IT in 2013: What the year has in store

/ Managed IT Services
January 24th, 2013

2013 it predictions

1. The rise of Microsoft

The market in 2013 will see the rise of a whole host of new Microsoft technologies and systems. From Windows 8, Server 2012 and Exchange 2013, through to SharePoint 2013 and the Surface tablet device. No one integrates better than Microsoft, so when they put their mind to it they can change the game. For consumers, they’ve already done this with the Xbox, but now they need to map that success over to the business arena.

They will have some levers to help that happen, mainly the fact that a number of key products are going end-of-life in early in 2014, including Windows XP, Exchange 2003, Office 2003 and SQL 2000. Typically this will also lead to a refresh on hardware, so expect to see a significant uptick in hardware sales.

The developments on Microsoft’s Lync platform should be interesting, with Microsoft Lync 2013 being the first big step. Going forward I expect to see a lot more on this front, particularly after Microsoft’s extremely savvy purchase of Skype. A complete telephone system replacement is certainly coming from the Microsoft stable in the near future.

2. Storage issues

Storage is a pain, always has been, and will continue to be a source of many more management headaches in 2013. Obviously, data is still growing exponentially, but so is the demand on the performance of disks and arrays balanced against cost due to the vast virtualised estates out there. I’d expect a greater move to cloud to manage some of this data, however significant growth in the storage market, in terms of SAN/NAS, is also on the horizon.

There are some quite innovative storage solutions emerging, such as DotHill’s real-time hierarchical storage management. These technologies are needed to keep up with data growth in a cost-effective manner. The storage developments within Windows Server 2012 are also noteworthy, particularly around SMB 3.0, de-duplication and caching technologies.

3. Data centres

I’ve heard the drum beating in some national press about the amount of energy being consumed by data centres. This sort of media coverage can often be a precursor to some sort of tax. However, in the current economic climate, such a move would be surprising.

Much of the publicity and figures are probably skewed; data centres may be consuming more power but much of that will have just shifted from older, less efficient servers and company server rooms. For that reason, I would set aside the press activity and predict an increased transfer of storage into more energy efficient systems within data centres in the year ahead.

4. Security

In terms of security, 2012 has seen a rise in attacks against governments and organisations. Hacking is likely to remain a very real threat in 2013. This threat is growing and again raises the need for investment in business continuity services and security services within businesses. Most businesses cannot survive a long-term outage of internet or IT services, and so the threat of cyber-attacks and cyber-terrorism should not be underestimated.

5. Connectivity

Reliance on network connectivity grows by the year. We’ll see a move towards more robust connectivity, such as leased network circuits or EFM based circuits at a minimum. Too many organisations are relying on ADSL services with worthless service level agreements for mission-critical services. There will also be a push towards more resiliency on the WAN and internet connectivity, with N+1 (one connection and a backup connection) as a minimum.

6. Metrics

I expect to see more organisations realising that they need greater measurement, reporting and control. This will lead to an uptick in enterprise management system sales, as well as cloud and hardware sales. In turn, this will make it much easier for organisations to compete on a regional and international level. This will also ensure that demand for skills will also remain. It’s going to get harder for businesses to attain and retain skilled professionals that can deliver bottom-line results with IT.