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Five Predictions for 2018 You Can Pretty Much Bank On

I’ve never been a fan of predictive articles. Mostly because I’m not actually prescient and thus like everyone else, I’ve got a 50/50 chance of being right – or wrong. And like most people, I don't like to be wrong. But this year I’ve got responses from over 3000 enterprises across the globe spanning every industry to help me figure it out. That helps, a lot.

Even without that data, a lot of predictions aren’t actually all that hard to make and get right. That’s because they’re either following a predictable technology cycle or there’s a pile of data that pretty much points to the inevitability of the prediction being true.

With that in mind, I decided to actually put down in digital ink what the data and technology cycle is showing will be pretty much a given in 2018.

  1. More cloud
    Come on, it’s been steadily growing for years. You can’t go wrong betting that cloud will continue to gain workloads. Interestingly, though, we are seeing the inevitable slide toward public (IaaS) cloud finally picking up steam. With the bulk of commodity workloads moved to SaaS and private (on-premises) cloud taking on performance and security sensitive corporate apps, enterprises are starting to eye up public (IaaS) cloud with greater enthusiasm. Digital transformation is certainly a factor, and as organizations complete their internal transformation (automation, orchestration, digital enablement for productivity purposes) you can bet they’re going to start consuming public (IaaS) cloud with greater ferocity than in the past.
  2. More security breaches
    It’s not just our own research that shows an increasing frequency of successful breaches. It’s just about everywhere. The number of breaches we saw in 2017 was incredible, and there are no signs it will slow down. The growth in bot traffic alone points to a significant army camped just outside the gates, and it would be foolish to think that there will not be an equal number or more of alarming security breaches in 2018.
  3. More automation
    soad18 automation in productionBecause we aren’t done. While we’re seeing more automation and orchestration of IT, we are nowhere near “saturation” yet. Like cloud, if you’re just starting out automation is easy. But for the hundreds of thousands of enterprises who have a whole lot of technical baggage to sort through, automating IT to prepare it to handle the pressure from digital transformation and DevOps isn’t something you do overnight. It’s full steam ahead, though, so expect to see a lot more of it in 2018 as orgs begin to really employ emerging best practices to get IT executing with the same alacrity as startup dev teams.
  4. More container scalability options
    The war for container scalability has already begun, and 2018 will no doubt see it escalate. While the initial answer to scale inside container environments was admirable, it was short term and doomed to be replaced. The good news is that the architectural design of container orchestration environments (COE) is magnificent and well-suited for supporting more mature approaches to scale. The service mesh will replace the default, IP table-based methods included with COE distributions as organizations put these environments into production and expose shortcomings of large-volume scale. And they are putting them into production, not only in the public cloud but in the data center. That’s evident in the rising demand for app services in a container form-factor we see in our latest survey.
  5. More IoT failures
    One of the other data points from our State of Application Delivery 2018 (watch for it in January) that was interesting is the appearance of IoT in the “Top Six” strategic trends. It moved up to number six, displacing mobile applications and joining all the clouds. That (and some other data points I can’t share just yet) leads to the inescapable conclusion that there will likely be a lot more IoT being deployed. Sadly, that also likely means more IoT failures. Not just of the devices, themselves, which are often at risk of being conscripted into the growing Death Star-sized botnets, but of the applications that manage, monitor, and often control them.  Emberlight was one of the latest proof points in this caveat emptor market, when it closed its doors (and shut down its apps), leaving its customers literally in the dark. Seriously, their smart sockets for light bulbs required a connected app that is no longer available.

So there you have it. Five take-to-the-bank predictions based on years of watching technology cycles wax and wane and the responses from over 3000 folks in the trenches (and some running the show).

With that, I’m signing off for the year, and we’ll catch you on the flip side in 2018. Have a wonderful holiday season, and a very Happy New Year!