2008 Predictions

Welcome to 2008!   What better way to start a new year than making  some predictions that might or might not happen this year.  

This post was inspired by Jeremy Geelan who asked me to write up some 2008 predictions a couple of months ago (much like I did last year).  Alas, life got in the way (as it tends to do) and I missed the deadline for responding.    Below are the predictions for 2008 that I neglected to send to Jeremy.   Enjoy.


Noted SF author William Gibson has been quoted as saying "The future is here, it's just not widely distributed yet". This implies that a select group of people may already know what the future holds. Are we that group? I leave that to you to decide.

Predicting the future is actually quite easy as long as your predictions do not have to be correct. Most industry pundits predict the future by following some well-known methodologies:

  • Predict events that will originate beyond your expected lifetime – this way no one can confront you if you are wrong (e.g. global warming catastrophes).
  • Predict events that are already a foregone conclusion by making up new terms for existing concepts (Service Oriented Acronym Factory patterns).
  • Make new predictions each year without reviewing the accuracy of any past predictions. Example: “By 2009 computers will disappear and displays will be written directly onto our retinas by devices in our eyeglasses and contact lenses.” (pundit name withheld to avoid embarrassment)

Rather than blather on about how to make predictions allow me to actually make some. Without further delay, here are my Top Ten Predictions for 2008:

  • REST interest grows as capability gaps are filled: REST will continue to gain popularity for broadly consumable, Internet Scale services. Lightweight frameworks will add value to REST by adding support for structured data and eventing, making difficult tasks like pub/sub, discovery and state alignment easier to implement.
  • Devices, not laptops: A device inflection point emerges for portability, power, storage and Internet access. Phones and other lightweight devices begin to replace laptops for highly mobile users.
  • Model-driven everything: Toolswill mature enabling models and metadata repositories to be reliably used across the entire solutions lifecycle: architecting, designing, building, testing, deploying and operations.
  • Internet Scale Solution Operating Systems emerge: Internet Scale Computing will continue to gain attention as products and services in this space continue to mature. Server operating systems with native virtualization support will make it easier to provision and manage resources based upon demand.
  • Real-time Forecasting in the datacenter: The tracking and storage of datacenter events enables the discovery of usage patterns. Usage patterns enables opportunistic forecasting of resource demand. Opportunistic forecasting enables the provisioning of resources in anticipation of expected demand, based upon the associated usage patterns. (For example, an online retailer may define a time-based usage pattern which enables additional resources to be allocated in advance of popular shopping holidays like Christmas.) Usage patterns can also enable the gradual de-allocation of resources as service demands degrade. Opportunistic forecasting enables higher datacenter utilization rates since resources are proactively managed based upon both real-time and historical usage data.
  • Virtualization demystifies and lowers the risks associated with multi-tenancy: Many so-called “architecture astronauts” have been writing about multi-tenancy as if it’s something shiny and new. Multi-tenancy has been around in one form or another for decades. Today multi-tenancy is typically accomplished using one of three possible approaches:
    • Separation with dedicated hardware resources (sometimes called “hybrid tenancy”).
    • Virtualization uses software to create environments with logical boundaries.
    • Design the solution to be multi-tenant aware. This is by far the most difficult to design, build and maintain. Surprisingly this option tends to be the one that gets the most attention. Multi-tenancy isn’t rocket science and shouldn’t require you to expose your applications and organization to needless complexity or risk. As hardware costs continue to fall expect to see more organizations opt for a virtualization approach to enable multi-tenancy capabilities, thereby avoiding the complexities , costs and risks associated with a “multi-tenant aware” solution
  • Aggregator wars: As long as I mentioned architecture astronauts, the “long tail” is another concept they seem to enjoy talking about. One of the facts about the “long tail” that many people seem to overlook is that the big money in the Long Tail is in the aggregation. In other words, if you are not the aggregator of “long tail “ services (be they content, apps or something else) you’re unlikely to make much money.
  • Human interactions in BPM: Specifications like WS-HumanTask and Human Interaction Management will begin to be supported by a variety of tools and platforms.
  • Acronym overload: Buzzword bingo (which includes versioning things that shouldn’t be versioned) will continue to be a disturbing trend in 2008.
  • Pundit Predictions: Starting in November 2008 we’ll see articles predicting things for 2009. Most of these pundits will avoid revisiting their past predictions (you can check my 2007 predictions here).

Here's an extra prediction just for the heck of it:

  • Green everything: Is "Green" worth it?   “Green” is trendy, it makes products cost more and it makes you feel good about yourself – all while having no impact on the global environment whatsoever (positive or negative).   Despite these facts "Green" is big business (it generates lots of "other" green) so expect to see more and more products released as special (more expensive) "green" versions in 2008.

Update: The Java Developer's Journal with the 2008 predictions just came out (a PDF version is available for download).

Yet Another Update: Jeremy was still kind enough to run this over at SYS-CON even though I was so horribly late in getting it to him.