It seems that PC market seems to be stabilizing in 2016. I expect that the PC market to shrinks slightly. While mobile devices have been named as culprits for the fall of PC shipments, IDC said that other factors may be in play. It is still pretty hard to make any decent profits with building PC hardware unless you are one of the biggest players – so again Lenovo, HP, and Dell are increasing their collective dominance of the PC market like they did in 2015. I expect changes like spin-offs and maybe some mergers with with smaller players like Fujitsu, Toshiba and Sony. The EMEA server market looks to be a two-horse race between Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell, according to Gartner. HPE, Dell and Cisco “all benefited” from Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s EMEA x86 server organisation.
Tablet market is no longer high grow market – tablet maker has started to decline, and decline continues in 2016 as owners are holding onto their existing devices for more than 3 years. iPad sales are set to continue decline and iPad Air 3 to be released in 1st half of 2016 does not change that. IDC predicts that detachable tablet market set for growth in 2016 as more people are turning to hybrid devices. Two-in-one tablets have been popularized by offerings like the Microsoft Surface, with options ranging dramatically in price and specs. I am not myself convinced that the growth will be as IDC forecasts, even though Company have started to make purchases of tablets for workers in jobs such as retail sales or field work (Apple iPads, Windows and Android tablets managed by company). Combined volume shipments of PCs, tablets and smartphones are expected to increase only in the single digits.
All your consumer tech gear should be cheaper come July as shere will be less import tariffs for IT products as World Trade Organization (WTO) deal agrees that tariffs on imports of consumer electronics will be phased out over 7 years starting in July 2016. The agreement affects around 10 percent of the world trade in information and communications technology products and will eliminate around $50 billion in tariffs annually.
In 2015 the storage was rocked to its foundations and those new innovations will be taken into wider use in 2016. The storage market in 2015 went through strategic foundation-shaking turmoil as the external shared disk array storage playbook was torn to shreds: The all-flash data centre idea has definitely taken off as a vision that could be achieved so that primary data is stored in flash with the rest being held in cheap and deep storage. Flash drives generally solve the dusk drive latency access problem, so not so much need for hybrid drives. There is conviction that storage should be located as close to servers as possible (virtual SANs, hyper-converged industry appliances and NVMe fabrics). The existing hybrid cloud concept was adopted/supported by everybody. Flash started out in 2-bits/cell MLC form and this rapidly became standard and TLC (3-bits/cell or triple layer cell) had started appearing. Industry-standard NVMe drivers for PCIe flash cards appeared. Intel and Micron blew non-volatile memory preconceptions out of the water in the second half of the year with their joint 3D XPoint memory announcement. Boring old disk disk tech got shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and helium-filled drive technology; drive industry is focused on capacity-optimizing its drives. We got key:value store disk drives with an Ethernet NIC on-board and basic GET and PUT object storage facilities came into being. Tape industry developed a 15TB LTO-7 format.
The use of SSD will increase and it’s price will drop. SSDs will be in more than 25% of new laptops sold in 2015. SSDs are expected to be in 31% of new consumer laptops in 2016 and more than 40% by 2017. The prices of mainstream consumer SSDs have fallen dramatically every year over the past three years while HDD prices have not changed much. SSD prices will decline to 24 cents per gigabyte in 2016. In 2017 they’re expected to drop to 11-17 cents per gigabyte (means a 1TB SSD on average would retail for $170 or less).
Hard disk sales will decrease, but this technology is not dead. Sales of hard disk drives have been decreasing for several years now (118 million units in the third quarter of 2015), but according to Seagate hard disk drives (HDDs) are set to still stay relevant around for at least 15 years to 20 years. HDDs remain the most popular data storage technology as it is cheapest in terms of per-gigabyte costs. While SSDs are generally getting more affordable, high-capacity solid-state drives are not going to become as inexpensive as hard drives any time soon.
Because all-flash storage systems with homogenous flash media are still too expensive to serve as a solution to for every enterprise application workload, enterprises will increasingly turn to performance optimized storage solutions that use a combination of multiple media types to deliver cost-effective performance. The speed advantage of Fibre Channel over Ethernet has evaporated. Enterprises also start to seek alternatives to snapshots that are simpler and easier to manage, and will allow data and application recovery to a second before the data error or logical corruption occurred.
Local storage and the cloud finally make peace in 2016 as the decision-makers across the industry have now acknowledged the potential for enterprise storage and the cloud to work in tandem. Over 40 percent of data worldwide is expected to live on or move through the cloud by 2020 according to IDC.
