Gartner publishes 4 trends that will impact businesses in 2023

Cloud and other symbols representing trends in edge computing.
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Enterprise infrastructure and operations teams must cope with economic and geopolitical pressures as they strive to support new technologies and ways of working. Gartner researches four trends that will impact cloud, data center and edge infrastructure in 2023.

Gartner vice president Paul Delory believes that these external forces, not IT infrastructure, will pose the biggest challenges for organizations. Infrastructure and operations teams will “play a vital role” in mitigating their impact, Delory said at Gartner’s recent IT Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies conference. This will be a year of “refocusing, re-engineering and rethinking” infrastructure, he noted.


Top cloud, data center and edge infrastructure trends

Trend #1: Cloud teams are optimizing and improving cloud infrastructure

Despite the widespread use of the public cloud, many deployments are ad hoc and poorly implemented. To make clouds more efficient, flexible and cost-effective, I&O teams need to re-examine hastily assembled or poorly built infrastructure.

Cloud infrastructure overhaul should be at the heart of it cost optimization. This can be done through a series of steps that include eliminating redundant, overbuilt or unused cloud infrastructure and building business resilience instead of service-level redundancy; using cloud-based infrastructure to mitigate supply chain disruptions; and infrastructure modernization.

The work is paying off: According to Gartner, 65% of application workloads will be optimized or ready for cloud delivery by 2027, up from 45% in 2022.

Trend 2: New application architectures require new types of infrastructure

New and growing demands for new types of infrastructure, including edge infrastructure for data-intensive use cases, non-x86 architectures for specialized workloads, serverless edge architectures, and 5G mobile services, continue to challenge I&O teams. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 15% of on-premises production workloads will run in containers, up from less than 5% in 2022.

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To prepare, I&O professionals must carefully evaluate alternative options, focusing on their ability to manage, integrate, and transform within time, talent, and resource constraints. “Don’t go back to traditional methods or solutions just because they worked well in the past,” Delory advised in the press release. “Challenging times are times of innovation and the search for new solutions to meet business needs.”

Trend 3: Data center teams are adopting cloud principles on-premise

The number of data centers is shrinking as organizations turn to platform-based colocation providers. When used in conjunction with new physical infrastructure-as-a-service models, it can emulate cloud-like services with economic benefits in on-premise infrastructure.

According to Gartner, by 2027, 35% of data center infrastructure will be managed from a cloud-based control plane, compared to less than 10% in 2022. There are three steps I&O professionals should focus on this year:

  • Build cloud-based infrastructure within the data center.
  • Migrating workloads from your own facilities to shared locations or the edge.
  • Or use service-as-a-service models for physical infrastructure.

In an interview with TechRepublic, Delory said consumption-b

Data center pricing is becoming increasingly popular. “This allows for continuous, monthly payments for the hardware. This brings the economic model closer to that of the cloud, and means you don’t have to write a big check for all your equipment up front.”

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All major hardware vendors have consumption-based pricing programs and encourage you to use them, he added.

Trend 4: Organizations that prioritize skills development will succeed

The biggest obstacle to infrastructure modernization efforts is the lack of skills, and any organization that finds itself unable to hiring external talent to fill skill gaps. The company warns that unless IT organizations prioritize organic skill development, they will not succeed.

According to Gartner, improving operational skills should be the top priority for I&O leaders this year.

They should also encourage I&O professionals to take on new roles as site reliability engineers or expert advisors to development teams and business units. Gartner predicts that by 2027, 60% of data center infrastructure teams will have adequate automation and cloud skills, up from 30% in 2022.

More IT tips on costs, supply chain and strategies

There are other steps IT organizations must take from a strategic and cost perspective, Delory said. Noting that technology buying power has largely shifted to business units and that “IT is no longer the technology automaton,” he said the role of I&O teams is to work with technology buyers to help them make the right infrastructure decisions.

“We’ve almost become in-house consultants helping non-technical business customers make good technology decisions,” he said.

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In terms of cost control, applications in the cloud should be transformed to use cloud-native principles, such as migrating to serverless or serverless container architectures instead of using virtual machines, he suggested.

“That’s how you get the most value out of your cloud infrastructure and pay off your technical debt,” Delory said.

He expressed pessimism about the outlook for the supply chain, saying disruptions continue to be an ongoing consequence of COVID-19 shutdowns. “Some of our data looks pretty dire.”

For example, Gartner sees an average turnaround time of 200 days for network equipment, and in some cases customers have reported delays of 400 days.

“That means if you order new networking equipment today, you might not get it in 2023,” Delory said. “Many organizations that expected to implement a network upgrade this year may have to sweat the tools for another year.”

According to Delory, cloud and consumption-based models are also ways to alleviate supply chain problems. Regarding the cloud, capacity management is a problem for cloud providers. In the consumption-based model, items are delivered with excess capacity, so you don’t pay for them until you use them.

“A lot of IT shops are used to just-in-time ordering because it’s more resource efficient,” Delory said. “But in times of widespread supply chain disruption, just-in-time ordering may not work.”