Musings on 2014

Another year comes to a close. What did we see as significant technology events?  In the disruption category, we saw Uber getting valued at $41B even with all its issues in the news. When you disrupt an entrenched business such as taxi service, it is only natural that resistance will happen. But consumers like me love the value-added service from Uber. This is unstoppable as evident from the investor’s confidence in providing $1.2B funding. In the disruption category, companies like Snapchat, Instagram, Airbnb, Instacart, and others made good progress. Re-imagination is the catchword here. See my blog on that topic.

Big Data continued getting more momentum in 2014. We saw Hortonworks (Hadoop packaging) had its IPO. Cloudera  continued its momentum. NoSQL products like MongoDB and Datastax (Cassandra) moved into mainstream enterprise deployment. The first MongoDB World summit in new York city in June saw 2000 attendees, not bad for a six-year-old company. VoltDB made lots of claim in realtime, in-memory, stream processing. Phrases like Datalake, and Data Refinery entered our lexicon. Data stored in its native format and extracted for analysis became a hot discussion point. The incumbents like Oracle, IBM, HP and Microsoft were not sitting idle. They all introduced their NoSQL and Hadoop offerings, besides the data warehouse appliances (e.g. IBM Netizza, Oracle Exadata and Exalytics, HP Vertica, EMC Greenplum, etc.). SQL interface for Hadoop took front stage with several offerings. The space got more confusing with so many products and vendors. Personally I spoke at several conferences on how to look at the broad landscape and make some sense, so that customers do not equate Big Data with just Hadoop. Analytics is another hot space where meaningful information can be extracted to impact business decisions. Here, we have a long way to go, but this space will certainly grow fast in 2015, with increasing demand on data scientists and data engineers.

Cloud computing inched forward in the maturity curve. Oracle made several announcements at their Open World conference. They continue to acquire new companies (e.g. Datalogix last week) to gain better foothold on cloud-based solutions. Even their last quarterly finance showed significant growth in cloud product revenue. IBM also pushed cloud in a big way and so did Microsoft under its new CEO. The Azure cloud solution is starting to gain customer acceptance, a good alternative to Amazon’s AWS. GCE (Google computing engine) is yet to impact the enterprise market, but making headway.

The big news from Apple was the introduction of the Apple Watch. Wearable computing is coming in a big way and Apple’s product will be available in 2015. I am heading off to CES (Consumer Electronic Show) next week in Las Vegas to see firsthand all these new gadgets for connecting home, cars, etc. – the real Internet of Things (IoT). At the first IoT Expo in San Francisco, I spoke on the topic “Data – the oxygen of IoT”. IoT makes big data even more critical.

Overall, 2014 was another exciting year in technology for consumers. The enterprise space continues to struggle with injecting new technology such as cloud, mobility into their old archaic applications and systems. I am hoping this will pick up momentum in 2015.

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