By John Mark Ivey
With each passing year, it seems technology advances get faster and faster and grow in number. When was the last year that technology didn't seem to take a huge leap forward? 2014 was no different, and 2015 is shaping up to be chock-full of advances on many existing technology fronts as well. We asked our subject matter experts, long-time instructors and learning architects which technological advances they think will be in store for us in 2015.
Our Microsoft course director Tracy Wallace shared his thoughts on increased adoption of "universal apps" in the Microsoft development ecosystem in 2015.
"Leveraging the unified platform and API promised in Windows 10, developers can maintain a single code base for apps to run across all Microsoft platforms -- from desktops to phones," Wallace said. "Developers will have a compelling case to move forward with mobile app development within the Microsoft ecosystem, whereas they have heretofore faced a 'chicken and egg' paradox."
"Windows Phone has struggled to gain market share because of lack of apps, and app developers have been hesitant to invest in building apps for Windows Phone because of lack of market share," he added. "With Windows 10 and universal apps, traditional Windows application developers will have a broad market including billions of desktops, laptops and mobile devices."
Cisco has entered many different technology fields over the years. We asked Michael Watkins, our senior director for Cisco training, what he foresees in Cisco's future. His answer touched on those varied technologies.
"When it comes to predicting the future, few prognosticators ever get it 100 percent right. If they did, I would be enjoying my flying car, rather than considering what 2015 holds for Cisco," Watkins said. "Of course, perhaps the whole point behind these predictions is not so much to 'get it right,' as it is to inspire while giving a glimpse of what could be."
"That's what Cisco did back in 2011 when they predicted that the growth in Internet traffic between 2014 and 2015 would be equal to ALL of the Internet traffic created in 2010. Or when they suggested that in 2015 monthly Internet traffic will reach the equivalent of 20 billion DVDs, 19 trillion MP3s or 500 quadrillion text messages," he continued. "While these numbers are interesting and perhaps a little staggering, what intrigues me is how we get there."
"Mobility? Sure, that has had a significant impact on the growth of Internet traffic to this point, and I suspect this will continue at breakneck speed in 2015 as well," Watkins said. "Streaming? One look at the conversion of the Netflix distribution model tells you this is a sure contributor as well. However, none of this is revolutionary, merely an explanation for the past."
"Cloud computing? That's so 2014," Watkins declared.
"So what will drive the future?" he asked. "For Cisco, it will be the realization of the Internet of Things (IoT). Finally we will move from slick marketing copy to actual exobytes; 2015 will be the year of change," Watkins continued. "What will drive this? The convergence of both industry and consumer connected technology generating more than 1,000 exabytes of IP traffic across 15 billion (yep, that was a 'b') connected devices -- from your mobile phone, to your pad device, to your wearable tech like the T-shirt Ralph Lauren introduced at the 2014 U.S. Open."
"The year ahead will see consumers and industry alike pushing more data across the Internet than ever before from an ever-increasing myriad devices. As they do, Cisco will be there to provide the underlying infrastructure and InterCloud connectivity to make sure each bit and byte translate into usable data to drive ever more sophisticated analysis and decision-making for businesses and consumers alike," Watkins concluded.
Speaking of cloud computing, our practice leader for cloud technologies Craig Brown, noted that spending on public and private IT cloud services is expected to generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015, according to a new study by the market intelligence firm IDC. He added that the research, commissioned by Microsoft, also found that IT innovation created by cloud computing could produce $1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues.
"If you look into 2015 from a cloud computing perspective, the public cloud will continue to evolve. I suspect we will see a wave of cloud brokerages established. These brokerages will provide unified cloud services from different vendors," Brown said. "Also, a new class of service will be generated by cloud aggregators. Private cloud deployment will continue its substantial adoption within organizations."
"A critical need is the control of both public and private cloud ecosystems. Microsoft does have a tool that can control both environments and form a single ecosystem. System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 can control multiple environments (VMware, Oracle, Citrix, Microsoft and XEN) in a unified console," Brown continued. "The major feature of this console is that it works for both on-premise and cloud control. The System Center family is a complete end-to-end control solution."
Marc Grimm, our Agile project manager and on-site Scrum Master, thinks 2015 will be a year in which more organizations will adopt Agile for more than just software development.
"It has become essential to the way we work within Global Knowledge's Learning and Performance Solutions group. I've seen big pharmaceutical companies implementing many Agile practices, such as daily stand-ups and Kanban boards," he said. "I think you'll also see advertising and media companies actively implementing Agile techniques, as well as organizations involved in event planning and small construction projects that naturally lend themselves to Agile. Really, any project that has tasks that can be broken down and where iterative inspection will help move it along will benefit from Agile."
