, provisioning, and resource management. For 25%, one of those resources is in the cloud, and they are expanding their server virtualization operations to include hybrid computing for even greater flexibility and reliability.
Legacy networking is getting attention and budget (36% each for VPN, DHCP/DNS, and network management) but at 33%, a sizeable contingent is committing to network virtualization projects. These cover a broad range of software based technologies for creating virtual LANs, software-defined WANs, performance management, WLAN advances, and importantly, active security technologies.
Security tools are receiving focused attention with 35% of respondents who are investing in next generation firewalls, access control systems, and threat detection and response technologies. A full 44% of those surveyed are planning network security strategies, including endpoint security. Some 30% of organizations, likely including compliance-oriented, financial, and consumer data handling groups, are concerned with encryption, preventing data loss, and ensuring the security of cloud access.
Wireless and Software Defined Networking
With 802.11ac technology providing a significant wireless speed boost, 43% are planning upgrades of their wireless infrastructure. Remote offices and mobile users will benefit from software defined networking technologies, and IT organizations are turning from basic network configuration and maintenance tasks, now performed in software, to activities such as shadow IT detection and management and security improvements.
Hybrid Service Models
Hybrid computing, the next step in the server virtualization revolution, brings cloud-based resources together with virtualized in-house server systems. Together, they enable IT personnel to support development, test, internal production, and external web servers with the resources they need, even in times of unexpectedly high demand.
Both networking and server capacity can be directed as needed, for example, to provide new support for IoT (Internet of Things) based devices. While 59% said they would emphasize cloud services in their spending this year, an increase over last year's 40%, 53% are building up on-premises networking to support new technologies and increased activity.
Server capacity increase, backup capability improvement, and disaster recovery (DR) activities are drawing investment from 36% of survey respondents. Backup and DR take advantage of server virtualization and container-based resources to allow IT to manage and migrate data and applications to meet high reliability and business continuity needs.
IT Teams Expand Their Capability
While staff increases were on the minds of only 15% of those surveyed, skilled IT personnel who can design and create systems and connectivity in the virtual space will be required. They will be challenged to manage resources in new and innovative ways, finding new ways to put server virtualization and software defined networking to use.
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