While an industry-wide love affair with public cloud continues to rage, the goal of providing a parallel experience for on-premise IT remains unsatisfied.

What we have seen so far is a thin veneer on top of existing aging vendor offerings (VMware), and with OpenStack, a passionate community has been iterating an open source solution of self-service for developers. In both cases, the operations characteristics do not resemble public cloud at all, limiting the adoption.

Next year, a new definition of private cloud will evolve to create an operations-focused take on private cloud with three key characteristics.

1. Secure Like [Public] Cloud

Security when citing public cloud will seem moronic to some, considering the wide-open threat surface of AWS workloads. However, most people continue to trust that at the infrastructure and operator level, public cloud vendors (like AWS) are doing a much better job than their enterprise counterparts can.

Next year, there will be no change regarding industry-wide lack of security skills, and data breaches will continue at a frantic pace. What will change in 2017 for IT architects is that they will start to look for options to buy and deploy infrastructure that has security built in, like the public cloud.

2. Consume Like [Public] Cloud

Consume like cloud for 2017 will be about expanding hyperconvergence beyond a box consolidation of storage and compute.

The story of scale-out storage by companies like Nutanix and SimpliVity-both offering hyperconverged solutions-have been about the desire to consume like public cloud, as sub-teams within enterprises look for initial deployment and scaling that does not require an enterprise-wide multifunctional architecture team.

At the component level, SSDs with M.2 and NVDIMM form factors will bring radical change next year in form factor, performance and cost. These technologies will result in obsoleting decades of complex architecture around storage tiers both on/off server, and will accelerate the momentum of hyperconvergence architectures.

Reliable, scalable storage will increasingly be a commodity in 2017 with most vendors offering converged solutions at decreasing prices. However, this first level of storage/compute box consolidation is only the start, and we will see convergence expand to include a wider range of functionality including networking configuration/visibility, application-level security and threat analytics.

3. Manage Like [Public] Cloud

What manage like public cloud addresses is that while the hyperconvergence trend has been great for box consolidation and ease of consumption, we still have major ownership remaining with the operations team ranging from a jumble of disparate vendor VMs sitting on those nodes to a shadow management Ethernet network underlying the nodes.

The result today is that the skill set of designing/ integrating and maintaining on premise hyperconverged infrastructure is not a shared skill set with public cloud operations.

Trend towards manage like cloud for 2017 will mean continued increase in consumption of on-premise infrastructure managed through the cloud (i.e., management as a SaaS service).

The trend of cloud-managed infrastructure even when deploying on-premise systems and software will take hold as IT teams look for a shared responsibility model, shifting towards SaaS consumption everywhere.

-Will Eatherton, founder and VP engineering, Skyport Systems

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