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Automic Software 2018 Predictions: The Return of Vendor Lock-In and More

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Lucas Carlson, Vice President of Strategy at Automic Software

The Return of Vendor Lock-In and Other Predictions for 2018

Everyone knows vendor lock-in is "bad" now, right? Then you might be surprised at my first prediction, which is that in spite of increased marketing against the evils of vendor lock-in, there is actually increased customer demand for cloud services that lock them in. Customers know that these services are locking them in and still they are adopting them in droves. Why? You'll have to read on to find out.

The return of lock-in isn't the only unexpected twist we should see in the enterprise in the New Year. Without further ado, here are my predictions for 2018:

Prediction #1: More large companies will lock themselves into cloud provider services.                         

Though the party line in the industry remains that lock-in is anathema, I've been hearing from an increasingly large number of companies that they're considering standardizing on locked in proprietary cloud development platforms such as Amazon Lambda or Google App Engine instead of leveraging a cloud vendor neutral platform like Cloud Foundry or OpenShift.

The fact that large enterprises with significant resources are even considering this shocked me at first. But after listening to their reasoning, I started to understand better. It comes down to a simple question: what kind of company are they?

For example, is Netflix's core competency more about the technology or more about the content? Of course technology is important to every company today, but is that what separates it from its competitors? Is technology the biggest difference between Netflix and HBO Go? Or is it House of Cards vs. Westworld?

Netflix believes its core competency is content, not technology. That's why it's investing $16B in new content and leveraging every AWS service it can, even though it locks them in. Other big enterprises are taking notice of this and following in their footsteps.

It all raises serious questions about the cloud: Is the willingness to accept lock-in a reaction to cloud technology that is getting too complex? Are cloud-agnostic solutions like Cloud Foundry too challenging to implement at scale in a reliable and robust way?

It will be very interesting to see how this dynamic plays out in 2018.

Prediction #2: "Cloud consternation" will grow. 

More and more companies will seek to go cloud -- not always because it's technically the right decision, but because more and more CEOs and shareholders will issue mandates that the company go cloud.

These mandates will raise anxiety levels among the teams who must execute them. They'll struggle with questions over legacy apps that need to re-architected or pulled apart into micro-services. They'll lose sleep over whether they have the staff and technical skills to accomplish it.

The cloud is a historic game-changer, but 2018 will bring additional pressures for the companies moving to it.

Prediction #3: The hype around Artificial Intelligence will become deafening.

AI has enormous potential to transform business and society, but the hype will become even more unbearable in 2018, especially with significant advances in the technology from Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

In fact, it's gotten to the point that people are starting to wonder if all major AI advancements will be coming from the big companies. After all, they keep hiring as many AI scientists as they can find.

However, I predict that some of the most innovative and interesting work that will be coming out of AI will come from unexpected startups. The big companies are thinking about ways to iterate existing AI product lines (Alexa, Siri, Cortina, etc.), but will struggle thinking of ways to apply AI in ways that don't currently exist.

And if there's one thing for certain, the biggest impact of AI has not been invented yet. It's notoriously hard to imagine what hasn't been invented yet, but historically that has typically come from startups more often than it has from big companies.

Prediction #4: Container adoption will continue to be impressive.

I write this prediction with egg on my face. In this space last year, I forecast that container hype will keep soaring while adoption will stay small. "Pitifully small" were my exact words. "Don't get me wrong," I wrote "It's not that I don't think containers won't take off. They just won't take off in 2017... Despite the hype, containers have a few more years before they are ready for the mainstream."

I was wrong. The aforementioned mandates from upper management to migrate to the cloud have put far more wind behind Docker's sails than I anticipated (even though I still maintain it's not always the right solution). That momentum is almost certain to continue and expand into 2018.

I look forward to re-visiting my predictions about vendor lock-in, cloud anxiety, AI hype and Docker adoption at this time next year. Happy holidays, all!

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About the Author

Lucas Carlson 

An IT veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Lucas Carlson is the vice president of strategy at Automic Software, the leader in business automation, where he is responsible for developing, refining and managing the execution of Automic's strategic technology goals. Most recently, Carlson served as CIO at CenturyLink, where he founded and ran the company's Innovation Lab. Previously, he founded and served as CEO of AppFog, an extremely successful PaaS company focused on connecting developers with infrastructure and services within seconds. Carlson led AppFog through an acquisition by CenturyLink in 2013.

Carlson is also a best-selling author, a technology keynote speaker with experience presenting at over 30 industry events and an innovative thought leader in the cloud space.   

Published Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:28 AM by David Marshall
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