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Cockroach Labs 2021 Predictions: The Rise of the Database and the Developer

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

The Rise of the Database and the Developer

By Spencer Kimball, CEO and co-founder of Cockroach Labs

The data revolution is starting to spread across industries. The same approach that drove the breakthroughs in digital transformation is driving rapid advances in data-driven applications, dynamic experiences, and model-powered decision making creating a wave of modern applications powered by algorithms and AI. This revolution is also beginning to separate winners from losers, similar to what we saw at the onset of digital transformation. Early innovators reaped massive benefits, while laggards seemingly evaporated overnight. That will happen again, and sooner than we all might realize.

Transactional data will be the next to move the cloud as companies modernize their infrastructure: Although we've seen a massive shift to cloud-based analytics databases (with Snowflake being the biggest winner in 2020), many of the world's biggest companies have been reluctant to follow suit with Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) databases. Traditionally, companies in highly regulated sectors like financial services or healthcare have opted to dedicate significant resources to managing systems of records internally to avoid handing over their sensitive and valuable data to a third party. In 2021, as more companies move to the cloud and reassess their tech stack in order to better meet customer needs and remain competitive, we will see a significant shift. Enterprises will adopt service-based OLTP database offerings in droves, freeing up budget and man-hours to allocate to other pressing challenges that have accompanied this year's expedited digital transformations.

While Kubenetes is experiencing its "moment," Serverless is not far behind: In 2021, behind the continued explosion of Kubernetes, the next generation of developers will quickly take up the mantle with serverless. Serverless will emerge from the trough of disillusionment as the solution for enabling developers to use the cloud-native infrastructure stack to simplify the deployment, monitoring, and running of these applications. Developers will not have to think about deploying nodes or virtual machines. We will start to see everything in the database become extracted and virtualized. Serverless still has a way to go, but anyone who thinks serverless has seen its best days or is too far fetched is in for a treat. As developers take on more of the decision-maker role, we will start to see a shift in the kind of tools developers will seek and implement. Being able to scale globally is possible with Kubernetes, but is very complex. Serverless provides a nice package to achieve global scale. 

The developer will emerge as the new decision-maker: To keep up with big tech over the next two years, companies of all sizes will need to adopt a cloud-native infrastructure, dramatically accelerating a transformation that would typically take over a decade. With that change, we'll start to the responsibilities of the traditional developer will start to shift, merging expectations regardless of specialty. A new generation of more strategic-minded developers is emerging that will drive innovation and become the most influential people in the tech arm of companies. The most successful organizations of the next 10 years will be those that empower developers to not just have a say in the decision-making process, but those that enable developers to work directly with CTOs to bring in tools that can accelerate the creation and simplify the management of new products and services. As we look to 2021 and beyond, the most relevant products and services will be the ones that resonate with these developers and supercharge their output.


About the Author

Spencer Kimball

Spencer Kimball is the co-founder and CEO of Cockroach Labs, where he maintains a delicate balance between a love for programming distributed systems and the excitement of helping the company grow smoothly. While in university, he was one of the original authors of the GIMP. He cut his teeth on databases during the dot com heyday, and had a front-row seat at Google for a decade's worth of their evolution. 

Published Tuesday, December 08, 2020 7:43 AM by David Marshall
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