Open standards for data center development are now a reality thanks to advances in cloud technology. Facebook’s Open Compute Project has served as the industry’s leader in this regard.This allows more consolidation for those that want that. Consolidation used to refer to companies moving all of their infrastructure to the same facility. However, some experts have begun to question this strategy as the rapid increase in data quantities and apps in the data center have made centralized facilities more difficult to operate than ever before. Server virtualization, more powerful servers and an increasing number of enterprise applications will continue to drive higher IO requirements in the datacenter.
Cloud consolidation starts heavily in 2016: number of options for general infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud services and cloud management software will be much smaller at the end of 2016 than the beginning. The major public cloud providers will gain strength, with Amazon, IBM SoftLayer, and Microsoft capturing a greater share of the business cloud services market. Lock-in is a real concern for cloud users, because PaaS players have the ancient imperative to find ways to tie customers to their platforms and aren’t afraid to use them so advanced users want to establish reliable portability across PaaS products in a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment.
Year 2016 will be harder for legacy IT providers than 2015. In its report, IDC states that “By 2020, More than 30 percent of the IT Vendors Will Not Exist as We Know Them Today.” Many enterprises are turning away from traditional vendors and toward cloud providers. They’re increasingly leveraging open source. In short, they’re becoming software companies. The best companies will build cultures of performance and doing the right thing — and will make data and the processes around it self-service for all their employees. Design Thinking to guide companies who want to change the lives of its customers and employees. 2016 will see a lot more work in trying to manage services that simply aren’t designed to work together or even be managed – for example Whatever-As-A-Service cloud systems to play nicely together with their existing legacy systems. So competent developers are the scarce commodity. Some companies start to see Cloud as a form of outsourcing that is fast burning up inhouse ITops jobs with varying success.
There are still too many old fashioned companies that just can’t understand what digitalization will mean to their business. In 2016, some companies’ boards still think the web is just for brochures and porn and don’t believe their business models can be disrupted. It gets worse for many traditional companies. For example Amazon is a retailer both on the web and increasingly for things like food deliveries. Amazon and other are playing to win. Digital disruption has happened and will continue.
Windows 10 is coming more on 2016. If 2015 was a year of revolution, 2016 promises to be a year of consolidation for Microsoft’s operating system. I expect that Windows 10 adoption in companies starts in 2016. Windows 10 is likely to be a success for the enterprise, but I expect that word from heavyweights like Gartner, Forrester and Spiceworks, suggesting that half of enterprise users plan to switch to Windows 10 in 2016, are more than a bit optimistic. Windows 10 will also be used in China as Microsoft played the game with it better than with Windows 8 that was banned in China.
Windows is now delivered “as a service”, meaning incremental updates with new features as well as security patches, but Microsoft still seems works internally to a schedule of milestone releases. Next up is Redstone, rumoured to arrive around the anniversary of Windows 10, midway through 2016. Also Windows servers will get update in 2016: 2016 should also include the release of Windows Server 2016. Server 2016 includes updates to the Hyper-V virtualisation platform, support for Docker-style containers, and a new cut-down edition called Nano Server.
Windows 10 will get some of the already promised features not delivered in 2015 delivered in 2016. Windows 10 was promised coming to PCs and Mobile devices in 2015 to deliver unified user experience. Continuum is a new, adaptive user experience offered in Windows 10 that optimizes the look and behavior of apps and the Windows shell for the physical form factor and customer’s usage preferences. The promise was same unified interface for PCs, tablets and smart phones – but it was only delivered in 2015 for only PCs and some tablets. Mobile Windows 10 for smart phone is expected to start finally in 2016 – The release of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system may be the last roll of the dice for its struggling mobile platform. Because Microsoft Plan A is to get as many apps and as much activity as it can on Windows on all form factor with Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which enables the same Windows 10 code to run on phone and desktop. Despite a steady inflow of new well-known apps, it remains unclear whether the Universal Windows Platform can maintain momentum with developer. Can Microsoft keep the developer momentum going? I am not sure. In addition there are also plans for tools for porting iOS apps and an Android runtime, so expect also delivery of some or all of the Windows Bridges (iOS, web app, desktop app, Android) announced at the April 2015 Build conference in hope to get more apps to unified Windows 10 app store. Windows 10 does hold out some promise for Windows Phone, but it’s not going to make an enormous difference. Losing the battle for the Web and mobile computing is a brutal loss for Microsoft. When you consider the size of those two markets combined, the desktop market seems like a stagnant backwater.
