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The 2015 Top Ten IT Pro-Dictions

Community Manager

The Top Ten IT Pro-Dictions

The SolarWinds High Council of Head Geeks has gathered their sage and eternally savvy wisdom. You would be wise to heed their words

~ Knowstradamus

SolarWinds 2015 Head Geek Predictions

As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 begins, SolarWinds tapped its band of experts – the Head Geeks – to take a look inside their crystal balls and provide a glimpse into IT trends to watch for this year.

To complement the IT predictions from the Head Geeks, we’d like you to share your view of each (50 thwack points will be awarded for replies!). And don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and suggest a “paranoid perspective” for 2015 – Will networks become so complex that they are nearly impossible to manage? Security vulnerabilities so vast that all companies will experience at least one? Will the hybrid cloud transition create more headaches than benefits? Will business end users stage a revolt? Be sure to @mention each geek to continue the conversation with them about their predictions. Here are each of their thwack handles:

Kong Yang - @kong.yang

Lawrence Garvin – @LGarvin

Patrick Hubbard - @patrick.hubbard

Leon Adato - @adatole

Thomas LaRock - @sqlrockstar

Throughout the year, we plan to revisit these predictions and see how are becoming a reality, or instead, how many are turning out to be a completely paranoid fantasy.

12 Comments
jeremydr
Level 11

I could not agree more with Lawrence Garvin, Slow Apps are quickly becoming broke apps, esp with critical applications like ERP or CRM, especially as these apps move towards SAS deployments - think SalesForce. a slow internet connection results in slow app performance resulting in less productive workers. resulting in more calls to the helpdesk.

jkump
Level 15

Slow apps and the need for improved skillsets will definitely be a factor in the coming year.  As the technologies mature, business adoption increases, the skills needed will parallel that adoption.  If any one of the links is slow, then IT gets the black eye.

Above all other improvements and leaps forward, IT needs to be diligent and focused on securing the ones and zeroes that pass under our responsibilities.  Even if it means slowing adoption of IoT and other significant break throughs, security needs to be a the top of everyone's list.

jbiggley
Level 14

I've heard Leon Adato say that "slow is the new down" at least a thousand times.  Definitely agree.

jbiggley
Level 14

I'm up there with kong.yang -- I think virtualization will become ubiquitous with computing as the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) finally becomes a mature technology.  Scalability will be the new architectural trump card at all levels of the enterprise.  Startups have been doing what enterprises should have been doing for a long time -- dynamically scaling computing power depending on the load.

Enterprise Systems Monitoring will endure a genesis in 2015.  Disparate data sources will be converged to provide a more clear view of the enterprise and monitoring architects will be less 'geeks in the back room' and more data architects with monitoring data being the chosen flavor. I 100% agree with sqlrockstar that harnessing big data is going to be an essential component of a monitoring professionals job and, for some of us, might become the most important part of our jobs.  Knowing how to do data normalization, data analysis, communicate data to reflect the alignment with business patterns, etc. will be an extremely powerful skill.  Much as security engineers were one of the most in demand professionals (and still are!) in IT, data architects, analysts and data scientists will be the fastest growing segment in the IT industry.

nse
Level 7

Thanks for the detailed insights and forecast guys!  It's pretty much in-line with my expectations too, so that is great to re-affirm others are looking at things the same way I am.  Additionally, as most have mentioned in the comments already, the slow app performance and the continued movement to cloud is very apparent in not only my network, but my colleagues at other locations.  Keep up the great sessions thwackers!

akhasheni
Level 13

enjoyed the slideshow and... did I miss IT (administration and engineering) consumerization as a trend? It's nothing new, yet the trend seems to accelerate towards simpler, user friendlier applications and systems, abandoning systems that perhaps have richer functionality yet are harder to manage.

LGarvin
Level 17

There may be some debate around whether "Consumerization of IT" is a future trend, or already extant. Personally, my take is that it's already a fact of life. Gartner identified it as a trend in 2005, so now it's ten years since the introduction of that trend. The marketplace has definitely shifted. In the early days, it was quite common for workers to have newer/better equipment in their office, and the home had one "family PC", typically of lesser quality and power than what was available in the business world. With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and Android-based tablets in recent years, the consumer truly is the primary target for IT equipment these days. In fact, outside of the past seven years (mostly driven by economic challenges introduced in 2008), many organizations have underfunded the acquisition of equipment and services in their organizations -- and, to some extent, taken advantage of the propensity of employees to purchase personal devices. It also helps that carriers provide easy access, financially, to these devices, whereas purchasing a $2000 desktop computer ten years ago, much less a second one, just wasn't in the budget of most households.

jbiggley
Level 14

I think that the trend towards consumerization of IT is driven by more than just simple economics, although that has certainly accelerated the adoption.  The ubiquity of technology, as you pointed out, has increased the comfort level of all age groups with 'geeky' things, but I think it is the return to centralized computing (from the consumers POV) that has really taken the hardware market by storm.  As complex as technology is (see tablets and phones, for example) they are self-contained packages that require substantially less effort to install, configure and maintain than the PCs of 10 years ago.  Back that up with applications that are available on-demand, the ability to access data almost anywhere, and the collaboration that is fostered by a familiarity with social media and you have the perfect storm for consumer driven IT.

