Gartner Data Center: Achieve The Enterprise Agility That A Digital Future Demands

By Jason Knadler

This year’s Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations Management & Data Center Conference (or Data Center Conference for short) was aimed at helping IT professionals “achieve the enterprise agility that a digital future demands.” Core infrastructure was still very much a part, but Gartner encouraged attendees to reinvigorate the core – to take advantage of and to drive new digital initiatives.

Transforming to a new digital business platform requires “Platform Thinking” and touches on everything from ecosystems to data-driven trust, resource-orchestration and bimodal IT.

Cloud is here to stay

Cloud was again at the center of the conversation, which we heard in Gartner sessions, and in customer dialogue. Most of the customers’ key initiatives mirror what we heard directly from Gartner: nearly every customer is considering transitioning to the cloud in one form or another, for one reason or another. Some are hesitant, and others are jumping in full force.

This is exactly what we heard from analyst Bob Gill, VP and Agenda Manager in Gartner’s Infrastructure Strategies group, who presented a session on how to create an enterprise cloud strategy. He cautioned attendees not to “rush to the cloud” without analyzing the business benefits, and that different parts of the organization have very different ideas of what the cloud is. Likewise, Tom Bittman, Distinguished Analyst, cautioned that the “journey to the cloud” is really about the transformation and expansion of IT – not just a means to an end.

Many customers who we heard from discussed moving archive data to the cloud. Some are considering O365 or Exchange or SharePoint in the cloud for the perceived online “protection” that it brings. However one customer we spoke with shared an anecdote where he lost a VIP’s mailbox from cloud-based Exchange and was understandably hesitant to go “all-in.”

On a related note, we also heard an informative presentation on the “State of Cloud Storage” from Raj Bala, Research Director of Cloud Storage, who addressed the types of enterprise data that are going to the cloud the most (emails and end-user data,) the future of cloud storage (very bright!,) and the largest driver of growth as it relates to cloud storage (analytics workloads that take advantage of AI in the cloud.)

Trends in backup

On the backup side, we were pleased to hear from a number of customers who were taking a fresh look at Commvault. We heard a variety of reasons. Some had experienced limitations with other vendors’ cloud solutions, or still had expensive legacy architectures. Others simply had overcome some misconceptions of Commvault: “We thought it was hard to deploy, or that we needed a full-time administrator to manage Commvault.” (Answers to both: NO!) The notion of Commvault as being expensive has also started to disappear from their minds (check out our new licensing models and what Gartner has to say).

VP and Distinguished Analyst Dave Russell and Robert Rhame, Backup and Recovery Analyst, both discussed current trends in backup – alternatives that are available – and their maturity and applicability, as well as best practices to remediating current backup challenges in both enterprise and mid-sized organizations.

To start with, according to Gartner, in 2017 backup was a $5.8 billion market and is projected to grow to $6.1 billion next year, with a 7 percent five-year CAGR. But we also heard that backup is not as “sticky” as it once was. Fifty-three percent of customers are now willing to at least consider a full “rip and replace” of their backup vendor versus three years ago. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2021, 50 percent of organizations will augment or replace their current backup application with another solution, compared to what they deployed at the beginning of 2017.*

The top three considerations are “Cost, Complexity and Capability,” and the first two tend to trump the issue of capability. In my humble opinion, Commvault has addressed all three, and again, I’d point you to the 2017 Backup and Recovery Solutions Magic Quadrant as referenced above.

In short, I expect 2018 to be another great year for backup, and a continued march toward the cloud. Do you agree?

*Figures taken from 2017 Gartner Data Center Conference