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Automic Software 2017 Predictions: Why the hype around cloud and containers will give way to Ops in 2017

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Lucas Carlson, VP of strategy, Automic Software

Why the hype around cloud and containers will give way to Ops in 2017

It's almost 2017 and we are still talking about virtualization and cloud. Why? The hype cycle around these concepts is far past its prime. And yet, here we are. Before I share my predictions, here are some about the other predictions you are going to read, made by vendors trying to sell you on the new "new."

You will hear all about the rise of the containers, no doubt, and how they are poised to solve all the problems cloud and virtualization never did. You'll also hear that container orchestration solutions are necessary to make sense of managing the exponentially expanding number of containers - and the list will continue.

Every year, it seems the state of the art just gets more and more disconnected from the realities of today's IT problems, and the revenues prove this sad state of affairs. Show me 10 container startups and I will show you 10 companies spending far more than they make, with no hope of digging out from endless rounds of venture financing (in a best case scenario) or from an imminent shut down (in a more realistic case scenario).

We're not dumb, and we're not buying solutions from companies we know won't survive the next 5-10 years. So this year I'm offering a fresher set of predictions than what you might be used to, and hopefully, a more honest look at the realities of the technology we can expect over the next year.

Prediction #1: A Bunch More Cloud Companies Will Fail Or Be Acquired And Shut Down

RethinkDB, Nitrous Cloud IDE, DataJoy IDE, Opsee, AppFog,, and others are among the list of hot cloud companies that were either shut down or scaled back post-acquisition in 2016. Who's on the list for 2017? Only time will tell, but from things I hear, you might be surprised at some of the companies living on life support right now. Often, it's not the technologies that are the problem. It's the fact that a market just doesn't exist to support them yet, which brings us to prediction number two.

Prediction #2: Cloud Education Becomes A Big Business

What good are tools like Docker, Mesosphere, Kubernetes, etc. without a large group of people who understand them? The gating factor in the adoption of containers and cloud is not technology. It's education. There are just not enough people in charge of technology right now who are up to speed on the latest and greatest. And the support/services that plays around complicated technologies is not the solution. An Udemy-like education platform that specializes in teaching cloud technologies to people who have been in the industry for 20 years is necessary and inevitable.

Prediction #3: Container Hype Will Keep Going Up While Adoption Will Stay Pitifully Small

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't think containers won't take off. They just won't take off in 2017. I've spoken with too many Fortune 1000's to keep my rose-tinted glasses on. Of course companies like LinkedIn, Netflix, Google, and Amazon will be using containers more and more. But those companies do not represent the majority of IT organizations in the world today. Despite the hype, containers have a few more years before they are ready for the mainstream.

Prediction #4: The Rise of Ops

A lot of the containerization trends have been pushed by developers. DevOps isn't the merging of developers with operation - it's developers trying to get around operations, and that pendulum has swung way too far toward the developers. It's about time that operations gets a makeover. Instead of shoving Puppet and Chef and Jenkins down the throats of operations groups, in 2017 we will see a new class of tools built specifically for operations that rise up and meet the challenges that DevOps has brought to a head. Look out for the return of operations in a big way.

So forget those other predictions pushing to sell you on the latest hot technology. The next year will see the return of Ops as it counterbalances Dev in the DevOps equation. The cloud market will continue to see massive consolidation, and containerization trends will continue to have more hype than substance until the market is ready. Be on the lookout for these new realities in 2017.


About the Author

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, Carlson founded and served as CEO of AppFog, an extremely successful PaaS company focused on connecting developers with infrastructure and services within seconds. He 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. 

Lucas Carlson 

Published Tuesday, December 27, 2016 9:04 AM by David Marshall
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