A new wave of IT infrastructure innovation is an unprecedented opportunity for a new generation of entrepreneurs.
In the 1980s, a new generation of infrastructure was born from the victory of the x86 instruction set, the standardized PC operating system, the RDBMS, Ethernet networking, and shared data storage. Those changes ushered in a renaissance of innovation, creating hundreds of billions of dollars of value.
The winners of that era have been virtually unchallenged for more than 25 years and still command more than one trillion dollars of public market value. However, these giants, like so many before them, have failed to keep pace with the changes that are once again reshaping IT infrastructure.
This wave of innovation is being driven by a number of radical changes:
The web-computing era is defined by scale-out architectures and new applications built to fully leverage them. We believe the shift to scale-out is highly disruptive to legacy vendors and will underpin the entire move to Infrastructure 2.0.
Static infrastructure is dead. The ability to manage change is a central requirement for consumers of IT who expect to iterate their applications weekly, daily, or hourly. Elasticity, end-to-end performance optimization, and adaptive infrastructure are all opportunities born of Infrastructure 1.0 shortcomings.
Consumerization of IT
Inspired by the powerful yet simple design paradigms of consumer technology, IT practitioners have come to expect simple, engaging, self-service tools. This approach not only makes solutions more usable but also democratizes access to IT infrastructure altogether.
The need to rapidly and reliably transform business logic into software is shattering long-held beliefs about application development and IT operations. Rapid software deployment, microservice architectures, and the collaboration between development and operations will transform the role of software development, and create massive opportunities, as ‘every company’ becomes a software company.
New Early Adopters
The IT stack of the previous generation was geared toward the needs of traditional enterprise IT customers.
The users ushering in the move to Infrastructure 2.0 prefer to trade capex for opex. Their applications are distributed, web-facing, and global. Their teams are smaller and leaner, and their workloads are highly varied. These early adopters don’t come from traditional enterprise IT; they are the leaders of the web-facing world: developers, systems administrators, and ops professionals.
These practitioners feel these problems first and are blazing the path that all IT organizations will follow over the coming decade.
New Rules of Engagement
The old way of selling IT infrastructure and applications is over. Legacy vendors who flood customers with armies of order takers have created a frustrating, expensive experience for consumers of IT. There is a better way. Infrastructure 2.0 is challenging incumbents because of its ability to deliver value to customers quickly, cost effectively, and with as little manual intervention as necessary. Downloadable software, hosted services, open-source licensing, and freemium pricing all exemplify the new rules of engaging with IT buyers.