5 bold cloud predictions from IBM Distinguished Engineers

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wpid-thumbnail-316e6905a1f7ca3799679441bf35028f46-500x382When we talk about the future of cloud computing a year from now—or even five, ten years from now—what will we say? Will the cloud become so ubiquitous it virtually disappears? Will it evolve into something we simply can’t foresee?

There’s certainly no shortage of hype around the cloud, but there are also trends that speak to larger truths about the technology and what it enables. To help get a clearer picture about where we’re heading with all of it, we turned to the experts—five IBMers with the rank of Distinguished Engineer.

Distinguished Engineers are key technical experts with in-depth knowledge of a particular subject matter, or multiple areas. DEs, as they’re often called, help shape business decisions and processes not just at IBM, but throughout the technology field.

We asked our panel of Distinguished Engineers to make bold predictions for the future of cloud computing. Here’s what they shared:

Jesse Proudman


“Over the next five years, there will be no meaningful distinction between public and private cloud. Pricing models might be one exception, but even that is converging. The architectures and platforms we associate with public and private clouds are converging into a monolithic model, one characterized by:

– open APIs, hardware designs, and (increasingly) open software

– reliance upon software to manage failover, not hardware

– abstracting hardware further from the cloud operations software

“The result of these forces is that increasingly similar cloud architectures are being deployed on both sides of the firewall. That’s the future we’re building at IBM. It’s a vision that lets customers build an application one time, then run that app and move its associated data to the infrastructure that makes the most sense from a business, performance, and economic standpoint. This puts customers in control, no longer forcing them to make artificial cloud architecture choices that limit future options and increase risk.”

Jesse Proudman is the founder and CTO of Blue Box, an IBM company. He is also the latest to join the ranks of IBM Distinguished Engineers. Read more from Jesse on the Blue Box blog.

Brad Topol


“I would expect to see greater integration and synergy across the OpenStack IaaS layer and the Cloud Foundry PaaS layer. Customers typically need the capabilities of both these layers and with many of the large vendors supporting both of these initiatives I would expect to see a push toward synergies and seamless consumability of both these platform layers. I also expect to see increased alignment across OpenStack and container technologies with OpenStack making dramatic strides to make it easier to adopt container technologies.”

Brad Topol is an IBM Distinguished Engineer focused on driving IBM’s OpenStack development initiatives. Brad welcomes the newest Distinguished Engineer to the ranks on the Blue Box blog.  

Christopher Ferris


“Traditionally, it used to take up to five years to go from the back of a napkin, saying, ‘We need a standard for X,’ to actual end user value. You had to travel around the globe, build consensus and come to an agreement that, ‘yes, this is the standard for X’. But, you aren’t done! All you have is a specification. Then, you spend the next couple of years to integrate that into your products and hammer out interoperability resulting from inconsistent interpretation of prose. It could take up to seven years before you achieve your interoperability or portability objectives.

“My prediction? Cloud will continue to dramatically reduce time to market for new interoperability standards because we are working directly in the cloud on open source reference implementations that can be directly integrated into product from the outset. Cloud and open source also reduce the feedback cycle from years to mere weeks or months.”

Christopher Ferris is a Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technology Officer of Open Cloud for IBM. Chris discusses the critical role of open source today in the IBM Cloud Dragon Dojo video series.

Andrew Hately 


“When we talk about new ways of developing in the cloud, it boils down to letting people work the way they want to work and letting them collaborate with tools that actually make sense for an open, agile style of development.  When developers take a social coding approach, there’s a sense that they’re free to work together on the code and all focus on the quality of the work they deliver. As a result of the collaboration in code we’re seeing in Open Source communities, the next wave of innovative cloud services will emerge from these collaborative and vibrant developer ecosystems.”

Andrew Hately is a Distinguished Engineer and CTO of Cloud Performance for IBM. Andrew discusses a day in the life of an IBM developer in the IBM Cloud Dragon Dojo video series.

Dan Berg


“There’s a lot of talk in the development community over whether DevOps should really be called OpsDev or BizOpsDev or any number of other combinations thereof. All aspects of delivering change to a system are important because they each have constraints on the system and your ability to deliver change quickly. OpsDev seems to be getting more focus recently because, in the cloud, you have to be very aware of the operational aspects of your code to deliver highly resilient cloud native applications. I believe that over time we will not use the phrase DevOps anymore (or OpsDev, for that matter) because the behaviors and practices will be second nature. The principles, tools, and culture of DevOps will just become an inherent aspect of being a successful developer in the cloud.”

Dan Berg is a Distinguished Engineer in Foundation Services & DevOps for IBM. He discusses the evolving role of the developer in the IBM Cloud Dragon Dojo video series.

Connect with these Distinguished Engineers on Twitter, and share your bold predictions for the future of cloud computing. 


IBM Cloud

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