Kubernetes will rise, and Java will change – what else can we expect in 2024?

Milena Radivojević

What are the major tech trends set to redefine the industry in 2024? Michael Cote unveils his key predictions.

In 2024, we might be heading back into our home offices. Wait, what?!

This unexpected shift is one of the possible tech industry trends predicted for the year, as shared by Michael Coté, Senior Member of Technical Staff at VMware. In this interview, he delves into the complexities and potential universality of Kubernetes, questions the rising prominence of Backstage in DevOps, and navigates the evolving landscapes of Java and remote work.

Let’s delve deeper into these potencial tech trends for 2024.

Will Kubernetes see a rise in popularity?

“Does using Kubernetes actually make application development and delivery better?” asks Michael. For years, he says, we’ve read that Kubernetes is powerful but complex. “We’ve also heard that application developers are not actually supposed to use it directly, let alone build all the app platforms and tools they need to make Kubernetes easy to use.

So, who is Kuberbetes for, and are those people getting value out of it versus just using a standard VMs or more exotic things like serverless? Survey results have been sort of good, people get some benefits. If you look at estimates for how many apps run in containers to get a sense for how much Kuberbetes usage there is, you see something like 15% to 20% globally.

Coté suggests that for Kubernetes to become universal, it must extend its reach to encompass 50%, perhaps even 70%, of workloads. Is this alignment with the community’s aspirations, or is Kubernetes intended to remain deeper in the stack, beyond the reach of application developers? Only time will tell.

Backstage is a rising star in the DevOps world

Michael pointed out that in 2022 and 2023 Backstage became super popular, at least in interest. “I don’t know how widely it’s used now, but it solves a legitimate problem (a framework and community for building a DevOps-oriented intranet for app developers – an internal developer portal to use the clunky word for the category of tools).

How widely will get used? Is it easy to use and does it deliver the benefits, or just result in the same old thing? “Platform engineering” and Backstage have a symbiotic relationship now – though, ironically the progenitor of platforms engineering a concept/category isn’t exactly a Backstage company, I think.

Java landscape is evolving

Another factor shaping the industry is the evolution and migrations within the Java landscape. “Oracle has changed licensing terms for their Java VM, there are older versions of the Spring Framework rolling  out of community support, and large enterprises are forever in the process of migrating and modernizing their apps”, says Coté.

He also pointed out that there’s a strong drive to make changes in the Java system – when it comes to costs, things tend to happen more actively compared to situations where the motivation is abstract, like with “digital transformation”.

Is remote work making a comeback?

Michael also predicts that remote work will have a significant impact – which might come as a surprise to some. “Tech people are in limited supply versus the demand for every organization to use software as its primary way of running the business. This is always a problem.

Over COVID and the last few years, many of these workers have come to cherish working from home – and if the share prices of companies are any indication, working remotely works well. However, many executives seem to be allergic to the concept.

However, Michael thinks it can make cases for both positions; it just depends on how you engineer the company to run. For example, long-time pro-remote work executives like Matt Mullenweg (of Automattic/WordPress) have emphasized that you can build a system of work where remote work is great.

“As executives try to bring people back to the office, workers have a bunch of bluster that they’ll rebel and quit – and some other companies may be happy to hire them and have them work remotely,” he says.

So, will people go back to the office? Could executives alter their perspective? We’ll see how things unfold this year.

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