Before Thanksgiving, as is my tradition, I gave you things to worry about next year. Now sit back, relax, and read about what you don’t need to worry about.
1. Cloud eating the world (yet)
The price is still often too high for predictable, critical apps. There are still entrenched pieces of IT infrastructure that aren’t cloud-friendly. There are still entrenched people in IT that are hoping to drag their feet. We’ll get there eventually, but I wouldn’t cut up your HP or Lenovo credit account yet.
2. Dell/EMC doing anything anyone cares about
They’re selling off bits of themselves already (or de-merging their past failed mergers, if you prefer). Read down their catalog and they start to look like HP, a landing zone for technology that people used to care about but will replace if it gets much more expensive. Their initiatives all look like the same thing all the other big vendors are doing. They’re even moving their conference from the Silicon Prairie to Vegas ... where IBM holds its big events. With such inspiring leadership, I’d probably watch "Halt and Catch Fire" season one and remember the good old days when their ancestor companies were the insurgents.
3. IBM’s Watson going away
Although IBM risks diluting the Watson brand as it gets stamped on everything, the various Watson technologies are pretty cool. Maybe the Watson portfolio doesn’t fit into a cohesive strategy that customers understand, but hey, much of this stuff is cutting-edge. This isn’t the Big Blue of old that trailed everyone with an “IBM version” -- it's the first time I’ve seen the company out in front. (Disclosure: I work for Lucidworks, which uses a Watson product for various language features)
Before Thanksgiving, I explained the flip side: Worry about Oracle buying something you actually use. But other than that? Oracle RDBMS is the Novell Netware of the future. Oracle is the Novell of the future. Who cares what it's doing? Ask a VC what it’d do if a startup company pitched Oracle’s management structure of “dual CEOs” with an evil uncle behind the curtain. Forget the funding. A bit later and it's hiding Safra Catz in the trunk.
Hurd is on a shopping spree, and the less sycophantic analysts are either confused about what Oracle is doing or, like most of us, have stopped paying attention. Oracle will be fine so long as you keep writing PL/SQL and paying for that site license.
I know Oracle Database hasn’t really kept up with the times and is a maintenance nightmare, but isn’t it time to raise prices? I mean, with roughly $47,000 as the base price for the standard product, Oracle may feel like it isn’t getting the prestige it deserves. Hey, if you can't keep up with the price of a Mercedes E-Class, why bother being Oracle?
5. Spark going away
Spark is still on fire. Nothing we see in 2017 is likely to change that. If anything, I suspect Spark will get stronger and become even more foundational. (Disclosure: I work for Lucidworks, which has a product called Fusion that is built on Spark.)
My 12-year-old talks a lot about Steam. His friends want Steam gift cards for their birthday, but so do my 30-something friends. Some backlash ensued when they ditched making games to make money. The trick will be how Steam’s publisher, Valve, gets into the VR business once it matures. Being top dog and staying there are two different achievements.
7. Buying a VR headset
Sure, VR headsets are cool, but remember when the first wave of modern HD TVs came out? Does anyone still have one of those, or were they all recalled or replaced six months later? Remember when they were "1080p" but couldn’t handle 1080p broadcasts? Yes, you can expect a lot of cool VR headsets this year, but fundamentally, they remind me of 3D TVs: They'll sell to the current set of people who don’t mind looking stupid with this giant thing that reminds me of an artificial version of a face hugger from "Aliens."
8. Your military-industrial job
If you’re Halliburton, the Bush Administration was great for you. The Obama Administration was OK for you. A bit of a hawk, Clinton would have been fine, but Trump might be a lot better. Oil prices have been hard, but it is time to party like it’s 2003! With the new administration you can expect cuts, but not in defense or in defense-related IT boondoggles.
9. Hybrid cloud/PaaS
I’ve never been convinced this was a real thing. I almost wrote a sequel to my popular 2012 article, "Which freaking PaaS should I use," only focused on hybrid PaaS offerings, but I decided they weren’t real enough yet.
I’m ready to call this one: Docker is the only game in town with a bright future. If we end up with a mature “hybrid cloud” play it will be from this company. Everything else is either marketing wrapped around virtualization or a misadventure that tried to adapt to the container reality later. Sure, your favorite mega vendors will sell you lock-in by another name, but for the most part this is all smoke and mirrors. With all due respect to Eric, his trend didn’t come true.
10. 8K video
This year we're seeing the full mainstreaming of 4K TVs and video. Hell, my phone isn’t new, and it has a 4K screen. Sure, you can buy 8K if you have $100,000 burning a hole in your pocket, but you’re probably older if you have that kind of money, and your eyes probably can’t tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, let alone 1080p and 4K. We’re probably further away from 4K obsolescence than the time it took to go from 1080p to 4K. Besides, there are great deals to be had on 1080p TVs right now.
Check out last year's "Things you don’t have to worry about" and you'll see I was 10 for 10. So sit back, watch your new 4K TV funded by your fat salary from a defense contract, maybe use your voice to call up a Steam game, and don’t bother with your VR headset for another year. You can be sure that 2017 is going to be ... interesting.