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Rackspace CTO predictions for 2013

IntroThe year of big data This is the year when big data will make its way into enterprise conversations. Gartner predicts that big data will drive $232m in IT spending through 2016. Companies will begin looking for ways to leverage big data solutions to create business value and a competitive advantage. For example, more companies will implement big data solutions to help analyse website traffic and to gain a deeper understanding of their customer base by identifying key trends in online viewing and purchasing behaviour. As the interest in big data increases, so too will the realisation that these solutions are complicated and difficult to deploy. As a result, there will be a big initial focus on looking for ways to take the time and complexity out of big data implementations. Internet of things The PC used to be the centre of the universe, but now the PC is only one of many devices. In fact, now it is becoming more of an "internet of things", as opposed to an internet of people. How many of our devices will have no screen and automatically do things on behalf of humans? The vast majority is my guess. These devices will include electric meters, sensors, surveillance cameras and cars. Everything we have will be connected. The power meter in your home that’s connected to the smart grid will constantly stream and store data in the cloud. The camera with Wi-Fi that streams photos will be connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi or 4G. Everything will have a connection to cloud services, as the cloud is the back end that makes it all possible. This internet of things also means the cloud is more important than ever. The cloud provides the central hub for all of these devices, as well as context about the user that can be tapped into and shared to make the product or service better. The cloud is also where the analytical data from all of these “things” is processed and stored, which again suggests how important big data solutions will be in the year ahead. Disaster recovery gets cloudy Whether it’s the catastrophic Tsunami in Japan, the deadly tornado outbreaks throughout the Mid-West US or the devastating hurricane that hit the East Coast, companies are being challenged to figure out how to maintain business operations in the midst of natural disasters. The cloud will help these companies respond quicker. The frictionless nature of moving workloads between clouds in the face of a disaster is huge, as it gives companies the flexibility they need to adapt. The cloud will be a key component of disaster recovery plans moving forward. SSD comes to the cloud We started to see this trend evolve in late 2012, but more companies will begin to use solid state drives (SSDs) for their cloud storage needs at an increasing rate. SSDs are going to be embedded into more devices, laptops and datacentres. While standard drives for storage will continue to be used, SSDs will offer a higher performance option that is fast, super low energy and contains no moving parts. As more SSDs are used, costs will come down and create a virtuous cycle. This cycle will kick off in 2013, as we will begin to see many more options for SSD in the cloud. Broader IT skills required As the tech industry continues its shift towards cloud computing and companies continue to implement public, private and hybrid clouds at an increasing rate, the typical IT manager, system administrator and even the CIO will soon be forced to develop a much broader skill set. This trend will help create a new job market that is ripe for those with a generalised skill set rather than a deep experience within one specialised area.
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