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A distinguished engineer’s 6 trends to watch in 2019

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trends 2019 distinguished engineerDouglas Adams once wrote, “Trying to predict the future is a mug’s game. But increasingly, it’s a game we all have to play because the world is changing so fast and we need to have some sort of idea of what the future’s actually going to be like because we are going to have to live there, probably next week.”

Change continues apace. I’m once again dusting off my crystal ball to consider those trends I see clients facing as we move into 2019. Based on my experience in the field and looking back at my previous predictions — and trying to keep my track record going — these are the six trends I anticipate 2019 will bring:

1. Cloud professional skills will remain in demand.

Even with the massive growth in cloud, there is still a lack of good cloud skills among professionals. Speed of technology change makes growing new skills hard and many organizations are struggling to keep cloud-skilled professionals. The limited number of skilled employees means those with the right knowledge may be tempted to move as other companies pay premium rates. Automation may be part of the solution. These toolsets will free professionals from mundane cloud tasks and help hide complexity. This will help grow the pool of skilled people.

2. Serverless and container use will grow.

In 2019, “serverless” may be the trigger that moves enterprise workloads to the cloud. This model is becoming more established and better understood. Many enterprises are likely to use both serverless and containerization technology for their workloads. Clients concerned about lock-in to proprietary solutions will look to open source alternatives.

3. The hybrid multicloud approach will expand.

First we had cloud, then hybrid cloud, then multicloud. Organizations still disagree over what these all mean. All we can say is that what clients are doing in practice doesn’t fit the textbook definitions. New tools will make the integration of cloud and non-cloud, on- and off-premises simpler. Real choice over where to deploy what workload will improve as a result.

4. Bare metal will become “cloudy”.

Purists will tell you that “bare metal servers” are not cloud. Yet there is an increasing provision of these across all the major cloud platforms. For some workloads and use cases these are the right answer. Performance, isolation and unique workloads all benefit here. Forget purity and embrace pragmatism.

5. Focus on software costs will increase as value moves up the stack.

Rarely does a week goes by without some reduction in pricing of one cloud service or another. The greatest downward pressure to date has been in the infrastructure layer. As costs continue to fall here, more focus will fall on higher layers in the stack. Costs of platform and software services will come under greater scrutiny by clients. Expect to see price reductions here too.

6. Security will continue to be critical.

Time and effort protecting clouds and cloud applications will have benefits. Threats will change as clouds reach into new business areas. Many companies see exploitation of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices as the next likely way in, so new security methods will be needed. For the worst offenders, punitive GDPR penalties will result.

For readers concerned that this is all going in an uncomfortable speed and direction, look to Douglas Adams once again: “Don’t panic.”

Learn more about IBM Cloud.

Distinguished Engineer, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform

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