8 data center predictions for 2020


Jack Wallen shares his thoughts about data centers and edge computing, Kubernetes, 5G, containers security, and more for the coming year.

The data center is the heart of your business. Although your company lives and dies by its employees and products and/or services, IT can’t deliver any level of functionality, reliability, and agility without your data center.

What will 2020 bring for data centers? Let me gaze into my crystal ball and share what I think will be in store for the coming year.

SEE: Data center access policy (TechRepublic Premium)

1. Rise in edge computing
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More businesses are depending on Internet of Things (IoT) devices for a number of services; therefore, networking architecture must be rethought. With nearly every enterprise company using various forms of the cloud, they are dependent upon a centralized network. This type of network is far from ideal for deploying IoT devices, which is why many businesses will be turning to edge computing.

Edge computing is a technology paradigm that pushes core processing functions to the specific location where it is needed–often at the edges of the network. This makes it possible to collect and analyze data “on location” instead of transmitting the data back to the centralized cloud for computation. Edge computing allows for maximized operational efficiency, improved performance and safety, and minimizes downtime. I’m fairly confident that on an enterprise level we’ll be seeing a massive rise in edge computing in 2020.

2. Tool that simplifies Kubernetes deployments

Currently, Kubernetes takes a lot of work to get right. It’s complex; there are a lot of moving parts; and deploying a truly secure cluster isn’t for the faint of heart. I predict much of that complexity will end in 2020. A few tools have already been developed to ease the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters.

This new tool will make deploying Kubernetes clusters so simple that anyone with the slightest understanding of IT technology will be able to deploy their own cluster with speed, reliability, and more importantly security. I’m also fairly confident this tool will be open source and further the Linux hold over container technology.

3. Nearly 90% of data center traffic will focus on cloud

I have a suspicion that by the end of 2020 nearly 90% of all data center traffic will focus on the cloud. This will be a combination of private, public, and hybrid clouds and will be partially due to the continued growth of services like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure, and the use of those platforms for container clusters serving up apps and services.

With more social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram leaning heavily on the cloud, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that 2020 could easily become the year the cloud becomes the network and the network becomes the cloud.

4. A massive breach centered around a container deployment
Containers are not going away, and with their rise in popularity comes an increase in security threats. By the end of 2020, I predict we’ll see at least one massive security breach that centers around a container deployment. This breach may come from a company deploying containers from an insecure image, or from a poorly configured network; either way, this breach will place the security of containers front and center, leading to a constituent technology from some sort of container security consortium.

SEE: How to choose between containers and virtual machines (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

5. More dependency on open source
Let’s face it, without open source, a number of enterprise-level technologies wouldn’t exist. In the coming year, we’ll see data centers’ dependency on open source reach critical mass. Even now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a data center that doesn’t use open source on some level. By the end of 2020, this will not only be obvious, it will be glaring.

More data centers will depend on containers, automation, cloud, edge computing, and other technologies that are–simply put–open to the core. This means Linux will not only be the champion of the cloud, it’ll rule the data center. Operating systems like CentOS 8, RHEL, SLES, and Ubuntu Server will see a massive rise in market share by the end of the year.

SEE: Predicting 2020 trends across DesignOps, AppDev, AI, IoT and 5G (TechRepublic)

6. 5G infrastructure
With OEMs rolling out both devices and networks by the end of 2020, 5G will be the standard. This means any company expanding its edge computing profile will find 5G critical to the success of this new adoption.

At a speed that is expected to be 10 times faster than 4G networks and the ability to support millions of devices per square mile, 5G will allow far-away sensors to instantly update connected devices. This increase in real-time processing means you’ll be deploying tech capable of handling and managing 5G. For any business leveraging IoT and edge computing, 5G is not just a reality–it’s a necessity.

7. Skynet looms
The coming year will see a larger dependency on artificial intelligence (AI) automation. The AI used with CI/CD pipelines has become incredibly sophisticated. We might see self-programming, self-healing cluster deployments by the end of 2020. With the right combination of cluster-related components, it’s possible to create a container system capable of automatically updating or rolling a deployment back if an update fails. Developers will build upon these systems to give container cluster automation an almost SkyNet quality. The Singularity might begin within some innocent cluster deployment.

SEE: Forrester: The 5 IoT predictions paving the way for 2020 (TechRepublic)

8. New skills required
If you think your job is safe, think again–thanks to newer and more complex technologies, the IT field will become even more competitive. By the end of 2020, you should consider adding the following skills to your toolkit or face stiff competition for jobs:


AI integration

Cloud hybridization

Container security


Edge computing


Network functions virtualization

Those are my predictions for data centers in 2020, though nothing is a sure bet–technology might come out of nowhere to make everything else obsolete. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mind on the security of your data center.


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