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Top trends and technologies of 2020: looking back – looking ahead

Sachin Dabir | Founder & Director, Ashnik
USA, 21 Jan 2020
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21-Jan-2020

We have left behind the teen years of the 21st century and are moving into adulthood. Adulthood years will perhaps bring some stability, but for the technology industry, change is the only constant. It thrives on continuous innovation and disruption. In such an ever-changing world, everyone is anxious to know the trends and technologies that are likely to emerge. You might have noticed that 2020 has just begun, and countless articles are doing rounds on ‘technologies to watch out for’.

I thought of taking a pause and reflecting upon how I have experienced the evolution of technologies first and then look at some key trends.

Compute power to Container platform

When Mainframes were ruling the roost, what it meant was having the power of computing. Everything was based upon one big machine, its computing capacity and the software was so closely associated with hardware. All that mattered was machine power and machine capacity. Right from the time of creating requirement documents to purchasing, all that mattered was machine specifications. In the late 80s and 90s, things became ‘open’. Unix based machines were to decouple hardware computing power and software that were driving business functionality. But still, the importance of computers or hardware platform did not change considerably. An anecdote exemplifies the innate focus on hardware. I don’t know if this story is true or not, but our boss shared it with us way back in 1996. The story goes like this.

Our company used to sell proprietary Unix servers and was one of the few multinational companies operating in India at that time. The GM of the server business was meeting the customer and was elaborating features-function-benefits. He had a peculiar style of explaining. He would explain it by saying point a, point b, etc.
So, he started telling the customer:

  • “A – our servers have 2 CPUs and has memory capacity of 16GB”
  • “B – it supports networking standards” and he went on to explain in detail new ethernet technology…

Customer was paying rapt attention and was eager to know the next point so customer asked, “what about C?”,

“It comes free with Unix”, came the quick response from our GM.

It may sound funny, but it highlights the importance of hardware platform even during the Unix system days.

The software and hardware or compute power were truly decoupled with the onset of Linux and commodity x86 based servers. That gave real choice of platform in the hands of enterprise customers.

Cloud platform took the choice of computing power to another level. It totally altered the discussion about the hardware purchases and developers had the real power in hands.

While cloud platform has almost become part of the enterprise architecture in the last 2,3 years, enterprises have started realizing the lock-ins being created. This has raised big alarms and enterprises have started resenting the fact that very choice for which they chose cloud platform is being restricted by the cloud vendors.

Rise of cloud platform and understanding of cloud vendors creating lock-in has happened in quite a short period – in just 5 to 7 years. And that is the pace of development of our industry.

With this at the backdrop, Container platform has been emerging for enterprise computing since 2014-15 in real terms. Even though its rise was slow, but with the maturity of Kubernetes and surrounding ecosystem when the industry realized that Container platform has the potential to create independence from cloud vendors, its adoption grew exponentially since 2017-18. Today, containerization is being adopted as a strategy for platform independence. This technology/platform is going to be a cornerstone of the IT architecture in coming few years.

In the next article, I would like to write about the

  • evolution of trends in application development which I call as ‘Monolith to Microservices’
  • Emergence of need for ‘real time’ considerations for scale out and security analytics
  • How do you – IT professionals – cope with these fast-changing demands

Stay tuned!

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  • Sachin is veteran in IT industry and brings over 25 years of experience in setting up new businesses, leading high performance sales teams and executing growth strategies. He is passionate about open source and is an acknowledged leader in open source in Asia. As a founder of Ashnik he is leading the growth initiatives and taking Ashnik global. His stints in Asia, UK and USA enables him to bring unique perspective to entrepreneurship and life. His interests in writing, reading and mentoring makes him an excellent networker. Currently he is learning to be a patient father to teenage sons and striving to be a good husband.

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21-Jan-2020