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Predictions from Patrick McFadin, Amanda Brock, Donnie Berkholz, & Frank Reno

2022 Outlook – Open source, OpenTelemetry, & emerging tech

JAXenter Editorial Team
© Shutterstock / Grapix3l

What does 2022 hold for open source and OpenTelemetry? Which cutting-edge technologies should you be paying attention to in 2022? We asked the experts about their predictions for the coming year. Stay ahead of the curve and learn how to plan strategically in the new year.

How will open source develop in 2022?

Patrick McFadin, Vice President Developer Relations, DataStax: Open source will continue to grow due to the incredible popularity of Kubernetes and how it promotes open infrastructure from the ground up. Cloud providers have embraced Kubernetes and will continue fueling this trend. The tendency for Enterprises to opt for open infrastructure while working with service providers fits the business model of Kubernetes as a service. The “free as in freedom” part of Open Source means you deploy the things that you want how you want.

Amanda Brock, CEO, OpenUK: Open source has been popular for years, but in 2022 we’ll see more adoption at scale in the public sector. Open source will build the “plumbing” for new, modern infrastructure requirements in areas like the energy and utilities sectors. That work will help support more open data initiatives, which can then help in the wider development around sustainability and fighting climate change.

One of the exciting aspects of this is that the UK has so many engineers leading these discussions around the future of infrastructure and open source, and participating in groups like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. With people like Liz Rice, Alexis Richardson and Matt Barker in the UK we have a real hub of leadership that can influence the global direction for open source in the year to come.

With a focus on people from the UK Government we will see two things. Firstly, there will be a shift in education to embrace more on open source software, open hardware and open data, particularly around practical training. This will help the next generation of developers and other professionals enter the market with the right skills to participate in how companies today build their software and then manage it over time. This doesn’t just mean code, but all the jobs that exist around software development and that provide value to users.

Secondly, there will be more focus on supporting home grown businesses in the tech space worldwide, which ultimately means those start-up and scale-up companies working around open technology.

In the UK, this will manifest itself in increased investment from the Financial Services sector, the likes of Pension Funds which currently lag significantly behind those in the US in terms of investment in tech. There is increased understanding in that market around how to value companies and how they operate, which should support more companies in growing and being successful in the longer term.

Open source will build the “plumbing” for new, modern infrastructure requirements in areas like the energy and utilities sectors.

Donnie Berkholz, Senior Vice President Product, Percona: I think the biggest challenge for many open source projects – particularly those led by one vendor – will be to represent the needs of all the community, rather than just those on the leading edge or all-in on public cloud.

This has already affected some of the bigger companies in the open source database space, where they have changed their release cadences in order to deliver what their cloud customers want. The bad element here is not that changes are being made, but how much attention goes into quality. Some of those releases have been buggy or were not thoroughly quality checked before they were put out to the community. When you have features flagged as not for production use on what should be your new flagship release, or where your release breaks things that worked well previously for the community, then you have to think harder about your priorities and what you owe to the community as a whole.

In 2022, companies should work on those release plans and bear in mind that they are responsible for the whole community. If they want to step back and only concentrate on those cloud customers, then they have to engage with the wider community to make it easier to fill the gap. The alternative here is that companies will end up alienating the community, and cutting off that flow of potential customers and users over time.

SEE ALSO: Who should keep software development safe and secure? It’s the engineering organization

What will happen around OpenTelemetry in 2022?

Frank Reno, Principal Product Manager and Open Source Ambassador, Sumo Logic: Kubernetes has been essential for the growing adoption of software containers. In 2022, we’ll see the same adoption approach around OpenTelemetry for observability. Kubernetes became a standard in itself for running container orchestration and it has certainly won that war. Now OpenTelemetry will bring the exact same standards that we need for observability.

OpenTelemetry has become widely adopted by the software development community, but it’s still just at the beginning of its journey. The community made Kubernetes the success it is, and we’ll see the same with OpenTelemetry as customers demand better integration and less lock-in around their observability data.

For vendors involved around applications and software – from more traditional approaches like application performance management through to software development pipelines and management tools, and through to cloud-native services – supporting OpenTelemetry will be table stakes in the future.

OpenTelemetry has become widely adopted by the software development community, but it’s still just at the beginning of its journey.

