My predictions for 2016

Now that I see more and more people posting their predictions for 2016, I can’t be left behind 😉
So here are a few of my predictions, mainly data center and PowerShell focused.
Please note that all of this is based on my personal opinions and believes.

User Interface
I feel this is an evolution that started somewhere end ’80 and/or early ’90.
Based on the usage, and the technological capabilities, a UI evolves.
First we had a UI, but it was a command prompt. They a Graphical User Interface was introduces.
They we started to ‘group’ options together in a menu and later we had icons representing options.
Then we started grouping those icons together.
However, they were all mouse-optimized and not ready for a touch interface.
Then the mobile phone and tabled came along which were optimized for control through the human fingers.
This required a new way of thinking, and this has resulted in the UI we now all now.
You can love it, you can hate it, but it’s a logical evolution.
The moment a new way of control is introduced (eye-optimized, mental control, a combination of multiple controls or even something totally different)
Devices get more power, technologies get more capabilities and entire new areas in the industry are discovered and a market is created for it.
Tables are a great example for this. Although the first tablets had computing power, they were no match for a desktop in that perspective.
However, they did speed-up the process on how we think about a user interface.
And this is where 2016 comes into play. I think that this year we’ll see multiple emerging technologies that will require us to re-think (parts) of the UI.
Were it is my personal believe that a combination of multiple controls will be the future.
But… only time will tell 😉

Microsoft trying to change the industry
“Cloud-first, Mobile-first” is a phrase you’ve must have seen or heard by now. For the purpose of this post I’ll try and focus on the cloud-part of that phrase.
I truly believe that this is a required change, but I also think that vendors are grossly underestimating how slow governments move.
A person is in general slow to change, a group of people slower, a company with both people and policies even slower.
Just imagine how slow a country changes, which control legislation and laws. And now take it to a global level… Sluggish wouldn’t even begin to describe that!
I strongly feel that Microsoft’s proposition with their hybrid cloud solution is the future, but only if you’re able to, very granularly and specifically, define what data is allowed in the cloud and what is not and must always stay on-premise.
Some technologies offer this functionality already but since it’s part of that specific technology, with its own implementation that facilitates binding of data to a physical area, there can never be a good and unified way of managing this.
So only when a technology would come along that facilitates that and is an industry standard, or at least implemented the same way over the entire Microsoft stack, a hybrid cloud solution would be future proof in that perspective.

Nano Server
A server where all the fluff is removed. I’ve been screaming for this (and not only me) )since early 2009 and finally we have it!
Less deployment time, less patches, less attack surface, less resource usage… pick your marketing phrase.
This is where I get all happy and bouncy about and I think that companies getting on the Nano-boat will greatly benefit from it, at least from an infrastructure perspective.
Yes, management is mainly done through PowerShell and/or Desired State Configuration. But don’t forget that many remote administration tools will also still work 🙂
Don’t fear Nano, embrace it and own it.

I have no clue where this is going, all I know is that this is going to be big… very big.
However, without clear and concrete guidance I think this will not be embraced the way it could.
I feat that Microsoft will position the community to do this, provide the guidance… and I feel that would be wrong.
Vendors should always provide guidance to their users when it comes to using their products.
When they enable a community to take that guidance to a new level, learn from them and let the guidance evolve from that learning experience, you’ve got a continuous evolving process based on the creator of the product(s), their users and of course the community around it.
This is an ideal situation where all parties should strive towards.

The DevOps movement is also a logical part of the evolution, however…
Like I wrote before, people are slow to change. And when I look at the fast pace Microsoft is taking, I think they will encounter a huge brick wall that’s called ‘the industry’.
People can handle change when they are given the time to adapt. So giving them changes step by step, with for example monthly releases with new features, they can adopt and adapt to those new things.
However, I feel that the industry is changing so fast, many Windows-oriented admins will not be able to cope.
The fact that I have a scripting background greatly enhances my capabilities to adopt the DevOps movement, but also I’m struggling.
When I look at the basic next-next-finish admin, they’re just completely lost with the changes and products coming out.

So, my prediction is that there will be a product, method or some other solution that will facilitate these people making the change to a DevOps world.
For me, DevOps starts with people and not technology. Although the technology is required to facilitate a DevOps world, it is only a facilitator and nothing more.
People, that’s what DevOps is all about.

Continuous ***
Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, Continuous Development, Continuous Delivery… take your pick of a phrase that starts with Continuous 😉
Looking at the industry I strongly feel that it’s not ready for this change… or at least, the Windows based companies aren’t.
They will need guidance in moving towards this way of working.
To me, it starts with the following items, in that specific order:

  1. Standardization.
  2. Automation.
  3. Automation test (including lint tests (if code is used)/ unit tests / functional tests / user experience tests)).
  4. Orchestration based on those tests.
  5. A Development/Test/Acceptation/Production street.
  6. Continuous ***

Yes, there are some flavors in between; This is a simplified list.
Many companies are just starting with item 2, if that, while managers give the order to start working on item 4. This is where I see many companies fail, yet some don’t understand why.
Look at it as the Great Pyramid. When support stone would even be an inch out of alignment, the integrity of the entire pyramid would be compromised.
Just imagine that stone not being there in the first place, or to vanish in the fraction of a second or even more humorous, to be replaced by a 2-2 inch lego block…
Note that I’ve put the items in this order since I strongly believe that you can’t get to 2 without succeeding in 1 first.
You can’t get to 4 without succeeding in 1, 2 and 3 first…

Internet of Things
Why didn’t you mention this? Isn’t that the next big thing?
Well, sure. I think this will be a great and very important thing in 2016.
It’s just not (yet?) related my specific focus area so I’m not touching that one 😉

I hope that I’ve given you some food for thought.
You may agree with me, you may disagree… time will tell.
In any way, I think that 2016 will be a marvelous year 🙂

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