The 2013 Tech Industry – A Year in Review

Chris Ward

By Chris Ward, CTO, LogicsOne

As 2013 comes to a close and we begin to look forward to what 2014 will bring, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect back on the past year.  We’ve been talking a lot about that evil word ‘cloud’ for the past 3 to 4 years, but this year put a couple of other terms up in lights including Software Defined X (Datacenter, Networking, Storage, etc.) and Big Data.  Like ‘cloud,’ these two newer terms can easily mean different things to different people, but put in simple terms, in my opinion, there are some generic definitions which apply in almost all cases.  Software Defined X is essentially the concept of taking any ties to specific vendor hardware out of the equation and providing a central point for configuration, again vendor agnostic, except of course for the vendor providing the Software Defined solution :) .  I define Big Data simply as the ability to find a very specific and small needle of data in an incredibly large haystack within a reasonably short amount of time. I see both of these technologies becoming more widely adopted in short order with Big Data technologies already well on the way. 

As for our friend ‘the cloud,’ 2013 did see a good amount of growth in consumption of cloud services, specifically in the areas of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  IT has adopted a ‘virtualization first’ strategy over the past 3 to 4 years when it comes to bringing any new workloads into the datacenter.  I anticipate we’ll begin to see a ‘SaaS first’ approach being adopted in short order if it is not out there already.  However, I can’t necessarily say the same on the IaaS side so far as ‘IaaS first’ goes.  While IaaS is a great solution for elastic computing, I still see most usage confined to the application development or super large scale out application (Netflix) type use cases.  The mass adoption of IaaS for simply forklifting existing workloads out of the private datacenter and into the public cloud simply hasn’t happened.  Why?? My opinion is for traditional applications neither the cost nor operational model make sense, yet. 

In relation to ‘cloud,’ I did see a lot of adoption of advanced automation, orchestration, and management tools and thus an uptick in ‘private clouds.’  There are some fantastic tools now available both commercially and open source, and I absolutely expect to see this adoption trend to continue, especially in the Enterprise space.  Datacenters, which have a vast amount of change occurring whether in production or test/dev, can greatly benefit from these solutions. However, this comes with a word of caution – just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  I say this because I have seen several instances where customers have wanted to automate literally everything in their environments. While that may sound good on the surface, I don’t believe it’s always the right thing to do.  There are times still where a human touch remains the best way to go. 

As always, there were some big time announcements from major players in the industry. Here are some posts we did with news and updates summaries from VMworld, VMware Partner Exchange, EMC World, Cisco Live and Citrix Synergy. Here’s an additional video from September where Lou Rossi, our VP, Technical Services, explains some new Cisco product announcements. We also hosted a webinar (which you can download here) about VMware’s Horizon Suite as well as a webinar on our own Cloud Management as a Service Offering

The past few years have seen various predictions relating to the unsustainability of Moore’s Law which states that processors will double in computing power every 18-24 months and 2013 was no exception.  The latest prediction is that by 2020 we’ll reach the 7nm mark and Moore’s Law will no longer be a logarithmic function.  The interesting part is that this prediction is not based on technical limitations but rather economic ones in that getting below that 7nm mark will be extremely expensive from a manufacturing perspective and, hey, 64k of RAM is all anyone will ever need right?  :)

Probably the biggest news of 2013 was the revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) had undertaken a massive program and seemed to be capturing every packet of data coming in or out of the US across the Internet.   I won’t get into any political discussion here, but suffice it to say this is probably the largest example of ‘big data’ that exists currently.  This also has large potential ramifications for public cloud adoption as security and data integrity have been 2 of the major roadblocks to adoption so it certainly doesn’t help that customers may now be concerned about the NSA eavesdropping on everything going on within the public datacenters.  It is estimated that public cloud providers may lose as much as $22-35B over the next 3 years as a result of customers slowing adoption due to this.  The only good news in this, at least for now, is it’s very doubtful that the NSA or anyone else on the planet has the means to actual mine anywhere close to 100% of the data they are capturing.  However, like anything else, it’s probably only a matter of time.

What do you think the biggest news/advancements of 2013 were?  I would be interested in your thoughts as well.

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