Things Business and IT Execs Should Focus On
With the high pace of technology coming out today, there are a lot of things that are on a CIO’s plate. Technical teams need to figure out which technologies to focus on so that they would not be left behind, while also making sure that everything is within budget. For this year, what are the top nine technologies that you should be aware of? The cloud and big data are just the two.
What are the critical areas that business and IT executives should be focusing on?
Cloud computing has been in tech discussions for the most part of the decade, so it should be expected to be part of this list. This technology brings with it a lot of benefits and advantages to businesses that if you are part of the small minority that is not using cloud computing for your business, then now is the time to start.
More importantly, for those who are currently using the cloud, it is essential for you to know the drawbacks and problems, and how to solve them.
2. Software-defined networking
Software-defined networking is probably the most talked about technology right now for businesses. Software-defined networking pertains to management tools that allow you to virtualize your network so that you can forget about individual routers or switches. It is a networking layer that goes on top of your current physical system that other servers see.
VMware was the first to coin the term in a whitepaper they released last year. Because it is a relatively new concept, there is a lot of discussion on this technology. Even at InterOp’s SDN keynote panel, the resource speakers cannot even agree on what software-defined networking really is, and even had squabbles over its definition.
For some, software-defined networking is limited only to hardware visualization, while others insist on the technology, including the ability to scale and change the architecture with the use of automated tools and software.
3. Software-defined data centers
Software-defined networking is not the only “SD” technology you should be looking into. In fact, there are several SD technologies popping out right now, and one of them is software-defined data centers. However, if you see how unclear everything related to software-defined networking is, then you would understand how murkier software-defined data centers are.
One focus when it comes to this technology is how you can use it using hypervisors and other pieces of tech that you are currently using so that your old data centers can be used as private cloud architectures.
Software-as-a-service is another technology that has been around for a long time. You probably have used SaaS at one point or another. However, you should be aware of how SaaS providers are updating their offerings. You might want to check whether your current SaaS provider is still the top vendor in that space and offers everything you need or might need in the future. Or is there an alternative out there: one that you might not have considered before, or one that now offers everything you need at a much lower price than your current provider.
5. Bring your own device
If you allow employees to use their own mobile phones or tablets to access their work files or e-mails, then you are familiar with the problems and benefits of the BYOD movement. Years after bring your own device first came into mainstream IT discussions, people are still arguing whether it’s a good thing or a security nightmare.
Should you discourage employees from using their own iPhones to log into the company’s network? Or should you just invest in added tools and security to allow your employees to work with their own tablets?
Answers to these questions have come up with no concrete solutions. The impasse seems to center around whether the company sees benefits in either blocking or allowing BYOD.
6. The Internet of Things
If BYOD adoption is mostly hampered by security concerns, then the Internet of Things might be a nightmare to discuss when it comes to security. IoT is where you connect sensors, devices, appliances, and just about everything you have to your network and eventually, the Internet. You can actually hear IT and network administrators cringe at the thought of having “interconnected” sensors.
The Internet of Things opens your network to a lot of attack vectors. Each sensor, appliance, and device is a door that could let cybercriminals in. What’s more, these are devices that might have different operating systems and software than what you are used to. So why are we even talking about the Internet of Things?
IoT brings with it a lot of benefits, including more data and better information about our systems that are not available otherwise. For instance, cars now have diagnostic tools because of the sensors each component has. A mechanic will no longer have to guess what parts are causing breakdowns. The sensors will tell you which ones to replace and even what kinds of trouble you need to troubleshoot.
For some, the sensors are there for safety reasons. For instance, you can have sensors monitor the heat of specific machinery. Your network can shut down a machine that is on the verge of overheating, allowing you to prevent a misfortune from happening and keeping that machine in top working conditions.
7. Mobility and wireless
When it comes to managing your wireless networks and infrastructure, the focus now is on the new 802.11ac protocol. You should know how to implement an 802.11ac network, as well as its benefits such as faster speeds and a more secure infrastructure. You should also know its many features, such as multi-user MIMO and beamforming.
8: Big data
Big data involves getting millions (and billions) of information from various sources and then using them for predictive modeling and other functions. The thing with big data is that it tends to use up a lot of your resources. For instance, accessing Data.gov and other external sources of big data will mean a heavy toll on your bandwidth. Accessing big data stored locally will take a toll on your server space, compute cycles, and other resources.
People have been talking about IPv6 as there are now very few IPv4 addresses available. The future then is to deploy IPv6. So study up on it or else, your network will have a lot of problems in the near future.
Photo courtesy of Jürgen (Flickr).