I don't do prediction posts. I'm also not above looking at trends. This post will look at a few trends that I've noticed in 2015. For diversity in thought, check out the podcast I hosted with Stephen Foskett and Justin Warren.
The term cloud washing died out near the end of 2014. It seems as if everyone is now focusing on the important part of Cloud. It's no longer about the technical definition as provided by organizations such as NIST. It's more about business outcomes. The term Cloud brings with it a specific set of business results. When an IT team receives a request for Cloud, it isn't about the technology.
The request isn't for a platform with pooled resources, chargeback, self-service, blah, blah, blah. The request is for the transformation of the delivery of IT. Specifically, it means that greater agility is required. The agility includes any combination flexibility in cost, speed to execution or the ability to pivot the business. IT can be an enabler or boat anchor. Cloud is the enabler of agility.
Every event I attended this year had some variation of hybrid. Some terms include Hybrid-Infrastructure, Hybrid-Cloud, Bi-Modal IT and Composable Infrastructure. When I peel back the onion, what's revealed is the desire to integrate what's old with what's new.
The data center never reached 100% virtualization. Reasons include data gravity, performance, security, and governance. As such, organizations aren't able to completely abstract their data centers. Organizations looking to integrate cloud-native applications with the remaining 20% or more of the data center need a hybrid approach.
Vendors have responded to this need. Intel has invested heavily in open source initiatives. Intel has its hands in what seems like every project that has cloud attributes. AT HPE Discover, HPE executives were all on message. Talk centered around Hybrid-Infrastructures that can support both cloud-native and traditional enterprise workloads. Even Microsoft and VMware have adopted container strategies that provide an API to traditional IT infrastructure.
I could dedicate an entire series of blog posts to DevOps. DevOps is similar to Cloud in having a fluid definition. DevOps has three faces. There's the technology that enables a programmable infrastructure. Secondly, there's the movement to integrate infrastructure management via cloud-native applications. Thirdly, there's the business term DevOp that I'm starting to see used at the executive level. The ability to move quickly and streamline IT drives the business term DevOps.
When an executive asks for DevOps, I'm less focused on the technology, and more focused on the operations. I believe the term is developing into a catchall phrase to mean the collapsing of silos. It's difficult to call an aircraft carrier agile. Many IT organizations have become too large and complex to deliver agility. The concept of collapsing silos gives hope that a flatter org chart results in agility.
I don't know if I want to call micro-services a trend just yet. The concept of building applications on small modular services has an appeal. As mentioned earlier, there's also a desire to give developers an API to the data center. The popularity of Docker shows the overwhelming desire to enable developers. It takes re-tooling of skill, processes and ecosystem to take advantage of micro-services.
There are too many questions around ecosystem for me to call micro-services a thing just yet.
If PacketPushers is an indication, Software-Defined WAN is now a thing. According to the Pushers, it's 19 separate SD-WAN providers. It's a hot market because WAN links are expensive and enterprises have what seems like an unending thirst for bandwidth.
A trend I didn't hit is security and micro-segmentation. Security itself isn't a trend. Security is just part of the computer science discipline. Micro-segmentation is interesting. I don't know if there's Fortune 500 company whose board of directors hasn't discussed granular network access controls. Controlling and auditing access at the service level is the desire of every chief security officer.
Legacy applications are not going anywhere anytime soon. However, enterprises are being challenged by agile start-ups who have the ability to move quickly without the shackles of legacy technology. While the definitions will continue to be fluid, Cloud and Hybrid will continue as trends.
What are some of the trends you've noticed over the past year plus?