Will cloud computing replace traditional IT infrastructure

5 channel trends for 2021

The digital transformation has accelerated further in the context of Covid-19. It is clear that individual companies cannot keep pace with this change on their own. Retailers, authorities and the health sector rely on the expertise of digital service providers when setting up their IT infrastructure. Network, cloud and other IT providers, in turn, use digital interconnection ecosystems to scale their offerings and implement new services. Even leading system integrators rely on direct networking with partners to close capacity gaps.

A high-performance digital infrastructure is essential for the exchange with partners and services and for the business success of companies. It is already becoming clear where this infrastructure will develop in 2021 and how this will affect the channel. The following five trends will be particularly important:

  • Cloud-native: Cloud-native and open-source technologies are more in demand than ever, as they enable companies to scale applications faster and deliver them globally. In 2021, companies will increasingly turn away from traditional IT infrastructures and migrate to the cloud, where modern software stacks and hybrid multi-cloud solutions offer them the flexibility they need to deal with changing market conditions. For the channel, this means an even stronger focus on the cloud, e.g. by offering products and services via a cloud-based OPEX consumption model.

  • Edge-first: Workloads are increasingly shifting to a distributed, networked edge infrastructure. Edge-first implementations are central for latency-sensitive applications and processes that require proximity to users, systems or clouds. Partners have to adapt their range of services accordingly. Hardware providers in particular are faced with a paradigm shift: Instead of delivering physical appliances to a colocation facility and configuring them for customers, hardware companies can now execute the software functions that are traditionally embedded in their hardware, for example using flexible bare metal automation .

  • 5G: The increasing demand for 5G requires a distributed edge infrastructure to process large amounts of data. But this data must also be aggregated and exchanged in order to benefit companies. In order to enable the successful implementation of 5G projects, partners should therefore rely on highly networked data centers that enable connection to ecosystems made up of networks, clouds and companies.

  • AI: Improvements in hardware and efficiency of AI algorithms enable the increasing relocation of AI processing to the network edge. However, organizations must trade off the accuracy of AI models against edge constraints on power consumption, performance, security, and latency. When implementing AI projects, channel participants should clarify requirements for latency, performance and security at an early stage and rely on partner solutions that enable fast and direct data exchange between actors.

  • Sustainability: In view of the climate crisis, more and more companies are setting themselves ambitious sustainability goals to reduce their CO2-Reduce footprint. This also affects the choice of provider and partner: According to a current study by IDC, 24 percent of German IT decision-makers state that sustainability is an important factor when choosing an IT provider. For 48 percent it is a clear plus. The current initiative of more than 25 European cloud and data center providers, who launched the "Climate Neutral Data Center Operator Pact" in January: a first-time self-regulation initiative in the industry that reinforces the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030, should also be seen in this context to become.

The channel is playing an increasingly important role in digital transformation and illustrates the added value that actors such as service providers, clouds or IT infrastructure providers generate through their collaboration. In order to remain competitive, partners must actively integrate the emerging trends into their offerings so that they can support customers in building a high-performance and sustainable infrastructure.