As we flip the calendar ahead to 2017, it's time to look forward to the big trends that we believe will shape the next 12 months. These aren't "predictions", but rather an amplification of trends that the OpenShift team has seen emerging in 2016 and we believe will become more mainstream in 2017.
Vertical Industry Collaboration
Whether you're booking travel, interacting with your doctor, or buying an automobile, there is no longer the concept of a "simple, consumer to business transaction". Not only do we expect our buying decisions to be inundated with data (e.g. context, recommendations, options), but we expect them to be more seamlessly integrated with all aspects of the purchasing experience.
For example, my travel experience starts with a search, interacts with recommendations (1000s of them) and concludes with a payment. But it really doesn't stop there. We expect more convenience getting to the airport, maybe via a ride-sharing service. We expect that we'll be notified if weather will cause a delay or require us to pack an extra sweater. We then expect the airport to be a sophisticated technology experience for both the business traveller and vacationing families. Not to mention our expectations for the actual airplane boarding process and flight.
Everyone within an industry segment is being pushed to move faster, create better experiences for customers and partners, and customers are demanding a more tightly integrated "experience". What this all means is independent services, working together through programmatic models, to deliver a better end-user experience. Complex industries mirroring the microservices movement. And it goes well beyond the travel industry. We're already seeing it in Financial Services (Banking, Electronic Payments), Automotive, Education, Retail, and Government Agencies. We expect to see it in even more industries in 2017.
Just as complex supply chains link together business in the physical world, the need for software platforms to interconnect these new sets of services will be just as critical. In the past, I've called it the new ERP and CRM systems. As we're seeing more of our customers in vertical industries lay out their plans for these new interconnections of services, Red Hat OpenShift is well positioned to be that software platform for this next generation of business experiences.
Provisioning Services Across Hybrid Clouds
There is no denying that public cloud services are now mainstream for many companies, whether they are using SaaS applications or leveraging an evolving set of IaaS, Machine Learning, AI and Data services. But the majority of companies still have a large portfolio of applications running on-premises, with estimates ranging from 70-95% of all applications. But as the public cloud becomes more familiar, many companies are shifting from asking "where" to run applications to "how" to run applications across a variety of cloud environments. Red Hat already offers OpenShift Dedicated on both AWS and Google Cloud Platform (with Azure coming soon!), as well as native support for OpenShift running across any IaaS cloud (VMware, OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud). Ansible allows automated provisioning of these resources, Red Hat CloudForms allows companies to manage these combined services (IaaS + PaaS) seamlessly.
But just provisioning the underlying platforms across multiple cloud platforms won't be enough going forward. Companies want more granular control over the services they provision, and they want a standardized, programatic way to do this. OpenShift and Kubernetes provide the enterprise-ready, standardized platform, and the Open Service Broker API will provide access to the dashboard of services across clouds. With the combination of the right platform, and the services abstraction layer, customers will finally have the right combination of openness, choice and granular control for their cloud services.
Get the Pipelines Flowing
For many of our customers, the core problem they are living with is, “We need to build and update software faster.” This is for all types of software – from new applications to existing applications to packaged software that needs to integrate within their business. And they need to do it in a cost-effective manner.
In order to solve this problem, there is typically a recognition that it will require a mix of people + cultural changes that are identified as “DevOps” (examples: here, here, here), and technology changes that embrace frequent changes and automation of common tasks (testing, deployments, etc.). We are seeing our OpenShift partners, such as GitLab, do incredible work to integrate advanced CI/CD capabilities into the platform.
While it’s not unusual for customers to already have some form of testing system in place, we frequently see them recognize that Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines are a scalable application that could benefit from the functionality embedded in OpenShift (on-demand resources, scale-out resources, etc.). This is why we have embedded CI pipelines (e.g. Jenkins) into OpenShift to improve the application build/test/deploy process. Pipelines will help companies better manage the scalability needs of CI, as well as provide greater visibility of builds to DevOps teams and tighter integration to OpenShift for deploying applications across the lifecycle.
Containers Reduce Costs Beyond VMs
Ever since Linux containers started getting headlines, there was a strong pushback that containers and VMs served very different purposes and that containers should only be used for new, cloud-native applications. Red Hat OpenShift customers have been taking a very different approach. Since containers are a core element of the modern Linux kernel, we have seen customers push to move virtualized applications running on RHEL, to RHEL or RHEL Atomic containers with great success. Not only does OpenShift eliminate many of their concerns about security and scalability of containers, but it also reduces the need for add-on costs like self-service portals, operations managers and other automation capabilities. When all of the business value of OpenShift is added together, time to return is short and ROI is significant .
Customers are All-In on Cloud Decisions
For the past decade, companies have been experimenting and educating themselves about public cloud services. They wanted to understand how technology standards would evolve, how pricing models would change, and how to manage security in a borderless environment. At this point, they are now open to leveraging multiple cloud resources in ways that will reshape their business for the next decade. They want hybrid cloud solutions, multi-cloud resources, and options for a broad range of application needs (legacy apps, cloud-native apps, disaster recovery, etc.)
Customers are now making "next decade" architectural decisions. They understand that the underlying technology is going to change and evolve rapidly, but they need to be all-in on evolving their culture, their people skills and their mindset about leveraging software to become a more competitive business.
Kubernetes will Lead the Charge
We've written before about why Red Hat is so committed to Kubernetes as the foundation for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. It was a big bet that Red Hat made in 2014 and it seems to be the overwhelming direction for the industry. With over 1000+ developers contributing to Kubernetes, it now has more than Docker Swarm, Mesos and Cloud Foundry combined. Red Hat is the #1 enterprise contributor to Kubernetes.
Kubernetes is not just a vendor-led community, but rather it has broad support and contributions from cloud providers, vendors and some of the largest end-user customers in the world.
With Kubernetes at the core, OpenShift has been able to build a platform that allows customers to run scalable, secure, enterprise-ready containers for existing applications and new cloud-native frameworks. With this standards-based technology, Red Hat has also been able to quickly containerize it's entire application portfolio. And all of this is being done through an open source community-first, upstream-first model in OpenShift Origin and OpenShift Commons.
Finding OpenShift in 2017
So where can you find Red Hat OpenShift in 2017? For a growing number of customers, it'll be in your data centers and on various public cloud platforms. If you're new to the platform, you can always start at openshift.com for details on the Dedicated and Online platforms or the Container Platform software. You can tweet us @openshift. You can find us at one of many OpenShift roadshows that will be happening around the world in 2017 (more dates coming soon!). We'll be at the CNCF Roadshow in February, And of course we'll be at KubeCon in Berlin in March. In addition, we'll be hosting the 2nd OpenShift Commons event just before KubeCon on March 28th in Berlin. In between, we'll be presenting at meetups around the world.
However you find us, we look forward to the opportunity to help you on your digital transformation journey. Here's to a great 2017!