5 things that will matter in software systems and infrastructure in 2018

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Perhaps some of the biggest shifts in software in 2017 have come in software systems and infrastructure. Today we’re living in a world where infrastructure is more than just a ‘thing’ that exists to allow businesses to run – it’s now business critical, something that can change and be a driving force for change. It defines the way all software engineers and other tech professionals work – in terms of both the projects they’re working on, the resources at their disposal, and how they go about building things. That means there’s a wealth of opportunity to make a lasting business impact in 2018.

So, if you’re working in systems and infrastructure, what is going to be important in 2018? What should you be paying attention to, discussing, exploring? Here’s our list of 5 things that will matter…

1. Serverless architecture

2018 will be the year that serverless becomes a serious trend. It’s already a hot issue in more adventurous organizations, but we’re likely to see things mature and for serverless to become more visible than it ever has been. The key advantages of serverless tell you a lot about how companies are thinking – it saves money, and offers enhanced scalability. It also speeds things up – as microservices become the dominant architectural mode, with APIs defining the way applications are built, you’re no longer simply interested in what your own server is doing – you’re interested in how the services you need are performing. There’s more value in opening up, not closing yourself off and going it alone.

2. Container orchestration

Containers have truly caught the imagination of the software world. They’ve helped to alter how we build and deploy software, and have undoubtedly played an important part in driving forward trends like serverless and DevOps. But in 2018, what’s going to be key is getting containers under control. Tools like Kubernetes will make this possible – but ultimately the issue of orchestration presents another tooling question that will force engineering teams to think carefully about what’s right for them and the way they work. Fundamentally, the importance of container orchestration in 2018 underlines the maturity of containerization over the last half a decade.

3. Taking advantage of system automation

Your work is never done. There’s always something else that needs to be built, something that needs to be tested or changed. And as efficiency becomes more and  more important with system administration and architect roles under more pressure to deliver, taking full advantage of system automation is going to be essential in 2018. Ansible will be the key tool here – it’s already hugely popular, and it’s popularity is likely to increase over the next 12 months. Ultimately what system automation offers is a way for engineers to make time – by minimizing the work needed to perform basic tasks, they can instead focus on what’s going to make an impact.

4. Shrinking budgets

Shrinking budgets are going to have a big impact on just about every facet of an organization’s software systems and architecture. It’s perhaps the fundamental element driving everything else, from serverless to automation. The pressure will be on, then, to focus resources where it really matters.

5. Making DevOps work

We’ve spent years talking about DevOps, but it’s still proving a challenge for many organizations when it comes to implementation. In 2018, however, it’s going to be critical. The time for discussing and arguing what it means is over – instead, it’s going to be down to sharp and ambitious engineers, project leads, Scrum Masters – whoever – to bring people in and show them how DevOps can really improve the way software is managed within businesses.

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