Patrick McFadin, DataStax: OpenTelemetry has a lot of momentum now as a CNCF project and will have a huge impact in 2022. Gathering data about running systems is nothing new, but the size and complexity of applications are crumbling under their own weight. Complex things fail in complex ways. OpenTelemetry is the kind of needed standardization to enable our scale distributed future powered by Kubernetes. Ironically, if we get this right, it will open the door for even more scale and infrastructure complexity.

Donnie Berholz, Percona: Data will remain pretty critical to companies in 2022, and OpenTelemetry will help the community around observability. The fact that the community around OpenTelemetry is growing pretty quickly, and that there has been standardisation on it as the project to use, will be good for everyone.

Overall, what emerging tech should decision-makers focus on in 2022 in order to plan strategically?

Patrick McFadin, DataStax: This is an area that I’ve been spending a lot of time in the past year. Running your data inside Kubernetes will be the dominant way we deploy our applications in the future. Some organizations have been early adopters in this trend and have seen tremendous benefits. Faster development cycles. Better consistency. Lower failure rates. If you are embracing cloud native and don’t have a plan for running your data in Kubernetes then you should be working on that today. It will be a differentiating competency for being competitive in fast moving markets.

The next release of Apache Cassandra is another 2022 event I’m excited about. There are many interesting changes coming since 4.0 was released in 2021 that will accelerate Cassandra as a true cloud native database. Most notably, new transaction algorithms that will allow for multi-datacenter transactions that are the next generation beyond what is found in databases like Spanner and CockroachDB.

Amanda Brock, OpenUK: AI is the buzzword and there will be a focus on the work coming out of Universities in the UK and the US to see what is possible here. However, it’s a sub-sector of the overall tech market and still very immature. Serverless and Edge computing are the other areas of significant shift, and developers will have to think about how they use those technologies in the right ways.

Following on from COP26, we will see Sustainability take a lead in how individuals think about the future, which will affect the services they use and the companies they want to buy from or use. Hopefully, over time, this will mean a shift from thinking about pure economic value to measuring the value of our tech against a broader range of societal measures. Developers can help make that change.

We cannot escape issues around security and bad actors in our digitalised world and its infrastructure. Building a more secure environment and collaboration around this on a global scale will be critical.

We cannot escape issues around security and bad actors in our digitalised world and its infrastructure. Building a more secure environment and collaboration around this on a global scale will be critical.

Donnie Berkholz, Percona: In 2021, the Data on Kubernetes community found that 90 percent of their members thought that Kubernetes is ready for stateful workloads, meaning typical databases or persistent storage. In 2022, running databases on Kubernetes will move from testing into production deployments outside the early-adopter community.

From a planning perspective, what does this approach mean? It helps line up application management with data management, so it gets easier to deal with databases as part of the overall deployment in one.

The other project that I think will be popular in 2022 is Backstage, an open source developer portal put together by Spotify that makes it easy to bring together key needs for working on an application in one place. That could range from deploying a developer sandbox with a database to developer docs to Service Level Objective monitoring and more.

Frank Reno, Sumo Logic: Developers have invested time and effort into building their work into pipelines, and then using code to automate those processes. One of the big benefits here is that this can be used for version control. Alongside this, you have observability data coming in to show what your applications are doing, and how they are performing. This data can be used to show others what is going on and why they should care about the changes over time.

The initial use case for this is business teams – developers put together a new feature for an application, and then look at how it performs over time. That same data can be shared with the business team in a simplified format to show them if the new feature they asked for actually delivered.

I think the entire data community is excited about what’s happening with Java right now.

Where this will be important in the future is around AI and machine learning – these are getting built into more applications and services, and they should be measured using observability data too. This is important because AI systems can use personal data to make decisions, and you want to be able to explain any decision that this kind of system makes. Did it use personal data in the right way, and did it avoid any potential ethical bias? Without the ability to explain that decision, you run the risk of having biased models in place. Observability systems will evolve to cover this kind of use case in future, which is another reason to implement this approach.

Java 18 is due in March 2022; are there any other upcoming releases that you’re looking forward to next year?

Patrick McFadin, DataStax: I think the entire data community is excited about what’s happening with Java right now. Most large-scale data infrastructure runs on a jvm and the improvements that we’re seeing will make a huge difference in scale and performance. The recent benchmarks with JDK16 and JDK17 have shown dramatic steps in garbage collection pauses that all but eliminate the problem.

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