As 2014 draws to a close, businesses must consider what the New Year will bring – both positive and problematic. To optimise performance in 2015, businesses should pay particular attention to issues which could stem from the cloud; the use of more apps and the continued evolution of BYOD and the Internet of Things (IoT).

When it comes to the cloud, news in 2015 will no doubt be dominated by a combination of VM portability and hybrid clouds. Cisco’s acquisition of MetaCloud will further drive the “cloud in a box” movement as well as pushing “the network” to mean a combination of network, storage, and virtual hypervisors. All of these aspects are relevant now, but combining each element is the real challenge.

Businesses will be forced to look at how they can support an increasingly complex network and how best to increase security and performance. New “cloud-of-cloud” providers (like will be created to serve market demand for reliable data centre cloud architectures. Similarly, the concept of “cloud-in-a-box” will hit mainstream, as vendors like VMware introduce their VSAN technology allowing SMBs to have SAN-like advantages without the hefty price tag – but cheap isn’t always best, it’s important to consider exactly what your corporate network needs in terms of agility, scalability and security before jumping on the band wagon.

With BYOD becoming the norm, IoT – which promises all manner of efficiencies, personalisation and service – is seen as the next challenge networks will have to manage, with even more access from a much wider variety of devices. Traditionally the best way to keep the network secure has been to limit access, and devices that would normally be outright refused access will have to be reassessed over the coming year. The challenge here is the change of mind set and whole new way of managing networks and IT use policy.

IoT networks will have to support as many devices as possible on top of exploring their full range of services to create the biggest most mineable data possible. But IoT connectivity providers will also have an opportunity to consolidate user data-collection networks and resell this information into identity/behaviour marketplaces.

Finally, in an app-centric world, complete visibility of network performance is a no brainer for 2015. According to a recent end-user survey, almost every UK employee reported that application performance and availability directly affect their ability to do their job. In fact, 44 per cent of end users said it was absolutely critical to help accomplish their work. With this increasing pressure on IT Pros from the evolving expectations of end users, it’s more important than ever to consider performance as much as finances when it comes to compute, storage and networking technology, to avoid hassles later on.

With more and more businesses transitioning to the cloud, understanding the app centric environment is essential. By breaking down traditional IT silos and understanding how critical apps are becoming for business, IT professionals can transition into the full application stack view to truly optimise performance – for the business as a whole and in the future.