In the world of IT operations and infrastructure management, the year 2019 was full of jaw-dropping deals in the startup community and notable strategy shifts among the major cloud and tech players. Suffice to say that CIOs and VPs of infrastructure are faced with the ongoing challenge of delivering business value and agility amid heightened IT complexity. While increasing choice in how IT supports the business--through hybrid and multi-cloud platforms, container services, and new machine-learning solutions--brings needed flexibility, it can be difficult and costly to maintain and optimize these new environments. How ITOps teams tackle the issue of technical debt and the application of modern technologies and methodologies like DevOps to retain control while supporting business innovation will define success in the months and years to come.
Here’s our take on the top news of 2019 that will influence IT operations teams in 2020:
With thousands of vendors in the IT operations management (ITOM) space, deal activity was robust in 2019, with more than 25 M&As. One of the most eye-popping announcements was Splunk’s purchase of SignalFX for $1.05 billion. OpsRamp’s Deepak Jannu wrote about the deal for The New Stack: “Although Splunk Insights for Infrastructure unifies logs and metrics for hybrid monitoring, SignalFx plugs a gaping hole in Splunk’s monitoring portfolio. The SignalFx deal lets Splunk gain parity with competitors like Datadog that deliver a modern observability platform for cloud native applications.”
Other sizable M&A deals included Thoma Bravo’s purchase of Connectwise. The private equity firm shelled out $1.5 billion for the provider of remote monitoring, business management and cyber-risk solutions. We also saw Progress acquire file transfer and network management provider Ipswitch for $225 million in cash while SolarWinds spent $117.5 million snapping up database performance management company VividCortex.
In the public markets, Dynatrace earned a $6.7 billion valuation in its IPO, giving it a huge leg up in the APM space, while Datadog’s IPO raised $648 million, bringing its valuation to $11 billion. Finally, Kaseya, an IT infrastructure management platform for MSPs and SMBs, raised $500 million from TPG and Insight Partners.
This past year was a point of reckoning for the cloud, as Virtana CTO John Gentry wrote in Data Economy: "Many CIOs and CFOs had a wake-up call in 2019 when they got much larger bills from Amazon and Microsoft than they had anticipated. So in 2020, CIOs will be looking to rationalise that expense and manage the placement of workloads between on-prem and cloud options based on cost and performance trade-offs, hence the rise of the hybrid infrastructure.”
Microsoft, AWS and Google and other heavyweights unveiled solutions and strategies for hybrid cloud management. OpsRamp’s Wael Ataqi adds his views on the intentions of the big 3 cloud players: “While all three companies have competitive solutions to address the hybrid IT challenge and be the provider to solve hybrid woes, none of them are a perfect solution.” One more twist to the story is HPE Greenlake, a platform to manage cloud, edge and on-premise workloads. ZDNet’s Larry Dignan explains: “HPE is trying to position its IT management approach as a neutral party amid operating models that may make silos of legacy infrastructure, public cloud, and hybrid approaches.” Sound familiar? Hybrid cloud is finally cool, and CIOs will have the tough job of determining which is the most viable option to make it all work.
Artificial intelligence meets IT operations, or AIOps as coined by Gartner, was one of the most hyped concepts of the year. The market for AIOps orchestrators is projected to grow from $0.4 billion in 2016 to $1.5 billion in 2021 at a 26% compounded annual growth rate, according to Boston Consulting Group. The reason for all the interest is that AI and machine learning technology makes a lot of sense for simplifying and speeding the job of analyzing terabytes of event data generated daily from cloud, on-premises and edge assets. We’ve passed the point where humans can handle the load of manual alert and event management; the risks of not staying on top of the data from a performance and uptime perspective are grave. Despite the buzz, the AIOps market is slowly maturing with recent IPOs and acquisitions, according to AIOps Report. The acquisition of FixStream by Resolve Systems and SignifAI by New Relic in 2019 were shining examples of the weight companies with deep pockets will go to gain a foothold in this new space. OpsRamp’s 2019 survey on AIOps uncovered the key benefits and challenges of adopting these technologies.
Kubernetes, the prominent container deployment and management platform, had a banner year of investment through M&As and venture capital funding. Highlights, according to Dan Meyer of SDxCentral, include IBM’s $34 billion spending spree for Red Hat, and the “several billion dollars” VMware spent on filling out its Kubernetes offerings. The mainstreaming of Kubernetes also intersected with hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies, as witnessed by IBM’s Cloud Paks offering, Azure Arc’s supported for managing hosted Kubernetes in Azure and Google Anthos, according to Janakiram MSV in Forbes.
DevOps and ITOps
In a survey OpsRamp conducted in the fall of 2019, a majority (64%) of ITOps leaders said that DevOps was the most sought-after skill for modernization. OpsRamp’s Deepak Jannu describes the trend for DevOps and ITOps integration in CloudTech: “IT operations will need to combine their traditional focus on reliability, resilience, security, and efficiency with greater attention to release velocity, continuous improvement, and customer-centricity.”
What’s Next for 2020?
IT Ops teams play a fundamental role in digital transformation. They are responsible for managing and optimizing hybrid and multi-cloud environments, containers, serverless deployments, edge devices and user experiences across the enterprise. Yet this complex world requires new approaches, or FutureOps, an intelligently-automated, business-centric practice that will help reduce technical debt while leveraging new technologies to move from IT metrics to business metrics. The year 2020 will be a pivotal time for IT operations teams who will have an opportunity, using modern technologies and practices, to deliver tangible business value.
Top OpsRamp Blogs of 2019
- Simplifying Cloud Migration with OpsRamp
- Four Reasons Why Service-Centric AIOps is a Better Bet
- OpsRamp’s ServiceNow Integration