Hello there, so something I have not really got into is firstly the writing of the blog posts. I spent the time setting the page up etc but I haven’t actually had the time to shout about things, secondly its that time of year where all tech blogs consist of some sort of review of the year gone by and predictions for the forthcoming year…

So I am going to try and do just that and try to predict where I think technology will head in 2014. I will also look to summarise my experiences of 2013.

Flash

We have seen a huge increase in the buzz words around flash, I believe this will carry on growing from strength to strength, one thing I do believe we will see is more mainstream storage vendors adopting these flash technologies, again as mentioned this has been a buzz word for pretty much Q3 and Q4 of 2014 and with NetApp releasing and updating their current flash portfolio I believe this sets the wheels in motion for the upcoming year.

This new portfolio has been blogged by Brian Mitchell over on his site here – http://www.ntapgeek.com/2013/11/netapp-debuts-ef550-flash-array.html

I also believe we will see a lot more server based flash, bringing that level of IO closer to the host level and application. This server based flash is going to further enhance VDI performance, Database performance and Server Virtualisation.

There are lots of “Flash” startups that have emerged over the past couple of years, the most common that I have heard/read about would be Fusion IO, Atlantis Computing and PureStorage. From a pretty biased opinion is the NetApp FlashAccel,

FlashAccel can be both an agent based or agentless, this allows for the customer to choose the best option for their workload, its free to all NetApp customers as well…

There are lots of good features for flashaccel from netapp, I believe with this tiered with other NetApp caching technologies such as flashcache and flashpool there is a good chance that workload SLO (Service Level Objectives) can be changed to suit, I think this is something that NetApp are looking into bringing to this stack.

Clustered OnTap

Clustered OnTap really isn’t a new technology, however I think the new OS from NetApp is now mature enough to cater for most storage requirements over its older brother 7-Mode, you could say this has been 10 years in the making and this has been progressing somewhat year on year. Over the last 18 months though we have seen a lot of gaps closed and feature parity with 7-Mode is now pretty much there….. Granted we don’t have Metrocluster which I think is probably why over in EMEA we are not seeing the same traction as the US are but this is on its way so think that will be the turning point over this way.

Along with the 8.2 release being the last release where features have been updated in 7Mode, from here in they will only receive maintenance patches for bug fixes etc.

From my point of view I have been trying to embrace and run with clustered ontap for a while, the issue with this is lack of traction and also lack of skills at the moment over here, we were waiting for one of our customers to embrace clustered ontap so we could use the netapp ps guys for the first install so we could shadow this, it was typical that when this happened I was already booked out. But I have been told that more installation/implementation hands on type training will be available to partners in the early part of the year.

Hybrid Cloud adoption

A yearly prediction would not be complete without using the famous “cloud” buzz word! So I had to mention it although only the one I am not mentioning the VDI or BYOD one that I have seen so many other times in reviews and predictions.

So back in early November, I sat on the VMware vCloud Director install, configure and manage course, and so on this course the different cloud theories were explained and discussed. This got me doing a little more reading around these offerings, and one that I found really made me think this is pretty cool this was the hybrid cloud.

The private cloud has been around for years and years… it is in fact just infrastructure located in your business premises, this is my very relaxed way of describing the Private cloud.

The public cloud again has been around for years and years… but not as long as the private cloud I guess, and this is an infrastructure that is not located at the business workplace but in fact at another location accessible by an internet connection. This location will most likely also have other customers such as yourself sharing the building, facilities, racks, power and even infrastructure nowadays.

So as I said this got me interested, the Hybrid cloud has not been around for ages, it’s an adaptation to the buzz word “cloud” and combines the two, Private and Public cloud infrastructures as one. Allowing workloads to be distributed between different locations, allowing for new workload capacity to be fired up during peak times.

Which brings me back to my prediction, I believe this cloud offering will become more sought after this coming year due to the ability to grow and shrink an infrastructure according to a company’s workload requirements. I believe the term that VMware used here was “elasticity”

Related article – http://www.informationweek.com/infrastructure/cloud-infrastructure/gartner-50–of-enterprises-use-hybrid-cloud-by-2017/d/d-id/1111769?

So there are my predictions for 2014, If I was to list any further there would be the VDI technology, I believe this has grown once again since last year a lot more features available. With the new Windows OS being released this offers an ideal candidate for company’s rolling out new desktops, but I don’t believe it will take the world by a storm it will just keep growing its completely embedded now within the industry.

Another that didn’t make the short list would be the System Center 2012 suite from Microsoft, I honestly thought we would see a lot more traction with this during the year but for some reason we haven’t. I think in general the Microsoft stack is evolving really nicely with some great features and tools. We have Windows 8.1, Windows 2012 r2, we have the 2012 r2 virtualisation layer in Hyper-V and the monitoring and automation layer in System Center 2012. it’s only a matter of time when feature parity is present with the likes of VMware.

So that’s what I think 2014 will bring to our IT industry from a personal point of view I have a lot going on in 2014!

In early 2014 me and my wife will be moving into our new home, even with all that excitement to contend with we are also expecting our first child in April 2014. So from a personal point of view it’s going to be a busy one…

That said since I have been working in IT I have always set myself targets from a career perspective, that could be training, certification or even specific job related career goals.

The first certification I need to gain in early 2014 is my NCIE – Clustered OnTap, I took this exam whilst out in Dublin for NetApp Insight 2013 and got 68% so although a fail I have seen the types of questions and I am able to prepare for the retake. This needs to be done before February  as my current NCIE expires then.

I have also been working or at least looking at the Cisco Data Center track, with the FlexPod converged infrastructure that is steadily hitting the ground over here in EMEA it fits well to have the Cisco skill set in my portfolio to assist in the design and implementation of these flexpod solutions. Because I have never been through a cisco track I would need to complete the CCNA followed by the CCNP as follows.

Cisco CCNA Data Center
640-911 DCICN
640-916 DCICT

Cisco CCNP Data Center
642-999 (DCUCI)
642-997 (DCUFI)
642-035 (DCUCT)
642-980 (DCUFT)

And you would think that would be enough for a whole year….. However I am also looking to complete the upgrade of my MCITP Enterprise Administrator to the MCSE 2012, I still require one exam for this, and I have managed to fail this twice now so I need to knuckle down and get that done…. It’s the 70-414 exam.

From a career point of view, the NCIE is key to keep updated, but also I would like to think that a full clustered ontap solution will be installed by myself by the end of the year, and if I was a betting man I would also like to bet on delivering a Metrocluster running clustered ontap…..

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