2013 Predictions

It is a time of great transition in IT and while 2013 won’t bring great change, I predict this will be a year of computing models that mature into the mainstream with only a few surprises. Here are three “best bets” you can bank on for 2013.

Forget the Private Cloud – it’s all going public
The IT infrastructure is really coming along with cloud computing. It is really fun and exciting to see how multiple players now have viable solutions in the market and how customers are responding with uptake, implementation and feedback. In business, cloud means private cloud for the most part. This incongruity of value between a self-hosted server and a cloud-hosted server service creates a challenge for the enterprise when evaluating the ROI from public cloud solutions compared to buying or leasing a new server and running things on-premises.

I predict in 2013 we will see an interesting, and possibly amazing turn of events as businesses large and small begin hybridizing their infrastructures in very simple ways, using bandwidth-optimized, compute-light services delivered at a compelling low cost. Businesses will consume services like these either stubbed out from IaaS or PaaS providers, or as complete, finished services offered as SaaS. As hybrid manageability continues to improve, we will see more highly efficient redundancy achieved through simple public cloud services. And based on the maturity of private cloud solutions heading into 2013 and the follow-on needs that is precipitating, I believe we could see rapid increase in public cloud service uptake by the end of 2013.

Windows 8: Great for Consumers, not so good for IT…yet.
For the masses of organizations that have not started their Windows migration, they might eventually migrate directly to Windows 8 from Windows XP, but it is unlikely that it will be in 2013. They are going to wait for a Service Pack – or in the absence of Service Packs a lot of updates and fixes – for Windows 8 and at least second generation hardware. The favorable coincidence is that both of these should exist readily by the time Windows XP is finally end of life. Organizations that hold out for this migration scenario will have the advantage of moving directly to the most modern computing paradigm, will have the time to have their people adjust through consumer adoption, and even have the additional time for ISVs and internal development to overcome any remaining application compatibility issues. To be clear, the same migration challenges exist for XP to 8 migrations as they do for XP to 7 migrations. There is no particular advantage to migration to Windows 7 if you plan to move to Windows 8 soon.

I honestly expect Windows 8 will, objectively speaking, have fantastic commercial success at a business level, but because of the competitive landscape and the badge on the box, the results will get little fanfare from capital markets and the MSFT stock price will see little uplift.

“Death of the PC?” Not going to happen.
There will be no death of the PC, not in 2013 nor in the years that follow. The “Post PC era” is really better labeled the “PC-plus era”. The reason why, and this point is echoed in some form in most every comment thread below articles about tablets killing PCs: I cannot (yet) use all 10 of my fingers on a touch-based device and make as much happen as fast as I can with a full-size keyboard with 101 keys.

There will be more use of mobile devices and tablets and they will get cheaper and more capable. Phones will continue to get bigger and more capable. But all of these devices will remain a complement to the productivity powerhouse that is the PC. Lots of organizations are bound to create and expand BYOD policies, but the primary devices people are going to bring to work are going to be dominated by computers with keyboards and pointing devices. These are amazing, powerful, and incredibly inexpensive devices that business won’t be able to live without – certainly not in 2013.