I’ve had some time to sit and think recently (which I think most of you reading will agree is a rare indulgence). But thanks to a new arrival in the Douglas household, I’ve had some time in the very early hours to reflect on a year that seems to have rapidly disappeared.
A lot has happened in 2023 but for me there are two evolutions that stand out more starkly than the rest.
The first evolution is a result of the economic slowdown. Businesses have had to rethink strategies as growth has slowed. And they’ve had to wrestle back better control over the underlying costs that impact the success of the business. One of which is infrastructure.
The days of putting down a credit card just to get your business online have gone. As is spending your way out of trouble if an issue arises. The increase in prices across the board has made that approach unsustainable and unjustifiable.
Businesses in 2023 began to understand that they need to make more considered choices and smarter architectural decisions to get better performance per dollar spend.
But what does that mean?
It means that the hyperscale cloud infrastructure providers are now - for perhaps the first time in their existence - vulnerable. They have relied on companies in hyper growth who aren’t focused on how much they’re spending on infrastructure, as long as they can keep up with demand.
But suddenly businesses have had to focus. They can no longer be frivolous with budgets. They need to justify every dollar spent. Which is hard when to keep scaling in hyperscale cloud means continually buying more products and spending increasingly obscene amounts of money.
And what do you get for it? An off-the-shelf product with next to no support. It doesn’t align with the need for businesses to make more considered choices.
To do so, they need:
More consultation – access to experts who can help them make the most of every cent,
Better account management – to help manage ongoing spend,
And tailored solutions.
Let’s look at that last one a bit more because it’s another important challenge raised in 2023.
Infrastructure, in general, has become more complex because businesses themselves are becoming more complex. Off-the-shelf infrastructure struggles to meet that complexity. Which makes sense, it’s not designed to. So, businesses are looking for more tailored, customized solutions that provide them with the bespoke elements they need to run properly and manage their infrastructure spend better.
Doing that in hyperscale is both difficult and expensive. Hyperscale cloud itself is getting more complex to buy and get the best out of. Then add to that the bespoke needs of businesses today and you’ve got a big, complex, expensive mess.
So, how will this evolution continue into 2024?
Well, it will do just that. It will continue.
Continued budget optimizations.
Continued need to make every dollar count.
Continued exploration of alternative options.
The good news? There are other options and good ones at that. In fact, I wrote a piece about the alternative options to hyperscale cloud just recently because it’s such a big conversation topic.
The full piece is worth a read if you are looking to relocate from hyperscale cloud but to briefly summarise, there are three good options:
An on-premises data center
Each have their pros and cons and suit specific needs. A full reverse migration to an on-premises data center or colocation facility is a good choice for some. But that requires a healthy budget, expertise, and resources. If you are a business without these then bare metal is a great middle ground, offering the best of both.
This conversation is one I will continue to talk about next year as we speak to more and more businesses determined to optimize their costs and find better, more tailored solutions for their specific needs.
This topic, really, has been my biggest takeaway from this year. But there’s one other that I think is worth mentioning. And that’s artificial intelligence.
Up until now, AI has been like teenagers having sex. Everyone’s talking about it, but no one’s doing it.
2023 was the year that started to change with OpenAI’s ChatGPT giving us – the general public – the first real opportunity to use AI. And we’ve seen far more AI-based tools becoming available to use in beta or even complete versions.
This ‘coming of age’ for AI will become even more pronounced in 2024.
In the last few years, businesses have been in the machine learning phase of AI - building, training and demonstrating tools.
In 2024, workloads will become more persistent, allowing people to start querying AI. And it’s these persistent workloads that will facilitate players to come to market with AI-enabled products and services properly in 2024.
After years of talking about it, finally we seem to be at a point where we can start to use AI.
That’s my very brief wrap up on a what I believe we’ll look back on as a turning point in how businesses buy or rent infrastructure, and AI finally coming of age.
As always, I’m open to your perspectives on what I’ve talked about here. And if you could summarise your year or make some predictions for 2024 in two trends, topics, themes – what would they be?
With a decade in hosting and video game hosting, Isaac knows the big mistakes and how to help customers avoid them. Dog dad to Lilly, he owns all the tools and lives his best lawn life.