2020: Expect more from containers, open source and cloud

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Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems
Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems

2020 is the year in which open source will become even more fundamental to the success of companies as they move to become fully-fledged, digitally-led businesses; proprietary software will lose relevance; companies will increasingly turn to the cloud to deliver value and capitalise on growth opportunities; and containers will finally become mainstream.

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Those are just some of the predictions from Muggie van Staden, MD of open source technology and services provider Obsidian Systems, who says that although containers came to the fore a decade ago, the technology, which gave rise to Kubernetes – “one of the most significant open source projects in the world” – is still regarded as relatively new and unknown.

He points out that containers provide the delivery mechanism needed to provide the real-time responsiveness to queries, product customisation, and personalised experiences demanded by today’s customers.

“By leveraging microservices and a containerised approach to development, companies can quickly transform their legacy environments into more advanced, agile ones, with container technology allowing projects that target specific problem areas within the organisation to be undertaken quicker than ever before.

“In fact, containers are changing how applications are structured to reflect a more agile and smarter market,” he explains.

Van Staden therefore anticipates that demand for containers and microservices which began to accelerate in 2019 will result in their becoming among the most quickly adopted enterprise software development technologies in the market.

He also believes that the new decade will herald unprecedented growth when it comes to companies not only becoming container-led but also cloud-native - ready to benefit even more from a cloud-centric (and open) landscape.

“South African businesses are having more serious discussions around multi-cloud and hybrid cloud implementations. Throughout this, an open approach, relying on an agile approach through containers, gives organisations the impetus they need to be digital-first,” he says.

Open standards

While technologies like artificial intelligence, automation, and machine-learning might be the flavour of the moment, none of this would matter without open standards, notes Van Staden. Open standards are essential to provide companies with the means to more readily link their data sources to real-time analytical models that result in business growth.

“The next decade is going to present even more opportunities for growth on-premises and in the cloud. Just how effective an organisation will be in managing this will depend on its ability to embrace an open environment,” he adds.

In addition, while AI, ML and automation will become increasingly vital tools within any organisation, effective use of these sophisticated technologies will demand that companies are able to leverage the computational resources available through the cloud.

However South Africa still has many challenges to overcome when it comes to technology adoption. Skills development remains an area of concern, with too few programmes available to address this.

“With technology evolving at such a rapid rate, organisations must do more to ensure staff are upskilled and reskilled to meet the demands of the digital future. Yes, DevOps skills will be an essential element of this. But this also needs to be married with the strategic business insight required to make it fit effectively into operations,” he concludes.

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