In 2015, we saw some spectacular advances and use case adoptions for new data and data management technologies in both private and public sectors, from storage virtualization and software-defined data centers to analytics and BI methodologies.
In 2016, there are a number of data technology trends that I believe will really begin to take hold. Here are my top seven trends where I believe we will see some traction in the new year.
While the “Cloud” itself is nothing new, the shift toward discerning between public, private and hybrid cloud solutions continues. Federal spending on cloud solutions tripled between 2013 and 2014, yet many agencies are still trying to meet FedRamp requirements.
To meet concerns over cost, privacy, security and control, while retaining agility, flexibility and accessibility, I see an increase in agencies’ adoption of hybrid cloud models. Public cloud models will continue to be reserved for any general-purpose, publicly accessible information, testing and development environments, backup and archiving. Most business-critical data, sensitive information and applications with high-performance requirements will continue to be hosted in private clouds integrated with a hybrid broker capability.
While agency data mobility spending has been fragmented in 2015, mobility, for most federal employees, has become an expectation. Workers need to access their data when they need it, where they need it and on any device that they need it, while their agencies must ensure the data access remains secured and controlled. 2016 will see a higher rate of adoption for mobility solutions with built-in identity and access management, such as Hitachi’s Content Platform and Content Platform Anywhere.
Internet of Things
2015 saw a drastic IoT adoption by consumers, encapsulating an abundance of wearable technologies, smart homes and household appliances. This trend will continue with government agencies exploring the value of investing in mission-critical devices and machines with sensors that generate data and talk to each other. In fact, IDC forecasts that IoT use by the government will grow at a compound annual rate of 17.1 percent until 2018. Potential use cases are infinite: smart cities, personalized medical care, emissions detection and arms control, just to name a few. However, the big questions that will be explored in the new year include:
- How do we turn the data into valuable information?
- How will device users benefit from all of this interconnectivity?
- How will agencies keep all of this new data private and secure?
Security has always been at the forefront of the government’s accountabilities, and 2016 will be no different. This year, we will see a focus on three areas of security:
- Cyber Security- with the recent OPM data breach and Snowden incident, agencies will focus on how to protect the systems, data and information they have.
- IoT Security- as more devices go online they become susceptible to hackers who can do more than just steal critical data and information, but also exploit the devices’ applications in malicious ways. The question remains: How do we maintain control over the machines generating so much data?
- Physical Security- while the protection of lives and safety of our citizens has always been a primary responsibility of our government, the wake of recent attacks around the world, and at home, further heightens our awareness of the threat. 2016 will see an increase in intelligence gathering, analysis and action to identify and halt the activities of ISIS, and other terrorist groups.
Software-Defined Adoption on the Rise
One of the missions of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is improving the defenses of DoD networks, which includes the transition to software-defined. On October 30th 2015, Federal CIO Tony Scott published the Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan, which, among other things, stresses the federal government’s move to a Software-Defined architecture, integrating the capacity of virtualization, mobility and networking to create a more secure, faster and interoperable government.
An IDG Enterprise study revealed that in 2015, 80 percent of enterprises deployed big data projects. In contrast, 50 percent of federal agencies agree that big data analytics is a critical tool for federal agencies, according to another survey. 2016 will be the year that the government plays catch up, as agencies further realize the value of the meaningful insights derived from incoming data sources. While many agencies still see quite a few barriers to adoption, such as having the right infrastructure in place to support analytics initiatives and finding the right talent (i.e. data scientists), the requirement for analytics solutions is a natural compliment to the implementation of other new technological initiatives, like IoT.
Flash storage is not new technology, and in fact, it has been around for at least 25 years. However, in recent years we have started seeing more organizations switching from hard disk drives (HDD) to flash storage alternatives. In comparison to its spinning disk counterparts, flash storage brings unparalleled speed, agility and performance. Flash storage arrays and SSDs will continue to grow in adoption with more businesses and federal agencies transitioning to flash storage solutions. While the government is just dipping its toes in this technology, conversations about a transition to hybrid or all-flash storage arrays will become one of the federal data center priorities before the end of next year.