This Is Not a Predictions Article! What’s on the Minds of Your Peers and Tech Leaders for 2022

February 11, 2022 Rita Manachi

You have to make lots of technical, architectural, and organizational choices. Knowing what your peers, analysts, and tech leaders are thinking about can help you make decisions about where and how to invest your time, money, and energy.  

That’s why we’ve compiled this roundup of ideas from tech decision makers, leaders, and analysts to help you focus. You’ll find commentary about things that are probably already on your mind, like what success with Kubernetes looks like, how teams collaborate in a remote-first work environment, and the perennial concerns about security. 

We hope you find this useful, so let us know what you think!  

Let’s start off with this Gartner® Predicts 2022: Modernizing Software Development is Key to Digital Transformation report. It focuses on five areas of software development important for digital business innovation: application architecture, developer experience, development environments, observability, and security. You’ll notice similar themes below. Here are the findings and recommendations that stuck out for us: 

“A shared self-service developer portal enables software development teams to scale and remain agile while still operating to the standard required to protect the organization. 

“Protect development environments from supply chain security threats by securing source code repositories, hardening software delivery pipelines and enforcing access controls.

“By 2025, 75 percent of organizations with platform teams will provide self-service developer portals to improve developer experience and accelerate product innovation. 

“Reduce technical complexity in designing new reactive, event-driven applications by using serverless computing technologies in both the cloud and edge.

“By 2025, 60 percent of new event-driven applications will use serverless computing due to its rapid elasticity, cost agility and low operational overhead. 

“By 2025, 60 percent of organizations will harden their software delivery pipelines to protect against supply chain security attacks.”  

Want more? Download the full report

Now, let’s dig in a few of these topics more deeply with thoughts from VMware technology leaders, peers, and IT practitioners.

Crystallizing Kubernetes for developers

“With the near universal adoption of Kubernetes as the standard for cloud native applications, developers are beginning to gain more experience in the technology. In fact, 65 percent of companies report using Kubernetes in production (up from 59 percent in 2020), according to VMware’s State of Kubernetes 2021 Report. However, deployment and the developer experience with Kubernetes is still challenging. In 2022, we will see a better Kubernetes experience for developers and, in turn, more industry focus on improving the developer experience, allowing for more innovation, flexibility, and increased productivity without the friction and complexity of the past. 

“This will be done through solutions that provide multiple layers of abstraction on top of Kubernetes so that developers can focus on writing code and getting it to production faster, rather than dealing with operational drag. More specifically, an application-aware platform will allow developers to have a superior experience no matter their degree of skill or experience with Kubernetes. Utilizing application-aware platforms allows developers to bring their different workloads, knowing confidently that their applications will be connected to the proper logging and observability systems without much friction. This need for a modular PaaS is evident now more than ever as it is the key that unlocks productivity for DevOps teams. This level of infrastructure abstraction removes the complexity from Kubernetes and the operational toil that has hindered the developer experience, and instead provides developers an easier path to deploy code consistently.”

–Michael Coté, Staff Technologist, VMware Tanzu 

“2022 will be the year of the Kubernetes API server. We will see the emergence of a set of tools that bring the Kubernetes patterns to new domains to solve new problems and change the intersection of development, security, and operations practices. Kubernetes is proven as successful for containerized infrastructure, but the ideas embedded in Kubernetes have applicability more broadly. We will see more and more systems (from build systems to infrastructure management to federated application control planes) leverage the manifest-based model that Kubernetes popularized. This will mean a transition to a manifest-based approach and will mark a shift from imperative DevSecOps practices to the consumption of intent-driven services that apply a declarative approach to management. This will lead to something of an inversion of IT, moving from systems that try to make sense of what is running and provide APIs to change what is running, to systems that consume manifests that represent intended state and then allow for reconciliation of actual state with intended state.

“Domain-specific platforms built on a Kubernetes baseline will emerge as a new norm. We’ll see an increase of specific, niche, and highly opinionated solutions being delivered on a Kubernetes baseline. It is reasonable to assume that enterprise development teams will start to look for best-of-breed experiences to target specific solution domains built on the Kubernetes infrastructure abstraction. This will allow them to tackle challenges in areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), stream-based processing, app integration, and other areas without having to make significant “full stack” investments in platforms.”

–Craig McLuckie, VP R&D, Co-Founder Kubernetes, VMware

Platform teams prove their worth 

“Given the nature of the cloud native landscape, the notion of Kubernetes sprawl is a reality and it will derail your DevOps programs. Platform teams can address Kubernetes sprawl and help you achieve DevOps success at scale. A platform team understands the needs of your application developers and all the infrastructure-providing teams to create platforms suitable for developers’ needs while satisfying all company compliance needs. I like to quote Kelsey Hightower: “Kubernetes is a platform for building platforms.” And the job of such platform teams will be to provide an efficient developer experience on top of Kubernetes in a multi-cloud world. We expect  VMware Tanzu Application Platform to be a building block for such a developer-efficient platform.”

