By now virtually all organizations have embraced (or ar in process of embracing) the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) craze. BYOD has essentially established the consumerization of IT as a mainstream philosophy. But in the next 3-4 years, we expect to see a whole new branch of IT consumerization take hold. This will be driven by users who deploy Bring Your Own Server (BYOS).
While many point to cloud-based services as the next major impact area on IT going forward, it is not correct to say that everything will move to the cloud. Some things just work better in localized systems using on premise equipment. Further, specific instances of cost effectiveness and higher degree of control and security can make “on-prem” the better choice.
We are seeing the beginnings of a movement to micro servers – basically fixed appliances with purpose-built capability that IT no longer needs to configure and manage. Currently many such systems are coming on-line to run large back office systems (e.g., SAP, Oracle on preconfigured systems from VCE, Dell, etc.), or specialized preconfigured appliances for firewalls, security, email filtering, unified communications, etc (e.g., Symantec, Cisco, Dell, HP, McAfee, Barracuda Networks, Avaya, Microsoft). These are self-managing systems that are updated automatically by the manufacturer/service provider without user intervention.
We expect many of these capabilities to move to low cost, single purpose,” throwaways”, rather than the relatively big box servers common today. This will fundamentally change the definition of a corporate server from the prevalent current model of buy a box, buy some SW, configure the SW, place it on the network, have IT manage it, etc. While one of the biggest hindrances to “plug and play” servers is still the network and all of the complexity of connecting and managing such devices, we expect the network simplification process to continue to the point of “plug and play” functionality for many types of devices over the next 2-3 years, driven by self configuring networks, enhanced security mechanisms, better policy management, etc..
BYOS is a consequence of the move to IT consumerization, but also of the low power and low cost server chips coming to market from ARM-based vendors, as well as low power x86 chips from Intel (Atom) and AMD. These systems on a chip provide massive amounts of compute power available at low cost (and low power), with huge amount of storage available for very little expense. And the ease with which network computing can be created and expanded is truly approaching “consumerization” functionality even at the enterprise level.
So what will this BYOS phenomenon mean to the market and organizations? We expect the following:
Bottom Line: BYOS will take some time to become mainstream, but organizations will see a shift in emphasis from mainstream servers to purpose built devices over the next 3-4 years. The full ecosystem necessary for BYOS will likely take 5-7 years to fully develop, much like the BYOD/mobile market did. However, once established, we expect BYOS to become a major component of virtually all organizations.
Jack E. Gold
J.Gold Associates, LLC.
Research, Analysis, Strategic Consulting