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Continuous Chaos: Cloud, Containers, and Security in 2019

We are currently in the midst of a fairly seismic technology shift. The aftershocks of cloud are still shaking the ground of data centers everywhere. Containers continue to eat cloud for lunch - consuming more workloads in both private and public cloud. DevOps has penetrated the protective IT barriers and infiltrated every operational domain, bringing with it new tools and technologies and a list of demands that must be met in order to satiate the market’s appetite for new apps.

That change is set against a constant backdrop of a drum beating to the tune of faster, more frequent, and more efficient delivery and deployment practices. Above the constant beat is the siren’s song of security, reminding us about the growing threat of bots and breaches.

This is the state of the industry today as we race into 2019 and a year that promises to bring even more change. 

(Image: Pixabay)

Container chaos continues

While reports vary on the penetration of containers in production environments, the key takeaway from 2018 is that containers have arrived in production. Use of containers, in general, has crossed the mainstream threshold with more than half of organizations using the technology in one or more environments. While Docker maintains a chokehold on the container runtime market, Kubernetes has claimed the crown of container orchestrator in all its guises.

Which only means more chaos as the ecosystem that supports containerized environments can now move forward on the heels of what appears to be de facto standardization.

You can expect expansion of the container ecosystem to explode in 2019, with new and existing players enhancing and introducing more and more traditional networking and operational capabilities into the environment. We’ll see greater integration and support for containers both on-premises and in the public cloud as the market gears up for the next big shift in architectures to containerized everything.

The ascension of serverless

Serverless, which is still vastly misunderstood, is now firmly entrenched as the belle of the cloud ball. If it can be serverless, it is or soon will be. Cloud providers have been and will continue to enhance their offerings by moving to support the growing use of serverless – a.k.a. Function as a Service – both as an external and internal facing application component. 

While the field of offerings supporting serverless pales in comparison with its cousin containers today, by the end of 2019 we should expect to see greater attention paid to enterprise concerns with respect to the fledgling technology.  

Traditional networking sliding beneath the fold

The disruption of cloud on traditional IT continues unabated as the second wave of cloud’s digital transformation of infrastructure slam into the shores of the data center. Networking professionals will find the tedious tasks of managing network devices port by port slide beneath the proverbial fold as cloud-inspired technologies like SDN push the overlay networking popular in virtual private clouds into the core network.

This will cloudify the traditional routing and switching layers of the network and make the integration of containerized environments less painful a process. The demand for cloud-inspired capabilities in the corporate data center does not stop at layer 2 and 3, however. Network professionals will find their attention focused more firmly on layer 4 through 7 and on automating the higher order services necessary to support DevOps on a per-application basis.

Continuous security

The weaponization of automation will drive the security market toward embracing machine learning and real-time technologies to thwart bad actors. Super smart security capable of identifying bad actors in real time and automatically acting to mitigate the threat will become more common and, more importantly, more accurate.

Automated mitigation in security has always been seen as risky, thanks to the notoriously high false positive rates of traditional technology. But advances in machine learning and the availability of data from multiple sources makes it possible for security to get smarter about identifying and putting a stop to evolving threats in real-time. Expect to see solutions in 2019 that make it feasible to rely more on machines and less on manual inspection in order to identify and defeat bad actors.

In short, expect 2019 to be a year of continual chaos – whether you’re in the public cloud or in the data center.

And with that, I’ll sign off for 2018. Have a great holiday and a happy new year!