2023 is off and running! I don’t know what 2022 was like for you, but for me, this past year was so busy that it felt like five years’ worth of events packed into a single trip around the sun. And suddenly, here we are again, it’s January and time for a long-standing CTO tradition — the annual tech predictions blog. So let’s get right into it! Here’s what I expect to see over the coming year:
Prediction #1: IT spending will remain strong in 2023
Driven by the demand for digital transformation, IT spending will remain strong. Despite some rocky economic forecasts, I am optimistic that businesses will continue to prioritize their digital investments. Enterprises understand that consumers and customers have come to expect and depend upon high-speed Internet for streaming data, employee productivity, increased edge computing, and more. Analysts’ predictions agree with my own, estimating that technology spending will increase more than 5% in 2023.
Prediction #2: The industry will coalesce around an early multi-cloud architecture
The industry will coalesce around an early multi-cloud architecture. While I and VMware as a whole have been building toward a robust multi-cloud reality for years, I believe that this architecture will finally take hold across the industry and become mainstream in 2023. This evolution will prompt a complete overhaul of how we design platforms and applications. It will boost the importance of cloud-platform teams who build the technologies that enable cross-cloud services and multi-cloud applications. It will also shine a spotlight on our practices like DevOps and DevSecOps, and who will be responsible for creating, managing, and securing modern apps and everything that goes along with them — service mesh, event-driven applications, API and software supply-chain security, and so on. As an industry, we’ll need to come together to improve standards for integration, interoperability, security, edge services, and more. Already, we’re seeing the bleeding edge of these coalescing efforts in the form of industry white papers and events.
Prediction #3: Digital transformation will include a focus on energy efficiency
We will see a heightened focus on energy efficiency as part of the enterprise’s digital transformation. As I explained in my first two predictions, the demand for high-speed, multi-cloud services continues to mount. But there’s a cost to this growth — power. In fact, the global information and communication technology (ICT) sector consumes approximately 7% of the world’s energy.
The need to contain energy costs (and fight climate change) is a perfect use case for datacenter AIOps: using machine learning models to consolidate workloads onto the fewest numbers of servers, automatically killing zombie processes, powering down servers during periods of low demand, and so on, to help save energy and contain costs. While AIOps itself is not new, I predict that this use case may drive significant interest and research in this area.
Prediction #4: This will be a landmark year for AI
AI will begin to play a more important role in technology development. Unless you’ve been living in a remote, off-grid yurt, you’ve undoubtedly heard of and/or played with ChatGPT, a bot that leverages the latest release of OpenAI’s Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) Deep Learning Language Model. ChatGPT allows anyone to use natural language to elicit highly detailed responses to questions about almost any topic. (It can even write a blog in seconds…but before you ask, this one was crafted by a warm-blooded human!) In the five days following its release, ChatGPT3 racked up over a million users — a feat that takes the average startup months or years to achieve.
Outside of writing student essays, generating job descriptions, and answering wacky questions, ChatAI use cases will be getting a lot more attention over the coming year. Some early users have tried it out as a debugging tool and lauded the results. It may become useful for low-code and no-code development. While this technology still has a few more years to mature, there is no doubt that 2023 will be a year we will gain a much greater awareness of how and where mature AI will be able to impact our industry. There’s no questions that while systems looking to employ this technology reliably at scale are still a few years away, 2023 may be a landmark year for AI.
Prediction #5: Security will take center stage
Concerns about security will take center stage. As digital transformation continues to ramp up, there will be a corresponding increase in the need for iron-clad data security. I’ve written a lot about software supply-chain security over the past year, and I expect that issue to remain a hot topic. But the coming year will also see an increasing focus on encryption. As of June 28, AWS will no longer support TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1. Even though it will continue to support TLS 1.2, this TLS version is only considered safe after removing weak ciphers and algorithms. With all these changes (and with NIST finalizing new, quantum-safe algorithms), cryptographic agility is becoming a critical business requirement. And, in fact, I’ve already seen increased interest in VMware’s cryptographic agility research and other new security approaches, such as Zero Knowledge Proofs.
All of these factors suggest that 2023 will be another busy, exciting year in technology. I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!