I love technology predictions because they are usually so wildly inaccurate that at the end of the year it’s pretty funny. I figure I’ll toss my hat in the ring and see how much fun I can have at the end of this year with a round of predictions for 2014.

SQL Server

More Virtualization: I see the virtualization platforms very much ready for 100% virtualization of the datacenter, and this includes just about every SQL Server I can think of. I see more and more mission-critical SQL Servers will be virtualized successfully this year.

Adoption: I see SQL Server 2012 starting to gain widespread adoption in the industry, just as SQL Server 2014 is released. Availability Groups and SQL Server 2005 approaching its end of support life are the driving force behind the upgrade rush.

Business Intelligence: I see the BI stacks continuing to dominate the headlines, and hope that predictive analytics continue to boom. However, I do question the term ‘big data’, and hope that this buzzword shifts to something a bit more meaningful. And please do not let Microsoft Excel become the new Microsoft Access. Please.

Hekaton: I see SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP (formerly codenamed Hekaton) being an extremely intriguing technology for a lot of business, but see few will migrate in 2014 due to the complexity of updating and certifying custom-built applications for the requirements of the feature. I figure quite a few places will be well underway when 2014 comes to a close, though.

Hekaton’s Side Effects: I see Hekaton’s preference for extremely fast storage to force datacenters to move into solid state drives and/or arrays for their business-critical databases to maximize the benefits of adopting Hekaton. I also see people using Hekaton for purposes that it is not the best or most appropriate approach, and hope that people step back and realize what they are doing.

Same Old: I predict we all will see more of the same old bad code, not-validated backups, and infrastructure bottlenecks that have been so prevalent in the industry for quite some time. I also know that some industries where data performance and integrity matter the most will continue to stay well behind the adoption curve of newer technologies, and I predict at least one big public failure of a major system because of data integrity or supportability issues because of archaic technology. (I really hope I am wrong!)

On-Premise Virtualization

I continue to get more excited about the current and upcoming features being built into both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. The efforts that Microsoft are putting into the Hyper-V platform, the momentum it is carrying in the industry, and the plans for 2014 are quite exceptional. That said, VMware is not sitting around idle, and I expect to see whatever vNext release in 2014 continue to push forward with new and incremental technologies.

Local storage: I see a huge shift in locally-attached enterprise storage once VMware’s Virtual SAN product is released. Hyper-V already has a huge boost in cheap storage performance with SMB 3.0.  I figure Software-Defined Storage is here to stay in 2014 as a major force to be anticipated and explored.

Hypervisor Management Tooling: I hope that Microsoft continues to improve the seams between the major components in System Center. I’d like to see one cross-platform virtualization management tool that really stands out in the UI, the complexity of day-to-day operations, and the ease of maintenance on the tool itself. Right now I just don’t see it. (Even as a type this, I have spent the day trying to get a major virtualization management system installed and configured, but with some struggles and without much success.)

Public & Hybrid Cloud

Outages: I want to see these massive public clouds run for months without some huge outage that knocks out entire continents. I figure we still have a ways to go on this one…

Security: I see the security concerns of public clouds still preventing businesses from putting their production data in the cloud, but feel that adoption of data containers in public clouds for pre-production purposes (with scrubbed data) will become more widespread.

Microsoft Azure: The push that I see behind the Azure platform is absolutely astounding, and I really enjoy the direction this is going. I see the prices continuing to drop and the limits of the platform continuing to improve over the next year.

Hybrid Cloud: I see hybrid cloud technologies, for uses like infrastructure bursts or pre-production migrations, becoming more prolific until it starts to become an assumption in datacenter design. Incorporating hybrid clouds into your existing private cloud will only get easier as time goes on.

Business Technology

I continue to see Microsoft’s Office365 continuing to rock, and will only grow in adoption. Am encouraging people to buy Office Home & Student, too.

I see traditional Value-Added Resellers (VARs) continuing their push to add professional services to their portfolios to help them differentiate and stand out among the crowds. Hardware sales continue to evolve and change in ways that are pushing the margins ever thinner.

I also continue to see a shortage of traditional IT professional’s time being dedicated to keeping up, for any number of reasons. However, these technologies are moving at lighting speed, and I feel the demand for the specialty skills will only continue to grow. That’s where people like myself and the other consultants in our widespread industries come in. We help drive technology so that it no longer is treated like a cost center. It starts to become part of the strategic business contributor, and moves its way into the profit center. Bring us in to help you get through a major project quickly and efficiently, and get in front of the curve.

For you professionals out there wanting to continue to grow into the future, ‘cross-domain’ skills are booming. Cloud architects must know the business to design the most effective solution. Database administrators and software developers must work together to build applications that scale and port easily. Be one of those folks who can put these pieces together, and you will always be in demand.

Random Other Stuff

I’ve given up on flying cars, wearable tech (at least for 2014), self-improving code, or smart devices in the household.

I do see mega tablets becoming the new ultrabook for business professionals. My Surface Pro has solidified this one in me pretty strongly, and I use it constantly.

I can’t wait to jump on the 3-D printing bandwagon! I have a lot of ideas for useful items to create here in my lab.

Actually, I just want the pizza hydrator from Back to the Future II. I’ve been waiting for this for years!

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