–Juergen Sussner, Tanzu Vanguard; Senior Cloud Platform Engineer & Evangelist, DATEV

“Designing and administering Kubernetes-based platforms will require more than single teams. Infrastructure, platform teams, and developers must all start a dialog together to create efficiencies in how Kubernetes, as a technology, is used. But realize that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Shared Kubernetes clusters will be a thing, dedicated clusters will be a thing, and everything in between. The responsibility of platform design must be shared. But Kubernetes is only a small part of it; this applies to the entire software supply chain, all the layers built on top of the runtime, where the true value lies. But these tool chains themselves will all be Kubernetes-native also.”

–Robert Kloosterhuis, Tanzu Vanguard; Technologist, ITQ

Security enables—rather than hinders—innovation 

Software supply chain security will continue to grow as a critical area of focus for enterprises. We will continue to see significant emphasis on supply chain security as it relates to both the software that companies build for themselves, and the software that they buy from third parties. As a result of this increased sensitivity around supply chain dynamics, we will see some level of consolidation in the open source software (OSS) space as the cumulative cost of hardening a fragmented technology base becomes deeply problematic. This will cause enterprise organizations to be more selective about which OSS projects they consume, will result in a focus on acquiring supply chain capabilities, and will lead to increased emphasis on “shift left” capabilities pushing policy decisions around the use of open source and other dependencies closer to the engineers making those decisions.”

–Craig McLuckie, VP R&D, Co-Founder Kubernetes, VMware

“The number of organizations reporting that half or more of their DevOps workflows include security elements has grown from 52 percent in 2019 to 64 percent in 2020, and to 69 percent in 2021. Organizations are including vulnerability scanning, different types of application security testing, API firewalls, and other security technology into their releases. Going forward, companies will have to enable both DevOps teams and security teams to come together to address challenges and drive success, just as developers and IT operators had to collaborate in the beginning of DevOps. The focus must also be about more than breaking or stopping software builds, as this simply reinforces the idea that security will slow teams down. Instead, by leveraging integration, automation, and abstraction, a productive DevSecOps approach can provide policy and guardrails to ensure secure releases and reduce risk without holding everything up.”
–Jay Lyman, 451 Research, DevOps primer: The past, present and future, December 2021

“Supply chain technologies for building and securing modern apps, and the underlying runtimes they use, are becoming more powerful and more complicated, especially in a multi-cloud operating model. However, culture and corporate inflexibility will be a larger blocker as adoption of tools to secure software supply chains and the path to production grows. Maintaining security standards is a massive challenge, but the trick is to not let those standards stifle innovation. Corporate governance has to grow together with the use of new technologies, and both must be flexible.” 

–Robert Kloosterhuis, Tanzu Vanguard; Technologist, ITQ

Filling the skills gap: Investing in employee growth and low-code/no-code platforms  

“Modern application development practices, Kubernetes, and its ecosystem of tools and technologies, are launching a tidal wave of new required learning that confronts engineers and developers of all stripes. Companies need to invest heavily in building up new skill sets, breaking down their silos, and giving their employees the freedom and time to experiment. And know that no one gets it all right the first time.” 

–Robert Kloosterhuis, Tanzu Vanguard; Technologist, ITQ

“Low-code and no-code platforms will gain more market share, because they decrease the amount of skills needed to create business applications. Therefore, I think that more and more companies will create their own domain-specific low-code platforms, augmented with their own business logic and services.”  

–Juergen Sussner, Tanzu Vanguard; Senior Cloud Platform Engineer & Evangelist, DATEV

Artificial intelligence and machine learning 

“It will never be quite mainstream, but I expect to see more at-scale machine learning, backed by hardware-accelerated Kubernetes clusters and, not entirely unrelated, more elaborate use of SmartNICs/DPUs in server hardware. To leverage these kinds of technologies, containers must be close to, or have low-level access to hardware. I expect more standards around this to emerge and mature.” 

–Robert Kloosterhuis, Tanzu Vanguard; Technologist, ITQ

Future of work 

“The remote work experience has affected many people. For some, it has been a good thing and for others, not so much, based on the area of work. With the pandemic not indicating any slowdown, organizations will need to rethink their software development models and invest in better technologies for collaborative work and pair programming.”

–Subhrajit Palo, Tanzu Vanguard; Solution Architect, Northern Trust

“The future of work will be more asynchronous and will require new types of work management. And it will also require some space for non-work-related team activities. I guess a company's challenge in the future will be about creating an environment where teams can grow together as a team even when they are not colocated. This requires a lot of empathy and listening. In this field, Tanzu Labs can also help because they already have a lot of experience in working together in that sort of model.” 

–Juergen Sussner, Tanzu Vanguard; Senior Cloud Platform Engineer & Evangelist, DATEV

About the Author

Rita Manachi

Rita Manachi is a product marketing manager at VMware Tanzu.

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