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2021 Predictions By Chip Childers, Executive Director of Cloud Foundry


Here are four predictions by Chip Childers, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

  • Cloud-Native software starts arriving at the edge locations, thanks to Kubernetes becoming smaller.
  • Digitization of businesses becomes standard practice
  • Developers start leveraging machine learning for increased productivity and
  • Smart home technologies becoming really smart. 

Here is the edited copy of the discussion.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, it’s the end of the year. We don’t hold the crystal ball in our hands. But still, we can talk about what things will look like. So today we have with us Chip Childers, Executive Director of Cloud Foundry Foundation. Chip, first of all, tell us what is Cloud Foundry foundation, if you look at it today?

Chip Childers: The Cloud Foundry foundation is the home to the open source Cloud Foundry software projects, which are a series of projects that aim to make it easy to do software development on top of Kubernetes based infrastructure.

Swapnil Bhartiya: What are your predictions for 2021?

Chip Childers: Yeah, so you know, every time we get to this time of year, sort of predictions, articles, start doing their rounds. I’m here to do my part and, and say that, there are really three predictions that I’ve got that are appropriately tied to what the Cloud Foundry community focuses on, and some areas that are tangential to it.

Cloud Native at edge computing locations

The first one is that the cloud native movement has been very focused on how to help organizations develop software more efficiently. And in particular, how to increase the speed of the loop between code production, software running and then getting the feedback back and adjusting the software. What I think is really going to start happening in 2021, at a much higher rate than it has been over the last several years, and it’s been picking up steam, is we are going to see cloud native development patterns, and cloud native software start arriving at edge computing locations.

Kubernetes is becoming smaller, or at least their distributions that have decreased the form factor. And then it’s presenting an opportunity for a consistent infrastructure API, whether you’re talking about data centers, public clouds, or edge computing locations, and kind of that last one is where we’re going to see a lot of forward momentum.

Digitization of business

The second is that digitization of business is not just here to stay but it’s now the de facto way that we want to interact with businesses, as consumers and how we want to interact with our partners and vendors. You know, when we’re a business, the pandemic clearly shifted us from a “it would be nice if we went through a digital transformation, it would be nice we digitized our business motive of operations for a lot of organizations, to one of it really being this existential issue.

If you didn’t respond quickly enough, if you didn’t come up with alternative ways to serve your customers, to interact with his customers, you were very likely to have gone out of business over the last several months. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also a permanent change.

So in 2021, even as we emerge from this pandemic, hopefully, I really believe that there have been some fundamental shifts in consumer expectations and in business-to-business-interaction expectations that are never going to leave us.

Machine learning and developer productivity

The third is around the machine learning space. Machine learning has been picking up steam. Over the last several years, there have been a lot of open-source projects.  A lot of public cloud providers have started offering machine learning capabilities.

What we’ve seen with most emergent technologies, as they reach the point where they could potentially achieve critical mass, the most important thing to occur is that they become more accessible to the average developer. And when I say average, I don’t mean average in a negative way. I mean to the masses of developers, the Java developers, the .NET developers that are all over the world, in all kinds of different organizations.

Developer productivity and making it easy for a developer to interact with machine learning models, to create machine learning models, to perhaps even take advantage of machine learning models that have been prebuilt for you in your code, is what’s going to take machine learning from a hot topic to this to a pervasive technology that actually improves the software that we deliver.

Smart Home technologies will actually become smart

Those are the three predictions I have  that are tied to the enterprise. But we’re talking to you from home, you’re recording at home, and I would say we’re all spending a lot more time at home. One of the things that at least for those of us that are privileged enough to be able to do our work from home are doing is we’re spending a lot more time with home technologies.

Behind me, I have a projector set up in my living room to show our movies, because that’s how we do movie night now. I’ve always been interested in what was termed Smart Home technologies. The thing is, if you’ve ever used any of the smart home devices, they are, I’d say both historically, and still today, not particularly smart. But a lot of the building blocks are now out in the market. And you can see the industry is starting to realize that the connectedness of these devices needs to be more than basic automation. I think that we’ll see, in 2021, a dramatic improvement in the likelihood that your, “smart home devices are actually going to be smart”, are actually going to respond to what you need, hopefully, in a positive way, predictively. But more importantly, it’ll become much more akin to an ambient computing experience where you may not need to go yell at a voice assistant to get the lights to turn on.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Let’s talk about from the perspective of Cloud Foundry. What will be the focus of Cloud Foundry Foundation in 2021?

Chip Childers: Our community has gone through a number of changes over the years. But most importantly, 2020 was the year where our whole community and ecosystem embraced the new mission of focusing on Kubernetes as the infrastructure abstraction that we needed to get a great developer experience built on top of.

Next year, it’s really about reintroducing the technology as a tool that small teams, small organizations, as well as large scale multi-tenant providers can take advantage of, to stop worrying about infrastructure, to focus on the code that you’re trying to use to solve a business problem and make it much easier to iterate faster. So that’s our focus. We’re really trying to reintroduce a battle proven technology that sort of embraced a new form factor and it has a lot of potential to show up in new places.