The majority of IT professionals (81%) said most data center and network tasks will be completely automated by 2025, INAP found. The rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) is completely changing the way data is stored and networks are configured.

SEE: Special feature: Managing the multicloud (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“For the most basic of tasks, technology advancements like AI, machine learning, workflow management and others are quickly rising to a place of ‘hands off’ for those currently managing these tasks,” said TJ Waldorf, CMO and head of inside sales and customer success at INAP, in a press release.

“In five years, we’ll see the pace of these advancements increase and the value seen by IT leaders also increase,” Waldorf said.

INAP surveyed 500 IT leaders and infrastructure managers to determine what network infrastructure and data centers will look like in the coming years.

How data storage will shift

AI and machine learning are causing organizations to generate more data, which is helpful in improving business operations and efficiencies; however, storing this amount of data can be difficult, slowing down networks.

Network performance is the No. 1 reason organizations are shifting on-premise workloads to colocation facilities or to the cloud, a previous INAP report found.

So many organizations are turning to the cloud, that 66% of respondents said they believe on-premise data centers will be virtually non-existent by 2025, according to the recent INAP research.

While 34% of respondents disagreed with that statement, arguing that “virtually non-existent” might be an overstatement, the trend toward reducing data center management is undeniable, the report found.

Cloud takeover

Not only will the cloud enable the abandonment of data centers, but it will also host an influx of serverless computing, according to the report. Nearly three-fourths (74%) of respondents said most applications will be deployed using serverless models by 2025.

After the introduction of AWS Lambda in 2014, serverless computing has become very popular in the enterprise. The models allows for apps to be deployed without having to be concerned with resource provisioning or server management, according to the report.

Some 79% of respondents also said they believe all companies will have a multicloud presence by 2025.

“We’re already in a multicloud world,” said Jennifer Curry, senior vice president of global cloud services at INAP, in the release.

“The more interesting question to me is: How many enterprises have a coherent multicloud strategy? Deploying in multiple environments is easy,” Curry said. “Adopting a management and monitoring apparatus that mitigates vulnerabilities, ensures peak performance, and optimizes costs across infrastructure platforms is a challenge many enterprises struggle with.”

However, as more organizations adopt the technology in the next five years, these problems are sure to be remedied by experience.

New network strategy

Network users want one thing: A fast connection. As mobile networks move to 5G with the promise of low latency, other machine users want the same. Due to demand for quicker service, 75% of respondents said most enterprises will adopt edge networking strategies by 2025.

By collecting data at the edge, information is processed in real time, allowing for quicker data generation and collection at higher volumes.

“Depending on your definition of edge networking, this prediction is already on its way to being true,” said Josh Williams, vice president of channel and solutions engineering at INAP, in the release.

“An edge networking strategy is about reaching customers and end-users as quickly as possible. Whether it is achieved through geographically distributed cloud, CDN or network route optimizations, cutting latency will be a prerequisite for the success of any mission-critical application,” Williams added.

Team changes

These new ways of networking and storing data will also bring new concerns around cybersecurity, the report found.

Because of security concerns, some 68% of respondents said they believe that Chief Security Officers (CSOs) or Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) will have the second most important role at most enterprises by 2025.

CSOs and CISOs are executives dedicated to security, responsible for staying ahead of vulnerabilities and making necessary investments for protecting data, the report found.

Teams will also change, as IT and product development personnel become fully integrated. Nearly 80% of respondents believe that collaboration will be a reality by 2025, as more IT infrastructure managers want to partake in digital transformation initiatives, according to the report.

As for how IT teams in general will function, respondents were split down the middle. Some 49% of respondents believe that by 2025, despite technological development, IT function will look essentially the same as it did in 2020.

Slightly more than half (51%) disagree. Some believe new technologies will enable IT teams to simply do more of their current work, while others believe technology will allow IT teams to work on new tasks and initiatives. Time will have to be the tiebreaker.

For more, check out The data center is dead: Here’s what comes next on ZDNet.

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Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff