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Runecast 2021 Predictions: 2021 - Hopefully less crazy than 2020. Team Runecast's thoughts.

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

2021: Hopefully less crazy than 2020. Team Runecast's thoughts

By Kev Johnson, Senior Systems Engineer, Runecast

2020 has been an interesting year, and by that I mean it's been one of those "may you live in interesting times" years. It's been pretty much awful for everybody, and super hard on the folks charged with making sure that those remote working capabilities are up and running for everybody else in the organization. There have been many sleepless nights as folks have been wrangling servers, fighting with firewall rules, and generally trying to keep the lights on.

Toss into this mix the fact that the nasty folks out there have been running some pretty awful attacks against organizations *because* they know that their resources are stretched tighter than ever and it's been pretty much a perfect storm of awfulness that has seen a lot of folks lose jobs, with those remaining behind stretched ever thinner.

It's been a bad year, and we'd all really like to draw a line under it and hope for better in 2021. Here are a few thoughts on what I see coming down the line.

Giant murder hornets will evolve laser beams on their backs. They'll mate with the Great White Shark and produce Giant stripy murder hornets with a set of teeth that will give you nightmares. This will happen before March. The rest of the year gets worse and will see us looking back on the halcyon days of 2020 with rose-tinted spectacles.

In case it's not clear: I jest. Let's look at some of the technology trends I see in the coming 12 months or so.

Remote Working

Yep, 2020 has really highlighted that remote working is no longer just a way for some people in middle management to look after their kids easier a couple of days per week. As I write this a number of major technology companies (I'm looking at you, VMware and Microsoft) have announced that they're going to allow some staff to work permanently from home. Will this be enough to cause property in the Bay Area to become affordable again? Watch this space! For the rest of us, some (like myself) have been working from home for some time now. I can't imagine ever going back to the 9-5 with an hour of commuting each way.

Sure, it's nice to bump into colleagues in the office, and that's where you find out a lot of stuff that you wouldn't if you were remote, but I can work more flexibly both for my employer and for myself in this model, and that's important to me. More important than free snacks and drinks in the office, even. Hopefully we'll see the other side of COVID-19 in the coming 12 months, but I'm not overly hopeful given where we are as I write this. Different models work for different people, and I'm sure that some of those currently working remotely will drift back into offices at least a few days a week, but the folks who have been trying to argue with their boss for more flexible working will now be able to win that battle, as mindsets are starting to catch up with our technological capabilities. You may even find that your boss is keen to enable you in this way. I also think that a lot of companies will choose to use this fact to recruit from a wider, more diverse pool of talent, which will be a major win for those companies.

As an aside to this: while some of us (and I'm guilty of this for sure) have invested in technology to allow more professional presentations remotely, this has seen a ridiculous spike in the prices of things like webcams. Hopefully by the new year the supply lines will be operating again, and we'll see more availability with more reasonable pricing. It would be a terrible shame if those who bulk-bought with the intention to price-gouge on eBay were left with lots of stock that they had to sell at a loss.

Doing More With Less

Loosely coupled with the above: I foresee that the headcount losses that some organizations have seen will not be replaced. This "new normal" (and I bundle that term in with all of the other buzzword bingo that we're all familiar with) means that those folks tasked with keeping the lights on and keeping things secure and available are going to be super busy. This quiet army of superheroes will need to leverage tools that can automate as much as is possible in order to fill those gaps left by ex-colleagues, and also ensure that they're focussed on things like removing any risks detected in their environment before they can cause interruptions to service - be that due to a security incident, some crashing hosts, poor performance or anything else.

These tools are likely to need to evolve to cover workloads that live on-premises, in hybrid clouds, and also across the multitude of public clouds, in the way that Runecast Analyzer has. Multi-cloud will become more popular, and you'll see both new tools coming to market to help to handle these newer workloads, and existing tooling evolving to cover them on top of what they already handle. Tooling that is too niche and those that refuse to evolve will struggle commercially.

The Proliferation of Kubernetes

It's been the hot ticket for over a year now, and everybody seems to be talking about it, but use is not as widespread as you might think. Containerisation certainly solves some problems, but it also comes with its own overheads. If you thought that VM sprawl was bad, just you wait ‘til you have to deal with container sprawl!

Kubernetes can help with the lifecycle struggles for sure, but the ease with which you can get started with the likes of Minikube poses its own set of problems when you need to make these things work in production. Expect to see the slow and steady growth of containerization rather than a rapid explosion. Also, expect to hear more horror stories - especially when folks realize that security needs to be baked into everything.

The Continued Rise Of The Generalist

While technologists the world over have been chasing the shiny new tech constantly and learning new stuff every day, very few folks go all the way down one specific rabbit hole. I feel that maintaining a diverse set of skills is vital to continued success in the industry, and so I'll be doing the same thing in 2020 as I've tried to do for the last few years: set up a list of technologies to get a decent understanding of, and then review that list every 2-3 months to make sure that the lists are still relevant.

Tech moves faster now than ever before, so it's more important than ever to not be too worried about the time invested in one tech to drop it and move on. Magpie syndrome is a term I think I coined to mean that I'm constantly looking for the new, shiny toys to play with, and while I've seen it as a weakness in the past I believe I've now finally harnessed it to work for me. I'd urge you to do the same.

The Boom in Security and Cloud Skills

This one's a bit of a cop-out - we've seen this happening in the past few years, and I expect this to hit exponential growth in the next year. If you're considering a change of career, now is the perfect time to invest in yourself, especially if you're looking for a more remote-friendly career move.

In Summary

The next 12 months are likely to be just as hard as the last 12, and possibly more so. As we move forward into this brave new world/recover from the mess of the last 12 months (delete as appropriate, there's nothing wrong with hedging your bets) we're all likely to have to learn new ways to cope with the world, especially when it comes to technology. Keep your ears to the ground and I think that you'll be Just FineTM.


About the Author

Kev Johnson, Senior Systems Engineer, Runecast Solutions Ltd. 

Kev Johnson 

Kev is a time-served sysadmin, technology consultant, and 5-time vExpert. Prior to joining Runecast as a Systems Engineer, he was the Technical Marketing Architect for vSphere Lifecycle at VMware. Outside of work, his passions are Scottish football, cheese, craft beers, travel, and spicy foods. You can find Kev at his blog and also as a co-host on the OpenTechCast podcast. Find him on Twitter @kev_johnson.

Published Monday, November 23, 2020 7:31 AM by David Marshall
Runecast 2021 Predictions: 2021 - Hopefully less crazy than 2020. Team Runecast's thoughts. - 11 Finance - (Author's Link) - November 23, 2020 12:40 PM
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