Older Windows versions will not die in 2016 as fast as Microsoft and security people would like. Expect Windows 7 diehards to continue holding out in 2016 and beyond. And there are still many companies that run their critical systems on Windows XP as “There are some people who don’t have an option to change.” Many times the OS is running in automation and process control systems that run business and mission-critical systems, both in private sector and government enterprises. For example US Navy is using obsolete operating system Microsoft Windows XP to run critical tasks. It all comes down to money and resources, but if someone is obliged to keep something running on an obsolete system, it’s the wrong approach to information security completely.
Virtual reality has grown immensely over the past few years, but 2016 looks like the most important year yet: it will be the first time that consumers can get their hands on a number of powerful headsets for viewing alternate realities in immersive 3-D. Virtual Reality will become the mainstream when Sony, and Samsung Oculus bring consumer products on the market in 2016. Whole virtual reality hype could be rebooted as Early build of final Oculus Rift hardware starts shipping to devs. Maybe HTC‘s and Valve‘s Vive VR headset will suffer in the next few month. Expect a banner year for virtual reality.
GPU and FPGA acceleration will be used in high performance computing widely. Both Intel and AMD have products with CPU and GPU in the same chip, and there is software support for using GPU (learn CUDA and/or OpenCL). Also there are many mobile processors have CPU and GPU on the same chip. FPGAs are circuits that can be baked into a specific application, but can also be reprogrammed later. There was lots of interest in 2015 for using FPGA for accelerating computations as the nest step after GPU, and I expect that the interest will grow even more in 2016. FPGAs are not quite as efficient as a dedicated ASIC, but it’s about as close as you can get without translating the actual source code directly into a circuit. Intel bought Altera (big FPGA company) in 2015 and plans in 2016 to begin selling products with a Xeon chip and an Altera FPGA in a single package – possibly available in early 2016.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning will be talked about a lot in 2016. Neural networks, which have been academic exercises (but little more) for decades, are increasingly becoming mainstream success stories: Heavy (and growing) investment in the technology, which enables the identification of objects in still and video images, words in audio streams, and the like after an initial training phase, comes from the formidable likes of Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others. So-called “deep learning” has been enabled by the combination of the evolution of traditional neural network techniques, the steadily increasing processing “muscle” of CPUs (aided by algorithm acceleration via FPGAs, GPUs, and, more recently, dedicated co-processors), and the steadily decreasing cost of system memory and storage. There were many interesting releases on this in the end of 2015: Facebook Inc. in February, released portions of its Torch software, while Alphabet Inc.’s Google division earlier this month open-sourced parts of its TensorFlow system. Also IBM Turns Up Heat Under Competition in Artificial Intelligence as SystemML would be freely available to share and modify through the Apache Software Foundation. So I expect that the year 2016 will be the year those are tried in practice. I expect that deep learning will be hot in CES 2016. Several respected scientists issued a letter warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) in 2015, but I don’t worry about a rogue AI exterminating mankind. I worry about an inadequate AI being given control over things that it’s not ready for. How machine learning will affect your business? MIT has a good free intro to AI and ML.
Computers, which excel at big data analysis, can help doctors deliver more personalized care. Can machines outperform doctors? Not yet. But in some areas of medicine, they can make the care doctors deliver better. Humans repeatedly fail where computers — or humans behaving a little bit more like computers — can help. Computers excel at searching and combining vastly more data than a human so algorithms can be put to good use in certain areas of medicine. There are also things that can slow down development in 2016: To many patients, the very idea of receiving a medical diagnosis or treatment from a machine is probably off-putting.
Internet of Things (IoT) was talked a lot in 2015, and it will be a hot topics for IT departments in 2016 as well. Many companies will notice that security issues are important in it. The newest wearable technology, smart watches and other smart devices corresponding to the voice commands and interpret the data we produce - it learns from its users, and generate appropriate responses in real time. Interest in Internet of Things (IoT) will as bring interest to real-time business systems: Not only real-time analytics, but real-time everything. This will start in earnest in 2016, but the trend will take years to play out.
Connectivity and networking will be hot. And it is not just about IoT. CES will focus on how connectivity is proliferating everything from cars to homes, realigning diverse markets. The interest will affect job markets: Network jobs are hot; salaries expected to rise in 2016 as wireless network engineers, network admins, and network security pros can expect above-average pay gains.
Linux will stay big in network server marker in 2016. Web server marketplace is one arena where Linux has had the greatest impact. Today, the majority of Web servers are Linux boxes. This includes most of the world’s busiest sites. Linux will also run many parts of out Internet infrastructure that moves the bits from server to the user. Linux will also continue to rule smart phone market as being in the core of Android. New IoT solutions will be moist likely to be built mainly using Linux in many parts of the systems.
