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SUSE's key software trends for 2018

Linux vendor SUSE outlined the key trends it sees for software in 2018, with open source and containers leading the way.

Peter Lees, chief technologist, SUSE Asia Pacific, says the cloud has grown up, open source continues to innovate, and containers, management and instrumentation are the big things developers should be looking at this year.

Lees outlines his five trends:

1. The cloud grows up and settles in

Public and private cloud computing are both well established. The cloud has proven itself and is entering the mainstream for regular organisations that might not traditionally be thought of us “IT-driven".

In turn, this means increased mainstream adoption of operational techniques will be needed to effectively manage these environments. The new regime is automation, policy-driven deployment and streamlined procedures.

“Old-style IT systems will remain, but organisations will increasingly look to integrate these systems as much as possible with a new, flexible approach and new deployments will follow a ‘cloud first’ approach,” Lees says. “This also means that business processes, such as approvals and change management must adapt and develop to match and enable the agility of the infrastructure.”

2. Everything is software

The increased flexibility both provided and demanded by cloud-style IT operations can only be effectively realised through software, leading to “infrastructure as code” increasing defining the way all aspects of the infrastructure layer is managed.

“The base layer of infrastructure abstraction will move up from the operating system and into the network, and the economies of scale of commodity hardware will continue to attract organisations away from closed, niche solutions,” Lees states.

“Enterprise data storage will increasingly be driven by software-defined solutions since organisations can no longer afford to manage all of their exponentially-increasing capacity requirements with proprietary systems. Scale-out software-defined storage technologies based on flexible, commodity-priced underlying hardware will become a larger proportion of the low-performance storage capacity, with high-performance proprietary systems pushed into smaller, niche workloads.”

3. Software comes in containers

With increasing need for flexibility and rapid time-to-market, containers will be increasingly adopted as a deployment platform.

“As containers increase in maturity we will see commercial software increasingly delivered with this model,” Lees says.

“Containers increase the ability of developers and systems administrators to abstract the underlying platform, feeding back into the ‘infrastructure as code’ concept for all but the most fundamental layers of IT.”

4. Management and Instrumentation is the new focus

As infrastructure becomes more flexible and configurable, the ability for organisations to have a complete view of their systems is increasingly tested.

Vendors will need to differentiate themselves by providing insights into complex interrelated systems, and providing robust — yet accessible — tools to tune existing workloads and integrate new ones.

5. Open source continues to lead innovation

“It is almost a foregone conclusion all new innovation will have an open source component,” Lees says. “There are no remaining vendors that can dictate an entire corner of the enterprise IT industry. The glory days of IBM and even Microsoft are over and both these vendors and the new Goliaths such as Google and Facebook make enormous use of — and contributions to — open source code in their own systems and products.”

As a result, Lees states organisations must increasingly keep an eye on open source projects to see where innovations are moving, and where new developments can and should be integrated into their own systems.

“The increased use of open source in enterprise technology, as well as the increased need for agility and speed, necessitates more active integration work within an organisation to get the best result.”

However, “not all enterprises have this kind of expertise on hand, and so these organisations must look for open source technology partners”, he states. These organisations will need to help navigate the difference between “interesting” and “production-ready” projects,  and be flexible and adaptable with the components the enterprise needs to integrate.



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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.