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"What's hot right now?" 3 Tech Picks


I’m often asked “what’s hot now?” And why the hell not? I was asked most recently by Issac Roth at Makara at the Rackspace SaaS Summit during lunch yesterday. My focus tends to be more enterprise-y than consumer (I don’t spend too much on the cadre of “some dot com will buys us” business models).

Here’s what I generally tell people, expanded out beyond what my mouth can usually produce:

  • Cloud Computing – I spend a lot of time talking about this with folks, both on the buy side and the sell side (vendors). Vendors are all trying to ride the wave of cloud interest (cheaper, faster, more agile) and have either come up with genuine offerings or shimmied what they have (virtualization, management, etc.) into that category. Cloud is mostly understood to be “public” (Amazon, Rackspace, and the rest) or “private” (using cloud-inspired methods and technologies to run behind-the-firewall data centers). Most vendors recognize that the easier money and (more importantly) customer retention is in private cloud. Folks universally agree that Amazon is ahead of anyone else the public cloud space, and there’s some uncertainty about how much of the private cloud elephant companies can eat in 12 month transformation project chunks. Another thing I should write-up is the huge interest telcos are having in IaaS cloud technologies: these guys have piles of infrastructure they need to protect from Amazon & co. and seem to be going crazy buying IaaS clouds. For example, see the recent moves by KT with involvement from both and CloudScaling. And there’s starting to be action on the other end of the dumb pipes.
  • Mobile app development – developers I talk with are obsessed with the iPhone/iPad, or “iOS” as Apple has mercifully re-labeled their category. They’d love to develop for Android, which they feel is more open and “right” than iOS, but the gold rush is in Apple-land. While Hacker News might vote up a story every quarter pointing out the actual pennies on the dollar revenue in the Great App Game, developers still see the chance to cash in. These desires drive interest in mobile web (using web technologies for native apps or delivering mobile web apps), and a wider acceptance of the app store idea in (completely) different domains. Apple and Android dominate here: little is said (aside from a few snickers here and there) of Nokia, Samsung, MeeGo, Adobe, Microsoft, RIM, etc.
  • Elder Companies go Cocoon – the big tech companies like IBM, Oracle, HP, Microsoft, Cisco, and even “young folks” like VMWare are going bonkers with consolidation, portfolio shake-ups (“hey, we’re Cisco, wanna buy some servers?”), and otherwise doing something beyond collecting their tasty revenue streams. These companies used to have their ecosystems staked out, and then Cisco came along and started eating from HP, IBM, Dell, and other hardware folks’ buffets. Throw in Oracle buying Sun and recasting their story as Oracle vs. IBM along with Tennis-buddy-gate, some Java custody battles, and there’s just hijinks aplenty. The question here is where everyone will land, and what parts of the market each vendor will carve out for the next 10 years of boring but highly profitable revenue streams (for example, Dell has a window of opportunity to move into high-end servers). Scrappy youngin’s are hoping the new age of cloud and SaaS will just eat all the old folks lunch, and I sure like their optimism. It’s adorable.


These are just the top three, at the moment. There are other longer-term hotnesses out there, and ones deeper in the stack, to pick a few:

  • Big Data/Analytics is a huge ice-berg floating out there. NoSQL is a sort of sibling here.
  • The possible demotion of the desktop/laptop as the primary computer device in favor of smart phones, tablets, and even Internet-connected TVs can piss away of hours of day-dreaming.
  • Figuring out sales and marketing automation to start using the web as a core store-front (or “point of customer engagement,” if you prefer) is taking over ISV go-to-market, and even getting some traction outside of tech. If you Google for everything, don’t you think your customers do too?
  • The great on-prem to SaaS rewrite is a bundle of cash, time, and fun waiting to happen if buyers can get over cloud-FUD and ISVs can figure out the business models behind it beyond those “we have to do it” imperatives that don’t quiet work in spreadsheet columns.
  • If you’re into this kind of thing, the open source world is oddly rudderless at the moment. Many of the same parties are still there, doing The Lords Work, but all this cloud and mobile business has shifted attention – and, more importantly, open source has gone mainstream, it’s how software is done. (And don’t even start on standards bodies. OAuth anyone?)

While that’s what I see at the moment, what are you, dear readers seeing? What do you spend your time thinking about?

Disclosure: IBM, Microsoft, Dell,, CloudScaling, Adobe, and VMWare are clients.

Categories: Cloud, Enterprise Software, Marketing, Open Source, The New Thing.

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Comment Feed

7 Responses

  1. Missed one. 😉

    There's a big resurgence in the so-called "Internet of Things", spurred on largely by resource limitations on the planet, but evangelized heavily by IBM, Google, and many others.

    While the "Internet of Things 1.0" was focused on RFID and mobility, "Internet of Things 2.0" is much broader in its goal iof connecting the physical world into business processes, social graphs, and decision support to unlock new value.

    I hate 1.0/2.0/3.0 monikers as much as the next guy, but it is important to differentiate current activities in the IoT from the failed RFID-centric wave of a few years ago.

    Interestingly, there are hundreds of millions of "Intranets of Things" (factories, transportation systems, utilities and water distribution systems, etc.) that can also benefit from the same technologies and approaches. This is particularly important in the context of questions regarding the internet's readiness for a broadly connected world (security, privacy, addressing, QoS, etc.) – most of which are non-issues in the "Intranets of Things".

    In any case, I think this is an area where you will see a lot of real activity and real value being created in the both the short and long terms.


  2. @Rick: I disagree – "the internet of things" doesn't mean anything. "Cloud" only vaguely means something – but we at least have a stared understanding that it means either "distribute platform I don't own" or "SaaS". The Internet of Things is just another name for web 2.0 (perhaps 2.1?), the semantic web, etc. The problem is the lack of a shared understanding.

    Dave NearyOctober 8, 2010 @ 3:12 am
  3. Excellent post, Cote!

    I am anxious to learn your opinion what the confluence of all these trends means.



  4. Don't forget about web hosts and MSPs as cloud customers. All signs point to them driving spending on cloud-platform software. Give them a white-label self-service portal to throw their name on, and they'll spend some money.

  5. Derrick: yeah, totally! I'm pretty sloppy in that I lump together MSP/"service provider"/telco/carrier into one group, interchangeably using those terms. Maybe I should start calling them "the dumb pipe gang." Maybe "the stupid networkers"?

  6. Cloud and big data and on-rem to SaaS and mobile here, too. Totally agreed on those.

    And DevOps. The meme's branding hasn't reached everywhere, but the more folks from other Webby companies I talk with here (Pervasive, BazaarVoice, Homeaway, etc.) the more of it I'm seeing.

    And Internet of Things – I disagree strongly with Dave that it doesn't mean anything, it means integration of traditional IT systems with "real world" systems via sensors, control systems, etc. It means a move from the traditional Web focus on textual data (which itself was a change from the traditional company focus on financial data, hence search rising to compete with relational dbs) to scientific data. This also ties in to the big data/mapreduce/nosql/HPC mass of stuff as they are related needs. Pachube is interesting here.