Microsoft and Linux are not such enemies that they were few years go. Common sense says that Microsoft and the FOSS movement should be perpetual enemies. It looks like Microsoft is waking up to the fact that Linux is here to stay. Microsoft cannot feasibly wipe it out, so it has to embrace it. Microsoft is already partnering with Linux companies to bring popular distros to its Azure platform. In fact, Microsoft even has gone so far as to create its own Linux distro for its Azure data center.
Web browsers are coming more and more 64 bit as Firefox started 64 bit era on Windows and Google is killing Chrome for 32-bit Linux. At the same time web browsers are loosing old legacy features like NPAPI and Silverlight. Who will miss them? The venerable NPAPI plugins standard, which dates back to the days of Netscape, is now showing its age, and causing more problems than it solves, and will see native support removed by the end of 2016 from Firefox. It was already removed from Google Chrome browsers with very little impact. Biggest issue was lack of support for Microsoft’s Silverlight which brought down several top streaming media sites – but they are actively switching to HTML5 in 2016. I don’t miss Silverlight. Flash will continue to be available owing to its popularity for web video.
SHA-1 will be at least partially retired in 2016. Due to recent research showing that SHA-1 is weaker than previously believed, Mozilla, Microsoft and now Google are all considering bringing the deadline forward by six months to July 1, 2016.
Adobe’s Flash has been under attack from many quarters over security as well as slowing down Web pages. If you wish that Flash would be finally dead in 2016 you might be disappointed. Adobe seems to be trying to kill the name by rebranding trick: Adobe Flash Professional CC is now Adobe Animate CC. In practive it propably does not mean much but Adobe seems to acknowledge the inevitability of an HTML5 world. Adobe wants to remain a leader in interactive tools and the pivot to HTML5 requires new messaging.
Java will still stick around, but Java’s decline as a language will accelerate as new stuff isn’t being written in Java, even if it runs on the JVM. We will not see new Java 9 in 2016 as Oracle’s delayed the release of Java 9 by six months. The register tells that Java 9 delayed until Thursday March 23rd, 2017, just after tea-time.
Containers will rule the world as Docker will continue to develop, gain security features, and add various forms of governance. Until now Docker has been tire-kicking, used in production by the early-adopter crowd only, but it can change when vendors are starting to claim that they can do proper management of big data and container farms.
NoSQL databases will take hold as they be called as “highly scalable” or “cloud-ready.” Expect 2016 to be the year when a lot of big brick-and-mortar companies publicly adopt NoSQL for critical operations. Basically NoSQL could be seem as key:value store, and this idea has also expanded to storage systems: We got key:value store disk drives with an Ethernet NIC on-board and basic GET and PUT object storage facilities came into being.
In the database world Big Data will be still big but it needs to be analyzed in real-time. A typical big data project usually involves some semi-structured data, a bit of unstructured (such as email), and a whole lot of structured data (stuff stored in an RDBMS). The cost of Hadoop on a per-node basis is pretty inconsequential, the cost of understanding all of the schemas, getting them into Hadoop, and structuring them well enough to perform the analytics is still considerable. Remember that you’re not “moving” to Hadoop, you’re adding a downstream repository, so you need to worry on systems integration and latency issues. Apache Spark will also get interest as Spark’s multi-stage in-memory primitives provides more performance for certain applications. Big data brings with it responsibility – Digital consumer confidence must be earned.
IT security continues to be a huge issue in 2016. You might be able to achieve adequate security against hackers and internal threats but every attempt to make systems idiot proof just means the idiots get upgraded. Firms are ever more connected to each other and the general outside world. So in 2016 we will see even more service firms accidentally leaking critical information and a lot more firms having their reputations scorched by incompetence fuelled security screw-ups. Good security people are needed more and more – a joke doing the rounds of ITExecs doing interviews is “if you’re a decent security bod, why do you need to look for a job”
There will still be unexpected single points of failures in big distributed networked system. The cloud behind the silver lining is that Amazon or any other cloud vendor can be as fault tolerant, distributed and well supported as you like, but if a service like Akamai or Cloudflare was to die, you still stop. That’s not a single point of failure in the classical sense but it’s really hard to manage unless you go for full cloud agnosticism – which is costly. This is hard to justify when their failure rate is so low, so the irony is that the reliability of the content delivery networks means fewer businesses work out what to do if they fail. Oh, and no one seems to test their mission-critical data centre properly, because it’s mission critical- So they just over-specify where they can and cross their fingers (= pay twice and get the half the coverage for other vulnerabilities).
For IT start-ups it seems that Silicon Valley’s cash party is coming to an end. Silicon Valley is cooling, not crashing. Valuations are falling. The era of cheap money could be over and valuation expectations are re-calibrating down. The cheap capital party is over. It could mean trouble for weaker startups.