This is a particularly pressing question that has come up recently. I even put out a post about it in the SolarWinds Thwack community because they’re such a diverse and engaging community I love the feedback they tend to present!
I’ve seen a lot of predictions over the years, whether it is “This is the year of VDI!” (Currently we are on the 7th “year of VDI”) Or “Big Data is here!” we all know the infinite number of predictions we constantly hear about, I’ve even included one of my own for the coming 2015 from from? ?SingleHop who hit me up at the end of 2014 saying, “Hey, do you have any IT Predictions for 2015?”
So I get it. You get it. But are these really predictions intended to become self-fulfilling prophecies or are they mere posturing while YOU the Community. You the CUSTOMERS of the world are the ones determining whether these predictions actually come to fruition. Now not all Predictions are within our control, like saying the cost of a particular product or solution will be reduced, that is really up to the industry that bears it, that we constantly fight for pricing on and against.
But let’s talk about some general purpose predictions and it’s really up to you to decide what YOUR adoption is, I’ll provide some color in some places if you’re not familiar with it so as to give you a baseline to discuss.
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
Everybody and their brother is talking about SDS. “Check out our SDS Solution! It’s awesome!” blah blah blah. So for the moment, let’s take a sober look at what the SDS space looks like. VSAN is now available as 2.0 in vSphere 6.0. However prior to it going GA last week, VSAN alone has ~1200 customers. That’s pretty significant considering their solution has only existed for LESS than a year. (Compared to other similar solutions, the numbers are in the HUNDREDS not Thousands) so the possibilities look potentially bright, albeit at a cost.
Now what about vVOLs you say. Yea you can say that, is it too early to tell? Yes. Yes it is FAR too early to tell, because vVols have gone GA LAST WEEK and not every vendor has their support integrated for it. For what it is worth, vSphere 6.0 having just come out still isn’t fully baked and supported by all of your third-party applications, so if you run a pure-play VMware environment only without Veeam, Zerto and every other billion vendor solution out there and at the same moment your SAN also supports vVols, then sure, but for most of you… You’re going to be waiting a little while (At least 60-90 days for full support and adoption) So for the meantime you’re still looking at vSphere 5.5 and the respective solutions present there, that’s not a BAD thing, it’s just a factual thing you need to be aware of.
Now to play the devils eggvocate on this a moment, If VMware has Let’s say a million customers, and ~1200 of them are running VSAN today. There’s nothing but room for growth, lots and lots and lots and lots and LOTS of growth. So it’s not like the tides have been turned, the tipping point as it were (I’m sure that’s somehow relevant :)). It really comes down to you to decide, “Of the Software Defined Storage strategies available in the market place which ones am *I* liking and seeing value to leverage in my organization” You know or blah blah blah. :)
Software Defined Networking (SDN)
Why yes, let us talk about the SDN space for a moment… The number of solutions available aren’t exactly bursting at the seams. I mean sure, –14- hours ago, Juniper and Mirantis have expanded their partnership to pursue SDN type joint development, but for the whole of the market-place, that doesn’t mean they have a go to market solution we can adopt. That said, let’s discuss what we CAN adopt. VMware NSX, Cisco ACI and OpenFlow. VMware’s NSX is the best player in town, it has the greatest feature-set and capabilities and will give us visibility and insight into East-West traffic which has essentially been masked as a result of the adoption of Virtualization. Pretty awesome, right? NSX has been around for ~5 years+ now? And they had 400 customers when VMware acquired Nicira back in 2012, and today they have 400 customers. I don’t see this puppy jumping off the shelf, when something like VSAN which has been 1.0 has 3x as many customers. Now, I’ve found that VMware sales people will disagree with me, “We see it everywhere, everyone is interested, stop saying that no one is buying NSX” Okay, show me the money, stop telling me the rhetoric that YOU are being told. Like I said, it is the BEST player in town, yet when I talk to guys who run some of the large NSX shops… Well, let’s just say I wish that it worked as well as HA, DRS, or vMotion. So should you adopt an SDN strategy or should you look at one? I’m sure you’ll be the first to tell me that YOU are indeed looking at one, because we can predict all the hell we want, it’s up to you to decide and enact.
The Cloud the Cloud the Cloud! This is surprisingly one area where I keep hearing about it from YOU and not in reverse. Customers and friends who have made such claims as, “Yea, I moved ‘x’ services from On-Premises into Azure” or one who said they’ve moved 100% of their server workload into Azure. Yea, Seriously, Wow! I’m with you, the proof is in the pudding, and want to see how it tastes 3, 6, 9 months and a year out, but the fact that others are doing it is quite a positive testament to the capabilities. Oh and people are starting to adopt the same in a vCloud Air type of scenario (Yes, I hate it when they keep changing product names on us, I mean give a brother vCloud Air with Retina at least! :)) So while even *I* have predicted that people will start adopting Disaster Recovery as a Service leveraging capabilities like vCloud Air, I’ll let you know how I see that start to play out vs just saying, “Yea I think people will start to do something like that”. The year is still early and I’ll actually have some interesting Hybrid Cloud stories to share as the year progresses, but for now, you tell me if you’re seeing adoption of YOURSELVES increase :)
Monitoring and Management
This is often the most overlooked, undervalued and most necessary part of every organization. Companies who produce tools that allow you to manage your environment, watch over your infrastructure and then start to provide intelligence and guidance as opposed to merely sharing information with you can be few and far between. Some players in this space like Solarwinds have done more than just simply take a temperature of what people are doing and have started to integrate what matters most to you into a single pane (drink!) to allow for better management. I’m not saying, Hey stop proceeding down your road of deploying Orion, NPM, SRM, Virtualization Manager, and an infinite number of items that provide insight, however Solarwinds themselves have seen a need for integration, thus their release of AppStack to provide that unified point of management. The Microsoft Fanboys may say, “I can do everything I ever could want with System Center” and it’s cute that you believe that, but the moment you need to do something non-microsoft centric or provide deeper insight into a Virtual, Storage or Network layer… I’m not saying you won’t see anything, I’m just saying… you’ll have blinders on. :) The monitoring and management landscape is filled with lots of players, many of whom are one-off and many of whom are trying to be the ‘everything for everyone’ ala HP OpenStack (ouch!) so be wary and be aware. Though how important is correlation engine analytics and deep inspection visibility and insight into your infrastructure into 2015? Is that something you desire or do you feel it merely a myth?
These are just a handful of items which are often predicted about and in particular have predictions for this year. What are you seeing be the players in this space that you’re looking into? What do you see yourself straight-up adopting? You’re the trendsetters, we’re just a bunch of random people touting our thoughts. :)