I have to echo akhasheni's concerns about lack of manageability.  Any enterprise that tried to protect and secure an iPhone was left longing for the Blackberry ecosystem.  Add in BYOD and the uptick in both remote work and independent contractors (freelancers, self-employed, etc.) and you change the paradigm for the management of infrastructure and data.

I was just thinking about this consumerization of technology the other day and I predict that we will see an industrialization of technology.  The past 3 years have been about trying to get consumers to buy bigger and faster devices -- selling the hardware.  It reminds me of a commercial I heard as a kid "We sell them below cost and make our money on volume!"  While that is enough to make any economist cringe it seems to be the pursuit of so many hardware manufacturers.  If we can only cram more storage, bigger screens, faster CPUs, etc. etc into a smaller package people will buy them.  I see the Internet of Things being first about the standardization of data and interactions.  I want my phone to talk to my TV and my fridge to talk to my tablet, seamlessly.  I don't want to necessarily have to think about the how and why as a consumer, I want to know that it works.  Innovation in this space will be less about faster hardware for the sake of hardware and more about hardware because it actually does what is says it is going to do as reliably as our other industrialized consumer goods -- fridges, stoves, washing machines, furnaces, etc.  Once technology becomes omniscient (and likely omnipotent as well -- yikes!) we'll start to see the real potential behind cloud computing and the IoT.

(Sorry -- that was way longer than I intended.)

cnorborg
Level 16

I definitely agree with Lawrence Garvin about his perspective on application performance.  What I find frustrating as a network engineer is how this seems to clash head-on with the business communities drive towards cutting costs on the actual network.  From moving to cheaper broadband Internet connections to driving towards cutting costs on critical components like routers and such.   You would think with the performance of the applications being more and more critical that they would invest in things like MPLS networks with SLA's to guarantee performance rather than move to the Internet where performance is anything but guaranteed.   Not to mention the lack of visibility into why a cable connection is running slow when all you have is an Ethernet interface to a cable modem (which is pretty much always up and running clean), when compared to seeing errors and such on the interface to your T1's...

I can definitely see the appeal of the promise of faster speeds like 50Mb or 100Mb at unbelievably low prices, but does it seems as if they forgot the old adage "You get what you pay for" when it comes to WAN connections.

kchesher
Level 8

Joshua Biggley, I'm pretty sure you're stalking my brain right now. I find consumer technology to have historically driven the mainstream IT market and it will continue to do so in 2015, but with more speed and precision. That is to say, as Lawrence Garvin mentioned with the iPhone, as the IoT (or Web2.0+) continues to blossom out of infancy, the impact of consumers and their Smart-Everything (Smart Homes, I'm looking at you) will inevitably shape the expectation of data delivery in the work place. It already does. I get calls and emails frequently from my users that claim they can work faster using their phones and question why internet access is so slow when they have 100Mbps connections at their homes. These are honest concerns that we in the IT industry must face daily. Is it fair that we provide comparatively inadequate service and speed? No, but it's the reality for most SMB companies, even the medium ones that are growing into legitimate large businesses in their markets. Trying to keep up with the Jones' (the Jones' being the consumer electronics and internet services markets) can be overwhelming, expensive and deadly to an SMB.

Again, to reiterate Joshua Biggley, consumers have grown to synonymize the general stability, ease of use and consistent performance of consumer grade electronics, home goods and peripherals with that of corporate IT and expect the same performance and reliability when at work. That's where we come in, the IT pro with Enterprise Monitoring Tools like SolarWinds. Without an ear to the ground and an eye on the sky, we will fail our users.

The buzz words for 2015 will continue to be: Smart, Connected. Compatible.

jbiggley
Level 14

+1 for brain stalking.

dasher
Level 11

As networks grow and get more complex, there is always someone else that can step in and make heads or tails of the mess that has been made. Surely agree that if a connection, ether wireless, directly connected, an application or service is slow "The sky is falling!" and it is perceived to down or not functioning. Good read by the way!