Encouraging channel partners to embrace today’s cloud-based world, Jeroen Schlosser, managing director, Equinix MENA shares the firm’s predictions for 2019, which are focused on how 5G, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, data privacy and cloud will drive major architectural changes.
Evolving technology and data trends such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data privacy and cloud are paving the path for significant IT and network architecture changes in 2019, according to Equinix, Inc., the global interconnection and data centre company, which has released its top five predictions for 2019. The firm has developed unique insights into the key drivers pushing enterprises to succeed in the digital economy.
Equinix’s 2019 predictions include:
- Paving a path to the promise of 5G—tomorrow’s high-speed wireless networks will accelerate today’s network transformation.
Equinix anticipates that 5G will open up endless possibilities of digital transformation, especially in an IoT and AI-connected world. To attain the high radio density required for 5G, operators are looking to optimise costs through the use of open-source commodity networking hardware and virtualisation of the wireless networking stack. These efforts will pave the way for an Edge architecture to solve for cloud radio networks that will power several radios through pools of virtualised network software. Equinix anticipates increased investments in 2019 in the revamping of existing cellular building infrastructure and building of new edge infrastructure, as well as innovation in hardware and virtual wireless networking stacks for both performance and cost optimisation.
- Riding the rise of distributed Artificial Intelligence architectures—next-gen architectures will break free from centralised locations.
Equinix predicts that the growing use of AI in business and society will increase data usage exponentially. While first-generation AI architectures have historically been centralised, Equinix predicts that in 2019 enterprises will enter the realm of distributed AI architectures, where AI model building and model inferencing will take place at the local edge, physically closer to the origin source of the data. To access more external data sources for accurate predictions, enterprises will turn to secure data transaction marketplaces. They will also strive to leverage AI innovation in multiple public clouds without getting locked into a single cloud, further decentralising AI architecture.
- “Un-blocking” the chain—A network of networks will mature blockchain for greater business security and monetisation.
Blockchain investments are growing at a CAGR of 73%, with a projected total spending of $11.7 billion by 2022, according to IDC. Equinix predicts that:
Enterprises will start to participate in multiple blockchain networks (e.g., food safety, financial services, global container shipment), thus creating a network of networks—something that allows them to simultaneously interact with multiple blockchain ecosystems.
Blockchain performance will become a more important requirement within the enterprise space, driven by the need to accommodate more than simple transaction data or as an element in applications where real-time performance and linkage with other data sources matter. Examples of performance-sensitive blockchain applications include track and trace (supply chain), machine-to-machine (IoT) communication/exchange, and cross-border currency settlement, just to name a few.
Integration will become a huge challenge as enterprises combine their legacy applications with multiple blockchain networks, necessitating the deployment of exchange points for blockchain participants to directly connect and collaborate.
- Maneuvering the data privacy maze—changing data protection laws and heightened privacy concerns will inspire more progressive and distributed security processes.
Many enterprises and SaaS providers are deploying mini-clouds in multiple regions in order to adhere to local data residence and compliance requirements. They are also looking at distributed data management architectures that require global networks and data fabrics in order to coherently manage these distributed mini-clouds.
Equinix predicts that in order to prevent data breaches and retain control over their data, enterprises will consider:
New data management techniques that operate seamlessly on encrypted data (for example, limited forms of data querying on homomorphically encrypted data).
New hardware-based virtualisation technology that will prevent service providers from surveilling their customer’s data.
- Tapping interconnection to tame cloud complexity—hybrid multicloud environments will increase the relevance of interconnection.
Enterprises are now accessing SaaS, IaaS and PaaS solutions from multiple providers, and Equinix anticipates that 2019 will see the next level of challenges associated with hybrid cloud and multicloud approaches. The firm believes enterprises will struggle with expanding their security perimeters, as well as integration and management issues as they pursue hybrid multicloud architectures. These predicted trends indicate that enabling capabilities such as security, analytics and data exchange in close proximity to the cloud is a must for seamless cross-border data flow, and the right interconnection partner can help organizations navigate through the complexity of cloud. According to the Global Interconnection Index, a market study published by Equinix, Interconnection Bandwidth between Enterprises and cloud and IT providers is projected to grow 98% per annum through 2021, supporting businesses building out new digital services and migrating existing workloads to third-party cloud platforms.
As our digital world continues to evolve, we are entering a new phase: the interconnected era. This period of intense online collaboration and real-time participation is characterised by faster, richer forms of connectivity. For partners at the forefront of the interconnected era, significant new business opportunities beckon however it is important that the channel and partners embrace today’s cloud-based world.
Businesses are now moving an increasing proportion of their IT spend away from CAPEX-based investment in on-premise IT and centralised data centres and into cloud-based services and hybrid infrastructures. As budgets tighten, margins are squeezed. Value-added resellers (VARs), solution providers and systems integrators who continue to focus solely on supplying the networks, hardware and software that support a highly-centralised, on-premise model of IT will struggle to remain profitable. Today, enterprises from every industry all over the world are building out their digital edge at Equinix by placing their IT infrastructures where commerce, population centers and digital ecosystems meet. By collaborating within and across these digital ecosystems, companies will not only gain competitive advantage, but also be able to develop and deliver new digital services to their customers. Service providers who can help Enterprises realise the benefits of interconnection while maximising the return on their existing infrastructure investments – ultimately, partnering would be the route to profit and interconnections stands are the core of it.
The market is at an inflection point, where the right digital strategies become the differentiator and source of competitive advantage for organisations. And for the first time in history, the technology to fully enable digital business is available to everyone.