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Dell CTO’s predictions focus on edge, mobility, data and security

There will be plenty going on in 2022 as debates on some of the big topics evolve to meet changing trends

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It is that time of year when crystal balls are dusted off and gazed into as companies try to get a sense of where revenues will be coming from in 2022 and beyond.

Among those taking part in the predictions exercise is Dell Technologies president and chief technology officer (CTO) John Roese, who shared his thoughts about where excitement will be generated in the year ahead.

There four main things he chose to highlight as making an impact in 2022 were edge, private mobility, data management and security.

The edge divide

On the edge front, he said conversations on the topic would start to split between platforms and workflows/software stacks.

“I think the world is coalescing around things that aren’t in datacentres, that are part of the modern application and data pipelines, from a topology perspective, under this domain of edge that’s now starting to form,” he said.

“We are now realising that there is a significant proliferation of edges. What that means is that each of the data pipelines – the cloud services, the data services, the application environments – that have originated in public and private cloud environments are starting to push to the edge independently. That’s resulting in a proliferation of edge stacks, architectures and even hardware,” added Roese.

He said the proliferation of edge stacks was unsustainable and hence would force a different conversation to emerge in 2022.

“The edge is an environment where physical topology matters, resources are limited, IT staff is not present. We have to do something different. What we expect to happen, and it’s starting to happen now, is for the edge dialogue to shift into two dialogues. There will be a dialogue around the actual edge workloads – those software-defined workloads that need to live on an edge platform – and a second discussion of what platform they live on,” he added.

5G to drive private mobility

Private mobility is being driven by the wider adoption of 5G as customers start developing their own private infrastructure, which will have consequences on existing supplier ecosystems.

“Dell has already announced its intention to be a private mobility provider. Most of the value-add will not be around the radio side, but much of it will be around integration into the enterprise automation, configuration and orchestration tools,” said Roese.

“We expect more and more diversity of how people will consume a private 5G environment, well away from just consuming it from a telecoms operator,” he added. “In addition to the diversity of infrastructure providers, we’re also going to see [more] open source activity in this space and we expect significant investment in the open source community to deliver more of the componentry necessary for private mobility to happen.”

Data management at the edge

When it comes to data management, Roese said he expects edge computing to have a greater impact over the next 12 months.

“What we will see in 2022 goes back to the first trend – that edge is becoming the new battleground for data management as data management becomes a new class of edge workload,” he said.

Roese said more customers were realising that their data was being collected outside of the datacentre so there was a need for a change of approach in the years ahead.

“What we’ve started to see is that when customers moved into modern data management architectures, things like cloud-based data lakes and cloud-based observability, that was great as long as all of the data lived in the cloud environment. What they are realising is that most of the data doesn’t live there. It gets collected, it gets created, it gets acted upon outside of the datacentre,” he said.

“Almost the entire data management ecosystem is now trying to figure out how to extend these concepts that were centralised in the public clouds, even private environments, out into this distributed topology.”

Strengthening supply chain security

Finally, on the security front, things that the channel will need to take note of next year are around talk of strengthening supply chain security into real action.

“I would argue that in 2021, it was mostly all talk. It didn’t result in the industry actually coming together to try to address these issues. As we look to 2022, we’re seeing the industry starting to activate and organise around these big trends, like securing the software supply chain, or the development architecture, or the open source ecosystem,” said Roese.

“We’re seeing a shift away from just regulation and government talk to the industry starting to organise around solving some of these security problems. I’m not sure we will fully solve them, but we will see a lot more activity that’s less about talking politics or regulation and more about new technology, not implemented in individual companies, but across the industry, standardised ways to secure a software pipeline or to develop a software bill of materials,” he added.

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