Megaport: 2021 technology predictions

By Eric Troyer, CMO, Megaport
Eric Troyer, CMO at Megaport details his predictions for the technology industry in 2021...

CIOs Will Take Steps to Reduce Reliance on Public Internet 

For IT teams, 2020 was all about enabling remote work amid an unfolding crisis. Heading into 2021, the focus will shift to optimizing highly distributed remote work to improve productivity.  

As employees sheltered in place, the internet proved crucial in the nearly instantaneous mass shift to remote work. Gartner forecasts that spending on cloud services will grow 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020. Yet CIOs are recognizing that the public internet is not a long-term option for connecting to and between mission-critical cloud services: it doesn’t deliver the reliability, performance, and security needed for complex cloud applications and workflows, hindering productivity.  

To address this, organizations will take further steps to shift as much company traffic onto direct private connections to their cloud services to improve user experience as much as possible. This will be critical in sectors with more demanding networking requirements, such as financial services, digital media, and healthcare, among others. 

Employee Migration Reshapes the Edge 

The distribution of how data flows has been upended by the widespread shift to remote work and will force organizations to continually reevaluate and redefine their networking and edge computing strategies. The pandemic has spurred many people to migrate away from the major cities, which means businesses will need to figure out how to support their distributed workforce with their existing infrastructure. As such, we’ll see more of a focus on tier 2 and tier 3 cities like Nashville and Minneapolis, compared to the emphasis on cities like San Francisco and New York pre-pandemic. 

C2C Connectivity Barriers Crumble 

Cloud-to-cloud connectivity has been too complex for most IT teams to manage. That’s rapidly changing. Widespread availability of reliable, low-latency cloud-to-cloud connections will give CIOs much more flexibility at a time when uncertainty is the norm and agility is imperative. For example, an enterprise can now store data in low-cost storage on one cloud, such as AWS or Google Cloud, and connect it to their Oracle or other high-performance ERP systems in another cloud, reducing costs while delivering the needed performance and capabilities. 

Network and Cloud Automation Will Alleviate Some Pressure on IT teams 

Remote work environments are straining IT teams that also face budget constraints. Organizations will increasingly focus on automating their cloud workflows to optimize processes, alleviate their overloaded IT teams, and minimize the need for manual adjustments that often lead to errors and downtime (such as turning capacity up or down). Meanwhile, service providers will leverage new automation capabilities such as broad API integrations with SD-WAN technologies to retain customers, grow their ecosystem and increase customer value. 

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