5 min read

It’s an exciting time if you work in operations and software infrastructure. Indeed, you could even say that as the pace of change and innovation increases, your role only becomes more important. Operations and systems engineers, solution architects, everyone – you’re jobs are all about bringing stability, order and control into what can sometimes feel like chaos.

As anyone that’s been working in the industry knows, managing change, from a personal perspective, requires a lot of effort. To keep on top of what’s happening in the industry – what tools are being released and updated, what approaches are gaining traction – you need to have one eye on the future and the wider industry.

To help you with that challenge and get you ready for 2020, we’ve put together a list of what’s new for 2020 – and what you should start learning.

Learn how to make Kubernetes work for you

It goes without saying that Kubernetes was huge in 2019. But there are plenty of murmurs and grumblings that it’s too complicated and adds an additional burden for engineering and operations teams. To a certain extent there’s some truth in this – and arguably now would be a good time to accept that just because it seems like everyone is using Kubernetes, it doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for you.

However, having said that, 2020 will be all about understanding how to make Kubernetes relevant to you. This doesn’t mean you should just drop the way you work and start using Kubernetes, but it does mean that spending some time with the platform and getting a better sense of how it could be used in the future is a useful way to spend your learning time in 2020.

Explore Packt’s extensive range of Kubernetes eBooks and videos on the Packt store.

Learn how to architect

If software has eaten the world, then by the same token perhaps complexity has well and truly eaten software as we know it. Indeed, Kubernetes is arguably just one of the symptoms and causes of this complexity.

Another is the growing demand for architects in engineering and IT teams. There are a number of different ‘architecture’ job roles circulating across the industry, from solutions architect to application architect. While they each have their own subtle differences, and will even vary from company to company, they’re all roles that are about organizing and managing different pieces into something that is both stable and value-driving.

Cloud has been particularly instrumental in making architect roles more prominent in the industry. As organizations look to resist the pitfalls of lock-in and better manage resources (financial and otherwise), it will be down to architects to balance business and technology concerns carefully.

Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions book cover

Learn how to architect cloud native applications. Read Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions.

Get to grips with everything you need to know to be a software architect. Pick up Software Architect’s Handbook.

Artificial intelligence

It’s strange that the hype around AI doesn’t seem to have reached the world of ops. Perhaps this is because the area is more resistant to the spin that comes with AI, preferring instead to focus more on the technical capabilities of tools and platforms.

Whatever the case, it’s nevertheless true that AI will play an important part in how we manage and secure infrastructure. From monitoring system health, to automating infrastructure deployments and configuration, and even identifying security threats, artificial intelligence is already an important component for operations engineers and others.

Indeed, artificial intelligence is being embedded inside products and platforms that ops teams are using – this means the need to ‘learn’ artificial intelligence is somewhat reduced. But it would be wrong to think it’s something that can just be managed from a dashboard. In 2020 it will be essential to better understand where and how artificial intelligence can fit into your operations and architectural toolchain.

Find artificial intelligence eBooks and videos in Packt’s collection of curated data science bundles.

Observability, monitoring, tracing, and logging

One of the challenges of software complexity is understanding exactly what’s going on under the hood. Yes, the network might be unreliable, as the saying goes, but what makes things even worse is that we’re not even sure why.

This is where observability and the next generation of monitoring, logging and tracing all come into play. Having detailed insights into how applications and infrastructures are performing, how resources are being managed, and what things are actually causing problems is vitally important from a team perspective. Without the ability to understand these things, it can put pressure on teams as knowledge becomes siloed inside the brains of specific engineers. It makes you vulnerable to failure as you start to have points of failure at a personnel level.

There are, of course, a wide range of tools and products available that can make monitoring and tracing easy (or easier, at least). But understanding which ones are right for your needs still requires some time learning and exploring the options out there. Make sure you do exactly that in 2020.

Centralized Logging and Monitoring with Kubernetes [Video] cover image

Learn how to monitor distributed systems with Learn Centralized Logging and Monitoring with Kubernetes.

Making serverless a reality

We’ve talked about serverless a lot this year. But as a concept there’s still considerable confusion about what role it should play in modern DevOps processes. Indeed, even the nomenclature is a little confusing. Platforms using their own terminology, such as ‘lambdas’ and ‘functions’, only adds to the sense that serverless is something amorphous and hard to pin down.

So, in 2020, we need to work out how to make serverless work for us. Just as we need to consider how Kubernetes might be relevant to our needs, we need to consider in what ways serverless represents both a technical and business opportunity.

Search Packt’s library for the latest serverless eBooks and videos.

Explore more technology eBooks and videos on the Packt store.

Co-editor of the Packt Hub. Interested in politics, tech culture, and how software and business are changing each other.