As our collective thoughts turn to 2024, the year is shaping up to be a critical one not only in South Africa but globally. Trends in technology continue to evolve rapidly, driven by advancements in the likes of hybrid cloud solutions, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity.

By Tunde Abagun, sales lead at Nutanix West, East, and Central Africa at Nutanix, shares are a few interesting ones he believes will make significant inroads into the corporate landscape in the months ahead.

* AI: The heart of hybrid cloud innovation – AI is no longer a fringe element in the tech world. It has become one of the core use cases around the hybrid cloud. AI can be considered the ‘ultimate’ hybrid cloud application. The journey begins with using public data to create foundational AI models. However, this is just the starting point. The exciting bit lies in refining these models with data specific to each company, a task best suited for private data centres. This approach ensures control over sensitive data and tailors AI to deliver precise, business-specific outcomes. As we move further, the refined models are deployed at the edge, guaranteeing real-time responsiveness and decision-making.

* The rise of scale-out architectures – 2024 will likely see the dominance of scale-out architectures over traditional scale-up models. This is a crucial shift in today’s hybrid, multi-cloud world. Scale-out infrastructure, which involves adding more machines or nodes horizontally, is more suited to the distributed nature of hybrid cloud applications. It accommodates the need for models to move quickly from the edge to the data centre and into the public cloud. This architectural approach aligns perfectly with the nature of hybrid cloud applications, which demand flexibility and scalability.

* A new era of cloud automation and productivity – In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the growth of software companies. Additionally, the increasing adoption of AI in B2B contexts has seen us witness a significant transformation. As AI drives unprecedented productivity levels, expectations from IT and business stakeholders are skyrocketing. This evolution is pushing the demand for cloud automation technologies and scale-out architectures even further. In South Africa, we are particularly conscious of how these technologies enable us to maintain operational consistency across multiple cloud investments, improving application portability and resilience.

* Hybrid cloud is the new normal – As workloads continue to shift from on-premises to public clouds, the demand for hybrid cloud capabilities is becoming more pronounced. Businesses are seeking cost transparency and future-proof solutions. This trend underlines the growing importance of hybrid multi-cloud platforms that offer application portability and facilitate managed data movement across various cloud environments. This is a trend we are embracing wholeheartedly, recognising that enterprises need to manage their application lifecycle across a hybrid infrastructure for better agility and cost efficiency.

* The continuing importance of cybersecurity – As cloud-based workloads increase, cybersecurity remains at the forefront. As a region, Africa is not immune to the global rise in cloud service attacks. This unfortunate reality means we must be prepared for more sophisticated and successful attacks on cloud providers and services. In 2024, the expectation is that businesses will shift towards integrated security models built into their infrastructure platforms. Legacy and siloed approaches to cybersecurity are becoming obsolete in the face of emerging threats.

* Managing the data deluge with AI – Another significant trend is the surge in demand for data and database management platforms. As enterprises consolidate their data sources and refine their AI models, the need for self-driving data hosting platforms becomes evident. This shift is about enabling businesses to extract value from their data without being bogged down by the complexities of database management.

* The impact of acquisitions – Lastly, the technical and commercial impacts of major technology acquisitions that occurred in 2023 are starting to be felt. For example, consider Cisco’s various acquisitions (Valtix, Lightspin, Armorblox) to expand their cybersecurity portfolio and OpenText’s acquisition of Microfocus. There was also Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware as well as the Japan Industrial Partners, Suzuki Motor, and ROHM acquisition of Toshiba.

Businesses, including ours, are taking stock and quantifying the current and future impact of these acquisitions on operations. Now is the time to strategise to de-risk investments and adapt to the changing technology landscape.

The coming year is shaping up to be one of significant transformation in the tech industry, marked by advancements in hybrid cloud technologies, AI, and cybersecurity.