Celebrating our 30th anniversary

9 ways technology will change within the next 10 years

Network World 30th Anniversary: Reimagined productivity apps, more diversity in the workforce and Cisco getting stronger in next 10 years

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Celebrating our 30th anniversary

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Cisco will stay on top

To understand where Cisco might be in 10 years, it helps to look back 10 years.

At this time in 2006, Cisco was in the third quarter of its 2006 fiscal year. The Catalyst 6500 switch had achieved $20 billion in revenue over its seven-year lifetime; the first generation CSR-1 service provider router – dubbed “HFR,” for Huge Effin’ Router – was two years old and had 60 big customers worldwide; and Cisco IP phones on business desktops numbered 2 million.

+ ALSO Read John Chambers' take on what the network was like 30 years ago +

Now, the Catalyst campus base is being replaced by the Catalyst 6800 while data centers are transitioning to the Nexus 9000. The CSR-1 has seen three more generations, capped off and succeeded by the Network Convergence System (NCS) series. And Cisco has shipped well in excess of 50 million IP phones, and emphasizes cloud-based software as for unified communications infrastructure-as-a-service.

Expect the emphasis on software to continue and ultimately transform Cisco from the leading provider of networking hardware into a software company. Expect its “products” to be delivered as services priced on a perpetual or subscription-based license, hosted, operated and managed from a Cisco cloud. There will still be routers and switches, but in campus networks they will increasingly become thinner and thinner, like the NID to the PSTN in your home; the horsepower of hardware processing and acceleration will be reserved for data centers and clouds.

Expect today’s Nexus 9000 and NCS to be succeeded by one or two generations in 10 years, like the Cat 6500 and CRS-1 were 10 years earlier. Expect Cisco to gain more share in data center servers and conceive of even more ways to hyper-converge compute, networking, storage with applications, services and microservices developed using tiny, semi-autonomous containers. Expect Cisco to reinvigorate on-premises computing by making it more cost effective and secure than off-premises clouds.

Expect Cisco to be the leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things.

And expect Cisco to perhaps actually be the No. 1 IT company in the world, a title it currently covets. And expect many of its competitors and combatants to by laying in its wake.

(By Managing Editor Jim Duffy)

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Cloud in 2026: The foundation of computing

“I’m not even sure we’ll still call it ‘cloud’ in 2026, it’s just the way we do IT,” says Cloud Technology Partners’ Senior Vice President and industry pundit David Linthicum.

Over the next decade more and more hyperscale data centers will be built to hold our exponentially increasing production of data and insatiable desire for computing capacity to manage and analyze it. By 2026 we’ll get to a point where our smartphones are ultra-thin client devices that have access to this virtually-unlimited cloud-based compute and storage capacity.

Whereas today organizations are creating their new applications in the cloud, in 10 years the cloud will be the dominant and natural place to host applications. Today’s concerns about security of the cloud will be reversed in a decade: The cloud will be considered the safer place to store data compared to attempting to host it yourself. Companies will store the bulk of their data – more than 100 petabytes will be norm for most businesses – in cloud databases. They’ll have a choice of general-purpose vanilla cloud services or ones that are tailored to their specific vertical industries (a retail cloud, a health care cloud, a finance cloud, for example).

(By Senior Editor Brandon Butler)

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Smart apps reign in the Internet of Things

Despite the cloud being the natural and dominant place for most applications and data, there will be very little focus on the underlying infrastructure, because that will all be managed by vendors. Instead, end users’ focus will be on ‘smart’ applications and services that take advantage of this ubiquitous infrastructure, predicts industry analyst and strategist Krishnan Subramanian, who hosted an event titled “Cloud 2020” exploring how this technology will change in the future.

Whereas today the basic unit of compute is a virtual or physical server, in 2026 it will be the massive number of connected devices that will be producing data that is stored in the cloud. Cloud systems will have powerful machine learning and artificial intelligence engines that ingest feeds of data being produced by these IoT devices and produce business logic that drives operational decisions.

(By Senior Editor Brandon Butler)

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Now read: Getting grounded in IoT