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8 Infrastructure Trends Ahead for 2018

  • The cloud is making inroads into the enterprise, but on-premises IT infrastructure remains a critical part of companies' IT strategies. According to the Interop ITX and InformationWeek 2018 State of Infrastructure study, companies are continuing to invest in data center, storage, and networking infrastructure as they build out their digital strategies.

    The survey, which polled 150 IT leaders and practitioners from a range of industries and company sizes, found that 24% said their organization plans to increase spending on IT infrastructure by more than 10% in the next year. Twenty-one percent plan to spend 5% to 10% more on IT infrastructure spending compared to last year while 18% expect to spend no more than 5%.

    Twenty-seven percent of IT leaders surveyed said their organizations plan to increase build out or support of IT infrastructure in order to support new business opportunities. Another 30% cited increased workforce demands as the driver for a bigger focus on infrastructure.

    Enterprises are investing in a variety of technologies to help them achieve their digital goals and keep up with changing demands, according to the study. Storage is a huge focus for companies as they try to keep pace with skyrocketing data growth. In fact, the rapid growth of data and data storage is the single greatest factor driving change in IT infrastructure, the survey showed.

    Companies are also focused on boosting network security, increasing bandwidth, adding more servers to their data centers, and building out their WLANs.

    At the same time, they see plenty of challenges ahead to modernizing their infrastructure, including cost of implementation, lack of staff expertise, and security concerns.

    Read ahead to find out what organizations are planning in the year ahead for their IT infrastructure. For the full survey results, download the complete report. Learn more about infrastructure trends at Interop ITX in Las Vegas April 30-May 4. Register today! 

    (Image: Connect world/Shutterstock)

  • Investing more

    Only 5% of the IT leaders polled in the Interop ITX and InformationWeek State of Infrastructure Survey expect their organizations to spend less on IT infrastructure in the next year compared to the past 12 months. With 45% expecting to spend more, it's clear that IT infrastructure is key to enterprise digital transformation planning. However, many companies still face an uphill battle when it comes to getting IT projects funded: 30% said they expect spending to remain flat.

  • Keeping up with storage demands

    As to what infrastructure they plan to invest in, 21% of survey respondents said they will purchase storage hardware over the next 12 months, barely surpassing network hardware and servers, both at 19%. Encryption topped their storage shopping list, followed by solid-state storage. The poll also showed strong interested in replication and software-defined storage.

  • Locking down networks

    All the security breaches in the news appear to weighing on IT leaders' minds. By far the biggest motivator for investment in networking technology is to improve security, which gained a whopping 60% of responses among those naming their top three networking challenges. So there's no surprise here: The top investment priority for the coming 12 months is network security, with 59% of respondents naming it among their top three priorities. Coming in second was high-speed Ethernet with 29%, indicating that enterprise need for increased bandwidth continues to increase.

  • Data centers live on

    Despite the cloud, enterprise data centers aren't an endangered species. On the contrary, organizations are continuing to support and invest in their data centers. Thirty-one percent of survey respondents said they will spend 50% or more of their total IT budget on data center facilities, hardware, and operations. While 35% expect data center spending will remain flat in the next 12 months, 54% say spending will increase 5% or more.

    In the data center, servers lead the way as the top investment: 44% put them among their top three investment priorities. Server virtualization followed, tied with public cloud services at 31%.

  • Converged and hyperconverged infrastructure

    Converged infrastructure and in particular, hyperconverged infrastructure, have been a hot data center trend as enterprises look to streamline IT operations. These integrated technologies promise speedier deployment and simplified management. According to the InteropITX and InformationWeek study, 65% of survey respondents said they're either using, planning to use, or looking into converged or hyperconverged infrastructure. Twenty percent aren't interested.

    Virtual desktop infrastructure is the most popular use case respondents envision for converged and hyperconverged infrastructure (65%), followed by general database storage and high-performance computing (both 28%).

  • Ramping up wireless networks

    The wireless network has become mission critical in IT infrastructure, and the study shows that companies are continuing to build out their WLANs to accommodate growing demand. In the next 24 months, 61% of respondents say wireless traffic will increase either significantly (19%) or somewhat (42%).

    The top wireless technology companies plan to invest in over the next 12 months are wireless access points (47%).  With 39% of survey respondents planning to invest in wireless/mobile security, organizations clearly are concerns about the security issues associated with wireless networks, such as managing BYOD devices.

  • Cloud use

    Despite the investments in traditional data center technologies, the cloud is becoming an option for many enterprises. As noted earlier, public cloud services are second to servers as the top data center investment priority, tied with server virtualization.

    Organizations also are keen to implement the cloud model in-house. Twenty-two percent of respondents said private cloud is a high priority for their company, and many are already using it. Only 10% said they didn't see any value in the technology.

    And many companies appear to view cloud storage as a viable alternative. Survey respondents said they use cloud storage for a variety of reasons: Backup and recovery (37%), archiving (31%), application-specific storage (30%), and general-purpose storage (29%).

  • IT challenges

    Of course, IT implementation is never easy, and organizations report a number of obstacles to their infrastructure modernization efforts. Sixty-two percent of IT leaders polled cited cost of implementation as the top inhibitor. Lack of staff expertise followed at 46% and then security concerns at 43%.