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Tech tremors: 5 bumps to brace for in the year ahead

Paul Venezia | Jan. 4, 2016
If you thought 2015 was full of tossing and turning, wait until 2016 hits

Of course, this will not be all wine and roses. Although à la carte television content may finally be approaching mainstream, the infrastructure behind it may not be up to the task in some cases.

Tech tremor No. 3: The quixotic battle for backdoors in encryption will escalate

As the United States enters the theater of the absurd we call a presidential election year, expect the senseless trumpeting of the "dangers" of encryption to increase. For politicians with no moral compass and dollar signs in their eyes, the very term "encryption" has become a handy lever to frighten people who have no grasp of the concept. If we see more unrest around the world, no matter how major or minor, the bleating will increase. Encryption will become the Willie Horton of the 2016 presidential race.

I strongly believe that all of this noise will amount to nothing, however, mostly because the alternative is absolute chaos and anarchy. Not only that, I expect Let's Encrypt will see rapid expansion and other encryption services will join the ranks. We'll begin seeing SSL/TLS communications used as freely as unencrypted communications have been.

Tech tremor No. 4: We may see the first major outage of a major cloud service provider

We are spinning up cloud services at a blistering rate these days. More people are using more cloud services than ever before, and most of those services are based in the data centers of only a handful of providers. We have seen significant outages at AWS recently, but the rapid growth of cloud services and the avalanche of users hitting those services following a major world event could potentially bring traffic and requests at an unprecedented scale.

Before the shift to the cloud, service outages were much more compartmentalized than they are now, because many companies either self-hosted or used their own hardware at colocation facilities, in effect providing an unintentional safeguard against massive outages. Now that we're spinning up service instances at a whim and sharing the infrastructure of a few large providers, the right set of circumstances could produce an overwhelming tide. It would probably take a truly massive news event for this to happen, but it's certainly a possibility.

Tech tremor No. 5: Corporate data centers will continue to shrink

For better or worse, the general migration to cloud computing will continue to deplete the corporate data center. SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS are only becoming more attractive as they scale, and companies more trusting of these services as time wears on. That trust may not be altogether misplaced today, but these services are still a greater liability than many might realize. The cracks begin to show through when corporate business decisions are modified due to limitations or requirements of hosted services, but the full picture has yet to be painted. In the interim, the lure of hosted services with no maintenance overhead is growing, even if many of them aren't fully baked yet.

 

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