Wrapping up 2017, it is time to think about what happened during the past year and start to make plans for the new year. On a personal note, I have seen a number of milestones: I uprooted my family and moved them 9,000 miles to Perth, Australia—and more importantly, celebrated thirty years of marriage.
But what about in the land of virtualization, cloud, and EUC? What were my highlights of 2017, and what do I think will continue to make waves? What will start to appear over the horizon outside of the gilded cage of Silicon Valley?
Let’s start with tech IPOs. The largest IPO of 2017 was Snapchat. After a reasonable start to trading, at the time of this writing it is currently trading a $15.77, which is 7% below its debut price. Trinti IPOed in June with a $7 price and is currently trading at $5.17, which is 16% below its debut price; then again, other storage IPO debutantes Nutanix and Pure Storage have not had that easy a time of it, either. MuleSoft IPOed at $17 and is currently trading at $22.08, which is 23% above its debut price.
Next, let’s look at the acquisitions, mergers, and divestitures of 2017. Apple bought Shazam, the music-recognition company, to continue its move from a hardware/software company to a media company. The purchase was for an undisclosed amount thought to be in the region of $400 million, but Apple has always been guarded with details on acquisitions. HPE’s acquisition of SimpliVity in January was the first major purchase, and scuppered SimpliVity’s IPO aspirations. That said, I do not think the founders and investors were too upset with the $650 million purchase price—quite a reasonable exit. Cisco dug deep into its loose pocket change to buy AppDynamics for an eye-watering $3.7 billion, which was another IPO-scuppering event, followed in October by the purchase of Perspica to fold into the AppDynamics team. In March in a rather surprising move, considering the fact that it had just acquired SimpliVity, HPE bought Nimble Storage for $1.09 billion in cash. Jive—they who write the software that powers VMware’s VMTN community site, amongst others—was bought by ESW Capital, a Texas-based private equity firm, for $462 million. Microsoft bought Cloudyn, a multicloud billing specialist, for an undisclosed amount thought to be in the region of $50 to $70 million. VMware acquired VeloCloud in December to expand NSX into the WAN, and as a we-too purchase to counter Cisco’s May acquisition of Viptela. Amazon, the online retailer, splashed out $13.7 billion on a physical retail store called Whole Foods. I wonder if it will buy Waterstones next? With the new business-friendly administration settling in, I expect a slew of mergers and acquisitions in 2018 as regulatory oversight loosens.
What Is Big Today, and Whose Star Will Be in Ascendance in 2018?
Arguably, Blockchain entered the mainstream consciousness as Bitcoin prices ballooned to “OMG I need an oxygen mask to breathe” prices, peaking at just under $20,000 and then falling back to just under $17,000. That may sound like a drop, but at this time last year, it was at $850.
Artificial intelligence/augmented reality (AI/AR) is starting to gain real traction, too, and we will need it to make sense of the ever-expanding array of edge sensors in the Internet of Things. Google is rumoured to be resurrecting Google Glass, which could be integrated with several of the Alphabet Inc. companies’ products to give real-time updates on who you are talking to, what you are watching, etc. As Google’s AI matures, you could be seeing all sorts of information about a person you just met flick up onto your screen, telling you all about them. Automation will move from the niche and those script monkeys to mainstream, with new tools to define and deploy workflow across multiple clouds. Finally, clouds will mature, and PaaS platforms will become de rigueur. With later migrants opting to reengineer their core applications into cloud-native apps rather than lifting and shifting their current fleet into an IaaS platform like Azure or AWS, too many people have been hit by unexpected usage charges.
2018 is looking to be an interesting year for technology. The market space as we know it now will start to move heavily into public cloud, but companies will still not be all in.