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Kong Inc. 2022 Predictions: APIs, Cloud, Kubernetes and More

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

APIs, Cloud, Kubernetes and More

By Marco Palladino and Reza Shafii, Kong Inc.

As developer teams enter 2022, they will be hyper focused on how to improve the efficiencies of their operations, with myriad technologies and approaches to choose from. We believe that these five areas will be critical during the next year for application development:

Adoption of Vendor Neutral APIs Will Skyrocket Despite Risk of Cloud Vendor 'Bait and Switch'

Kubernetes and containers have forever changed the way software is packaged and maintained, and have offered unprecedented application portability. These technologies have freed developers from vendor lock-in and enabled APIs and microservices to become the new fuel for our digital world, providing the foundation for unlimited innovation. As we enter 2022, I expect more developers will adopt open and vendor-neutral APIs so they can create applications in their preferred environments without being locked into a particular vendor ecosystem. While this approach offers great flexibility, it puts organizations at risk of a cloud vendor's "embrace, extend and extinguish" policy towards open APIs. 

Tech Savvy Organizations Will Begin to Repatriate from the Public Cloud

The public cloud is alive and well and is not going anywhere; in fact, I predict it will grow 10-20x over the next decade. However, large, tech-savvy organizations are becoming much more judicious in how they use the cloud and will increasingly repatriate from their "all in cloud" stance. We'll start to see this shift happening in 2022. In much the same way that enterprises have embraced open source software and have opted to do it themselves, tech-savvy companies are beginning to realize they can run their own private cloud better and just use the public cloud for specific use cases such as usage bursts. Bank of America is one significant example of how a company can use private cloud to lower its IT costs, and I expect more large organizations will explore similar private cloud uses.

Centralized Load Balancers Will Disappear Within 3-4 Years

Unlike many of our processes and technologies for managing modern applications, load balancers have remained largely unchanged and are ripe for disruption. Centralized load balancers simply do not make sense in a decentralized world. They add an extra hop in the network, increase latency and are not portable.

I predict that in 2022, enterprises will start to phase out their use of legacy load balancers and adopt decentralized client-side load balancing using a new service mesh pattern called ZeroLB. Some enterprises have been able to increase their performance by 4x and achieve 7-figure savings using ZeroLB, which aims to remove every load balancer that is being deployed in front of individual services and applications. In this capacity, ZeroLB eliminates the need for elastic cloud load balancers, software load balancers and hardware load balancers from the equation.

Open Policy Agent (OPA) Will Emerge as a New Standard in the Enterprise

Open Policy Agent (OPA) is an open source policy engine that enables unified policy enforcement across the entire stack. In 2021, it became a graduated CNCF project with strong adoption and feature maturity. I predict OPA will have a breakout year in the enterprise as it will be leveraged for more and more use cases. We'll also start to see new technology solutions come to market that natively integrate with OPA.

OPA enables enterprises to automatically define and codify their enterprise policies, instead of manually creating and maintaining these policies each time, saving tremendous developer time and resources. With the adoption of cloud native architectures, writing and enforcing policies and authorization for things like APIs, Kubernetes configuration authorization is becoming beyond human scale. Having a codified, unified way of applying policies enables the automation level that is becoming more and more critical to every enterprise every year in order to be able to operate at scale.

Enterprises Will Seek New Strategies to Deal with Kubernetes Sprawl

The establishment of Kubernetes as the platform of choice for the deployment and efficient management of most enterprise workloads - at least directionally - is no longer a question. However, the variety of Kubernetes offerings available (across cloud providers and private or so called "hybrid" offerings) has only increased. With the ease of deployment of Kubernetes clusters also decreasing, the stage is well set for "sprawl" problems of the same variety that we have been seeing for multiple cloud accounts, and prior to that for VMs in the virtualized infrastructure world. This will make the ability to manage the lifecycle and applications on these differing Kubernetes providers in a consistent manner, as well as the ability to consolidate them easily, more and more critical. 

2022 will be a pivotal year for most organizations, and decisions made today will greatly help or hinder developer teams in delivering modern applications to their customers and end users. It is too early to tell which practices will yield the greatest return for organizations, but one thing is certain: teams must innovate in 2022 or they risk being displaced.



Marco Palladino, CTO and co-founder, Kong Inc.

Marco Palladino 

Marco Palladino, an inventor, software developer, and Internet entrepreneur based in San Francisco, is the CTO and co-founder of Kong Inc.


Reza Shafii, VP of Products, Kong Inc.

Reza Shafii 

Reza Shafii is a seasoned product executive in the infrastructure and middleware space. Reza led Product at a number of successful enterprises, including the first Product Management hire at MuleSoft, VP of product at CoreOS, and through acquisition, GM and VP of platform services for OpenShift at Red Hat. He is the VP of products at Kong Inc.

Published Monday, January 10, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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