There are two things you can count on whenever the New Year rolls around. One is lists of predictions. The other is an abundance of eyewear that stopped being fun circa 2002.
So here are some predictions we’ve put together and gathered from within the industry for 2017.
General Technology Predictions
Tesla Doesn’t Deliver in 2017, No One Cares
Let’s face it, with a enigmatic and charismatic character like Elon Musk at the helm, Tesla get’s the benefit of the doubt. It helps that they are aggressively forward thinking, and in general have helped pushed electric vehicle into the mainstream. But despite the fact that their own consumers love them, in objective terms, the company often falls a little short. Recently the Model X has had quality control issues, and has been slow to come off the production line. In 2017, Telsa is supposed to deliver the first of the Model 3s, their “affordable” electric sedan. They have pre-orders for over 350,000 vehicles. It’s an enormous undertaking, given that the company just reached the capacity to produce 2000 models a week in production for existing models. I think 2017 will be severely underwhelming for consumers. I think we’ll see around 4-8% of pre-orders delivered by the end of 2017. But here’s the thing, people will be so excited, there will be no consumer backlash.
Virtual Reality Cools Off, Augmented Reality Shows Up
VR has a lot going for it this year. Google, Facebook, Sony, and HTC all put out hardware in 2016. The cost of the processing grunt for truly high end VR is rapidly decreasing, with Nvidia and AMD both racing to put out cheaper and cheaper “VR capable” cards. VR experiences are proliferating. Games are being developed specifically for it. Web standards and streaming services are launching for these devices. VR will be successful, but I think 2017 is the year people begin to see how bizarrely isolating the whole experience is. Unless someone figures out social in a big way in VR, I think it remains a dedicated but not exploding community of enthusiasts for the time being. Meanwhile, I think Microsoft has a big push for HoloLens in the cards. While Magic Leap looks to be largely smoke and mirrors, I think the potential for VR comes through in a big way, with Microsoft at the forefront this year.
Twitter Becomes the New Yahoo
Remember when Yahoo was relevant for something other than disturbing data hacks? I think Twitter is on a similar path to relative irrelevance. It’s growth continued to sag in 2016, and the company hemorrhaged senior executives. Now with a flailing stock price, it’ll be even harder to recruit the talent needed to turn around the platform. After failing to get bought, I don’t think any suitors will come calling in 2017, leaving them on their slow spiral to an Internet afterthought.
No One Buys Docker
There have been rumors for a year or two that Microsoft was thinking about buying Docker. For most of 2016, I could still see them pulling the trigger. Two things changed my mind. First, the September announcement of native Docker support for Windows. I would think that would have been the main reason to purchase Docker from Redmond’s perspective. Now that Windows Server 2016 can natively run Docker, I don’t see a lot of motivation. That takes away their dance partner. Second is Docker’s acquisition of Infinit. It’s a longer term play by Docker, not one you make if you’re getting offers from potential buyers. It’s still possible, but it shows Docker consciously trying to shore up it’s weaknesses for the future, not making themselves a lean acquisition target now.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure Gets Old
Hyperconverged infrastructure isn’t going anywhere. There’s a lot of players in the space, and basically everyone is trying to make some kind pitch to have storage running as a software service. That idea isn’t going anywhere. But someone is going to try to pitch a new name for it. Maybe there will be a slightly different spin. Maybe the software service for storage controllers will be containerized to differentiate it. But someone will try to pitch something like “uberconverged infrastructure”, and analysts will be more than happy to run with it.
Nutanix was the second biggest tech IPO in what turned out to be a down year overall. What companies will go public in 2017? For me, I think we might see one of the bigger SD-WAN companies: Viptela, VeloCloud, or Cradlepoint. Technologically they seem pretty mature and the market certainly seems receptive to what they are offering. Funds from the offering could certainly be used to bolster relationships with service providers, or at least give the companies a little leverage, which will be vital for expanding their business.
Since I’m no financial expert, I looked at the CB Insights report predicting who might be on the table for a 2017 IPOs. They list five likely candidates: Pluralsight, Okta, Blue Apron, Qualtrics, and Zuora. Okta and Zuora are the most enterprise relevant. The former is a cloud security company, while the later runs a SaaS company serving subscription based retailers. Neither hits on any big trends in enterprise IT.
Predictions from the Enterprise
From Keith Townsend: I think this will be the year the enterprises are forced to embrace investment into their own technology IP. As businesses focus more on the digital business transformation, IT shops will be forced to build vs. buy. Vendors will not be able to cater to the greater market until they learn what enterprises did wrong when they built their own solutions. The circle of life.
Paul Zeiter, President of Zerto: A new administration will be in the White House come January and eventually, new regulations will come with it. What does this mean for compliance-heavy industries like healthcare and financial services in 2017? With near daily accounts of very public outages and hacker-related issues affecting large organizations, we can assume that, at the very least, there will be discussions at the federal level around stricter disaster recovery regulations. Therefore, we believe many early-adopter organizations will want to get ahead of any new mandates, and will be assessing the easiest, most affordable ways to adopt and implement new solutions to meet these regulations. In many cases, new regulatory needs of these industries may start to also shape the solutions the disaster recovery market offers. At Zerto, for example, we work hand-in-hand with our partner community to tweak and update our software, on an ongoing basis, to ensure it’s meeting compliance-based needs, and this often results in new product offerings that benefit our customer base as whole.
Ruben Spruijt, CTO of Atlantis Computing: Windows 10 will become a more prominent platform in the enterprise space in 2017. As it is not easy to migrate a line of business applications from Windows to another platform, for the foreseeable future the enterprise will require Windows 10. Additionally, the user experience for Windows 10 will increase dramatically in 2017 due to heavier utilization of graphic processing units (GPUs) by the OS and supporting applications. Historically, virtual workspaces didn’t require GPUs since most workloads were CPU heavy and only a small set of use cases needed dedicated graphics hardware. However, in 2017 with even core business applications like Office 2016/365 leveraging the GPU as well as usage even by Windows 10, GPUs will shift towards being a mainstream requirement
Chris Brandon, CEO of StorageOS: 2016 saw the next evolution of container technology with the creation of persistent, highly available, scalable containers storage. Many SME and Enterprise customers have started to test and prepare these systems for production. In 2017, these developments will change the landscape not just for devops but for all enterprises wishing to drive down cost and decrease time to market. Containers are used to quickly build and deploy cloud native applications that run securely on multiple platforms or cloud providers’ environments. Users now require scalable, deterministic, low latency storage that can securely move data with the container based application between bare metal devices, virtual machines or cloud infrastructure. They also need to maintain the control of Service Levels and Compliance for these system. With persistent storage, containers can be used – not just for applications – but databases as well. In 2017, we will see even greater adoption of containers by service providers and enterprises of all sizes as companies continue to develop in the cloud. The winners will be the ones focused on leveraging existing investment and maintaining business control, while delivering ease of use and sophisticated integration to make developers lives easy.