He added that as more groups adopt the Agile methodology in 2015, it will no longer be regarded as a fad, especially if its popularity grows far beyond its original software development audience as it did in 2014.
No technology snagged as many headlines in 2014 as cybersecurity. We asked our technical solution architect for networking and security James Reagan what 2015 holds for those concerned with cybersecurity. It sounds like more of the same as Fortune 500 hacks continue to grab headlines.
"It is no secret that C-suite personnel fail to fund things they don't understand. Security can be nebulous and hard for some to wrap their heads around," Reagan said. "High-profile hacks, such as those at Target and Sony, bring security to the forefront as an organizational risk to be managed." According to Reagan, plenty of senior corporate leaders are no doubt holding countless meetings on the subject of cybersecurity.
"If history is a teacher, the hacks will get bigger and bigger, organizations and industries will react by increasing cybersecurity spending, and governments will increase regulatory oversight if sufficient voluntary action is not taken," he said. "There are not enough qualified security professionals to meet current demand. Who will fill the positions open today and the new ones in 2015?"
Network Virtualization is Here to Stay
2015 will be a year of continued growth for network virtualization and the software-defined data center (SDDC), according to our VMware lead instructor and author Bill Ferguson, VCI3,4,5, VCP-DV/NV, CCSI, LVCI.
"Based on everything that I've read, as well as my own experience, network virtualization led by VMware's NSX is here to stay," Ferguson said. "Chris Wolf, CTO of Americas VMware, says 'It's not a matter of if a company will choose network virtualization, but only when.' That makes perfect sense when you consider that 'networking' is the only IT element that most companies cannot currently create in software and set up in minutes or even seconds."
"With a focus on that type of IT agility, the other three parts of the 'core four' (CPU, memory and storage) have been virtualized years ago by most companies, but they've been forced to wait for days or even weeks on the network team to manually provision the necessary routers, switches, load balancers and so on to create the final design," Ferguson continued. "Virtualizing the network will not only complete the SDDC, but it will also enhance security in most companies, since the overall security of the network will be controlled from one centralized, cohesive software platform and since the network professionals will have more time to review the latest security threats and how they affect their own organization!"
Cloud Adoption Growth with SoftLayer
Our senior IBM product director Eric Strause added that integration and alignment will be the name of the game in 2015. "Integration and alignment will be essential as organizations take more aggressive approaches to cloud and hybrid cloud, expanding beyond proof of concept and migrating business-critical workloads," he said.
"From an IBM perspective, we expect to see explosive growth in cloud adoption, particularly with SoftLayer as the foundation, as IaaS and PaaS take a front seat for major enterprises," Strause continued. "Additionally, I think the integration and alignment theme will continue to result in some interesting developments for enterprise mobility. The recent announcement of the IBM and Apple partnership is an excellent example of an area where companies are looking to streamline how their tech works for them."
Cloud Provider Shakeup
Rich Morrow, our cloud/big data course director and Hadoop and AWS instructor, foresees continued growth for cloud providers.
"Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM SoftLayer and quite possibly Microsoft Azure will all make double-digit growth, and AWS adoption will stabilize. For many businesses, the simplistic PaaS approach of GCP makes more sense, and GCP performance (especially at the network layer) is unmatched," Morrow said. "SoftLayer's free bandwidth between regions represents a huge cost savings for many businesses and opens up architectures that were technically impossible or financially unattractive."
The U.S. Will Begin to Recognize and Plan for "Technological Unemployment"
Morrow predicts that we'll finally wake up and realize that the "jobless recovery" in the U.S., as well as in the rest of the world, isn't some temporary situation but a long-term change largely due to rapid technology advancement. As he wrote almost four years ago, humans are already unable to compete with computers for many challenging job categories.
"Big data, IoT and the "appification" of everything are fundamentally changing our economies, and we're quickly approaching the day when there simply won't be enough work for everyone," Morrow said. "Five, seven, nine percent unemployment are a thing of the past. Ten, 20, 30 and maybe even 50 percent unemployment could well be seen in our lifetimes, as more capable technology begins making more job categories obsolete. As countries like Switzerland have done, we will have to begin having serious political discussions about concepts like basic income.
IoT Emerging as the Hottest Technology
So, what will be the hottest technology of 2015? If you thought 3-D printing, wearables or drones, Morrow thinks you're off the mark.
"2014 saw a few IoT offerings, mainly centered around home security/automation, automotive and fitness (in the consumer sector), and industrial automation in the business sector (have a look at what GE is doing with trains). As the networks, protocols and interoperability improve and overall consumer awareness grows, expect to see more devices helping us maintain personal health, be even more connected and increase home automation. From refrigerators to socks, our 'connected lives' will continue to expand."