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LightStep 2020 Predictions: Emerging Technologies and New Technical Concepts will Introduce New Challenges and Opportunities in 2020

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Ben Sigelman, Daniel Spoonhower and Ben Cronin of LightStep

Emerging Technologies and New Technical Concepts will Introduce New Challenges and Opportunities in 2020

The software industry continues to evolve as new technologies enter the ecosystem, becoming more complex and growing at a faster rate than ever before. With these industry changes comes an increased opportunity to better understand existing technology and any related challenges introduced that haven't broken into the mainstream yet - such as observability or deep systems. In 2020, expect these technical concepts to become more ingrained not only in the minds of developers building complex programs but also in the larger tech community. This proliferation of new technology will also lead to the democratization of new cloud architectures and an opportunity to define new industry-standard best practices in software development.

Ben Sigelman 

Ben Sigelman, CEO and Co-founder, LightStep, predicts:

In 2020, more enterprises will realize they have "deep systems": for many years now, we've been talking about the migration to the cloud, microservices, serverless computing, Kubernetes, and the rest of it. This transformation has been challenging, both technically and organizationally. The deeper the system - that is, the higher the number of independently-managed layers in the entire production system - the more challenging it will be to build and operate. For this reason, understanding deep systems is of great interest to any organization moving to cloud-native architectures, at scale: what works well in a small system will not work well in a deep system. Systems grow ever deeper as the modern enterprise invests in technological differentiation, and our toolchain must evolve if we wish to accelerate - rather than impede - that critical transformation.

In 2020, we will (finally) understand what observability is *for*. 2019 was a breakout year for "observability" as a term, but most of our industry still doesn't know why they need it or how to develop a strategy around it. In 2020, we'll hear more about how high-quality observability enables more frequent releases, a faster end-user app experience, reduced downtime, and other critical product and engineering objectives. At the same time, we will stop confusing high-quality observability with high-quality telemetry: in 2020, the CNCF's OpenTelemetry project will both standardize and automate the collection of traces, metrics, and logs, moving our evaluation of effective observability beyond the bits and bytes of the raw data, and instead towards the real-world use cases that actually drive business value for the enterprise.

Daniel Spoonhower 

Daniel Spoonhower, CTO and Co-founder, LightStep predicts:

Multi-cloud and especially multi-vendor and hybrid cloud will become the new norm in 2020. This is in part because they mitigate the risks of vendor-induced or region-wide outages, but also in part because vendor-specific cloud solutions - especially advanced storage systems - continue to offer more functionality and better performance. Buyers will be willing to tolerate partial vendor lock-in to get the benefits of these solutions, but of course no one vendor will offer everything an organization needs. Multi-cloud is also a result of engineering teams gaining greater independence and autonomy within their organizations: different teams will choose different platforms, including different cloud providers. This will further accelerate the DevOps transformation, as each team will need to build the expertise required to leverage their infrastructure. Finally, the adoption of multi-cloud is another indicator of increasing tolerance for deep systems: organizations are willing to leverage more and more technology as part of their tech stacks to drive faster developer velocity - even at the cost of making the operation of those systems more complex.

Ben Cronin 

Ben Cronin, COO and Co-founder, LightStep predicts:

In 2020, we're going to see new industry-standard best practices start to emerge in production software development. Over the past years, we've seen drastic transformations in how people deploy software. What were once DevOps workflows are truly becoming general software engineering workflows. Containers are now entirely mainstream and the rising tide of supporting technologies (if you look at Kubernetes as the foremost example) has reached a level of maturity where the conversation is not about if or will these technologies give organizations an advantage but rather how people can best use them to accelerate development velocity and increase business value across the company.  

Next year, I anticipate the term DevOps is going to start heading in a decline. You'll see all engineering leaders looking for ways to apply organizational practices and technical standards, once driven by dedicated IT or DevOps teams, across entire software engineering organizations to get companies onto effective, modern development and deployment processes. It's going to be an exciting year where there'll be a lot of competition to define the "right" way to do everything from observability to CI/CD to security in mainstream software development.


Published Wednesday, November 27, 2019 7:22 AM by David Marshall
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