Top trends to watch out for in 2011

Industry experts reveal the hot market trends for the next 12 months including the growing datacentre market, converged infrastructure, cloud computing and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions

Converged Infrastructure (CI) will become a primary driver in the Australian server market in 2011, according to IDC analyst Matthew Oostveen, who gave ARN a sneak peak of his 2011 predictions.

“CI is driven primarily by a desire to move towards an automated and managed server storage infrastructure layer,” Oostveen said. “One of the key enablers for this type of computing is virtualisation. Initially it was an enterprise play, but we’re seeing now more and more examples of this technology permeating the SMB.”

That’s one of his ‘hot button’ predictions for 2011. Other notable market drivers include: appliance servers and storage will gain real traction in the market, replacing many traditional database server sales; and 1 in every 5 x86 servers shipped in Australia will run Linux

“Linux has now reached maturity and we’re seeing that with one in every five x86 servers shipped running the Linux operating system. This is a broad based acceptance that Linux is reliable, it’s available and it’s scalable. It’s also being driven by demand in some key areas including high performance computing.”

In releasing his overall 2011 market predictions this week, Oostveen said next year will be the year of transformation with ICT infrastructure at the heart of all activity and spending in Australia.

Managed print services (MPS) will be the “game-changing trend for the hardcopy peripherals market in 2011, replacing consumables as the new pot of gold,” and the all-in-one desktop PC will keep the desktop alive next year (see sidebar for a full list of IDC’s 2011 predictions).

Distributors, vendors and resellers also put on the visionary glasses and revealed some hot predictions for 2011.

Like Oostveen, Ingram Micro A/NZ vice-president and managing director, Jay Miley, said converged infrastructure is the hot market to watch next year.

“We want to capitalise on the growth of the datacentre market and converged infrastructure and lead with networking, server and storage technologies,” Miley said. “Datacentre technologies are the ones that the mid-market centric systems integrators will continue to see strength in.”

Recapping on 2010, he said the industry experienced a “return to a normal” environment. “When we reflect on 2009, we saw the Australian economy improve – not in all sectors – but it was more robust and stronger than North America and Europe.”

Office 2010 and the Windows 7 launch helped buoy the market, he added.

“A lot of businesses in 2009 put off Capex investments in IT refresh cycles – this all played well into our hands in 2010.”

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Oostveen agreed the Windows 7 launch helped fuel the market. “Windows 7 was a great success for Microsoft. It did buoy the PC marketplace, and it was certainly one of the strong drivers for growth,” Miley said.

The “big message for the channel” in 2010 was how important it is, he said.

“The channel is more important today than it was in the past. Three years, five years, it doesn’t matter how far you go back, the channel has never been more important. The new IP in IT seems to be customer relationships - and vendors recognise that their channel partners hold this important set of keys to their success.”

Indeed, pooling resources is the key to channel success, Oostveen said.

“We’re going to see some interesting bedfellows coming up in 2011. Some partners will align. You might have storage specialists align with service specialists or with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) specialists – and collaborate their resource pools to be able to provide one solution to an end user.”

Certainly, cloud computing resonated loud and clear with the channel in 2010.

Symantec Pacific region director of enterprise channel, Jeff Arndt, said 2010 was the year of the cloud.

“This year the dominant conversation was around the cloud – it proved to be the year where cloud was defined. At the start of the year, it was all about branding and the marketing of the cloud. Now we have actual traction around software-as-a-Service [SaaS] and Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS],” Arndt said. “The momentum will continue and we’ll start to see who all the players are.”

Symantec small business and distribution director, Steve Martin, said the channel started getting its ducks in order to address cloud computing opportunities. “Last year we saw a move back to basics for the channel. Tough times force innovation. The channel started to learn how to build the cloud – building their own datacentre and determining services. There’s a huge amount of work in that space. They are interested in innovation and new revenue streams.”

Ingram’s Miley said there’s a “lot of curiosity” with cloud.

“Cloud means a lot of different things to a lot of different people – and there’s the public/private aspect, which is an interesting debate," he said.

“We intend to enable our partners in terms of educating them about cloud business models in order to be successful on the journey. We do believe certain applications, business solutions will migrate more towards the cloud-based private and public environments.”

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In addition to the cloud frenzy, data reduction (including a focus on deduplication and think provisioning) will be the “strongest priority in enterprise storage” as organisations try to contain the data explosion, Oostveen said.

“For the last couple of years we’ve talked about driving efficiencies through the datacentre, through the enterprise, and we’ve had that conversation around servers.

"We talk about virtualisation, blades, consolidation of the server stack, but everyone ignores the elephant in the room – and that’s the storage.

"Storage is growing at an exponential rate. It will grow between 2010 and 2020 some 44 times. 2010 was a significant year because the digital universe grew to 1.2 zettabytes. That’s a stack of DVDs from here to the moon and back again. By 2020, that stack of DVDs will go halfway to Mars.”

Oostveen said the storage market will ramp up through 2011 as IT managers and CIOs become more aware they need to get their storage infrastructure under control.

“If you want to move towards a cloud, whether it’s private or public, you’ve got to push this pool of data up into an extra layer of resource – it’s quite frankly like a boa constrictor eating a pig. You need to minimise the amount of information that you’ve got so that you’re not paying so much for your WAN and communication costs.”

Channel action

Thomas Duryea CEO, Andrew Thomas, said systems management work around the desktop will be a big area of play.

“Looking forward, Windows 7 is on everyone’s radar. Desktop automation is now a much more mature conversation. It’s not just about replacing a desktop, but want to know what the new model is to access applications,” he said.

Dimension Data CTO, Gerard Florian, said there are “two big buckets” to watch for in 2011: infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and collaboration.

“With the notion of IaaS, you can take all the bits now and put the IT house in order. You don’t have to buy individual components,” Florian said.

Collaboration technologies – from IP telephony to visual and web conferencing to unified messaging and instant messaging – help enable organisations to share knowledge and collaborate better in a secure and managed way.

“Optimism has returned to the market and organisations are focusing on growth and productivity. They are looking to collaboration solutions to facilitate information sharing,” he said.