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2023 Will Be the Year of Kubernetes (and Other Predictions in the Cloud and Infrastructure Industry)by@philsautter
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2023 Will Be the Year of Kubernetes (and Other Predictions in the Cloud and Infrastructure Industry)

by Phil SautterJanuary 13th, 2023
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Kubernetes is the great infrastructure equalizer, which is leading to its ubiquity. Today you can find Kubernetes in the cloud, in the data center, in the IT closet, on containerships, and in warplanes. In addition to the standard enterprise use cases, I predict that this year you'll start to see it show up in more consumer tech like home security systems, and maybe even refrigerators and toasters. I mean, who doesn't dream of the day when we can execute kubectl dispense ice?

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Dive into the new year’s top cloud and infra-tech trends, straight from a cloud and infrastructure technology fanatic. If you know me, you know I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about cloud and infrastructure technology – and if you don’t know me, now you do.


Without further adieu, here are the top 10 cloud and infra-tech trends to watch in 2023:


1. Kubernetes Everywhere

Kubernetes is the great infrastructure equalizer, which is leading to its ubiquity. Today you can find Kubernetes in the cloud, in the data center, in the IT closet, on containerships, and in warplanes. In addition to the standard enterprise use cases, I predict that this year you'll start to see it show up in more consumer tech like home security systems, and maybe even refrigerators and toasters. I mean, who doesn't dream of the day when we can execute kubectl dispense ice?


I'm just kidding about that last part, but Kubernetes is finally helping developers and admins achieve the dream of "write once, deploy anywhere," and that's why you'll continue to see strong growth for Kubernetes in 2023.


2. Everything as Code? Yes, Please!

Organizations with high technical maturity will seek to expand on their success with Infrastructure as Code and Configuration as Code with tools like Terraform and Ansible by codifying even more of their stack. Security as Code and Compliance as Code are the next likely targets for these organizations, with offerings already available for them to build on. Look for even more "as Code" solutions, like Observability as Code, for example, to hit the scene this year.


3. The Rise of Environments as a Service

While high technical maturity organizations have reaped the benefits of the "as Code" movement, low technical maturity organizations have largely been left in the dust. Fearing the business impacts that their lack of agility will bring, these companies will seek solutions that enable them to reap the same benefits without the time and personnel investment.  Environments as a Service will be the likely answer for them. Environments as a Service is an abstraction built on top of the "as Code" solutions, enabling the rapid provisioning and easy management of cloud and infrastructure stacks, without exposing the technical complexity needed to use those tools.


4. WebAssembly Gains a Foothold

What started as a new standard to create higher-performance webpages has morphed into a technology that will likely supplant the need for Linux containers in the years to come, but not without a large undertaking. This is the year that we'll start to see some bleeding-edge organizations take WebAssembly into prime time, and others will quickly follow suit. WebAssembly is likely the next major transformation in cloud and infrastructure technology, like hypervisors, cloud, and Kubernetes before it. If this space is your bread and butter, don't sleep on WebAssembly!


5. A Mad Rush to the Edge

Edge computing really started to gain momentum in 2022, with solutions available from all the major cloud providers and many niche players as well. Edge computing brings applications out of the traditional data center or cloud and moves them closer to the end user. This has benefits for companies deploying applications, like reduced bandwidth and increased performance, but more importantly, it can also help them improve their outward-facing security posture and improve their applications' user experience.  That's why we'll see even more companies rush to adopt this tech in 2023.


6. Microsoft Azure Becomes an Even Bigger Threat to AWS

Once a running joke in the cloud arena, Microsoft's Azure has become a real force to reckon with. Azure has made huge strides in its service offerings over the past few years – and, when coupled with the Microsoft sales juggernaut, has led to many companies choosing Azure as their primary cloud platform. Look for Microsoft to capitalize on this momentum with even more compelling service offerings and service improvements in the coming year. If I were projecting a "winner" in the cloud wars over the long term, right now I would say it's going to be Azure, not AWS.


7. Google Cloud ... I'm Sorry

I've long been on the Google Cloud bandwagon. I like the simplicity of their services and their early adoption of Kubernetes (which makes sense, as they invented it). However, as a business Google Cloud isn't doing well. In fact, I'm not even sure they deserve to be in the same discussion as Azure and AWS anymore. Whatever your personal feelings about their offerings, the market is clearly speaking, and it's saying "no" to Google Cloud. If you're a technology decision-maker in your organization and you're actively promoting Google Cloud, I would think critically about how that may impact your own long-term viability.


8. VMware Begins the Slow March of Death

Given VMware's acquisition by Broadcom last year, this should come as little surprise. VMware is now a legacy platform and enterprises will start treating it as such, much like iSeries and Mainframe before it. That's not to say that VMware is going away anytime soon. In the organizations where it exists, it'll likely remain for many years, perhaps even a decade or more to come. However, most companies will start actively divesting from VMware-based infrastructure in 2023. If you're a VMware admin, you're likely to start seeing declining job opportunities and wages in the short and medium term. So unless you're ready to retire, it's time to start specializing in a new area, like cloud or Kubernetes. Kubernetes is in many ways the new VMware and is in critical demand, so I would recommend starting there.


9. AI Enhanced Infrastructure

In 2022 we saw seemingly huge advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Tools like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and ChatGPT have wowed many, and VC firms are pouring money into more tech. I expect that we'll see some crossover into the cloud and infrastructure space in 2023. Probably through enhancing the "as Code" movement, observability, cost optimization, and security.


10. Security is Even More Paramount

I feel like this is true every year, but it needs to be said. I'm constantly dismayed by how cavalier many organizations are about their security. As companies put more and more of their data in the cloud, security becomes even more important. I've heard that data is the new gold, and if you think that's true, then you wouldn't want to leave your gold on the side of the road, you'd want to put it in a Vault. Unfortunately, many organizations today are doing the digital equivalent of leaving it on the side of the road. As hacks and leaks become more pervasive in 2023, I expect more companies will start to take their cloud security seriously, which will mean more tools, more people, and more spending in this area.


Also published here.