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2017 – The highlights

(Image credit: Image Credit: Peshkova / Shutterstock)

2017 has certainly been an eventful year for the tech industry. From the outbreak of vicious ransomware attacks including the likes of WannaCry and NotPetya, to the more positive advancements in areas such as AI and data storage - the industry has undoubtedly experienced a memorable twelve months.

Below, seven industry experts share their thoughts on what they consider to be the biggest tech triumphs and pitfalls of the year past.

Hubert Da Costa, VP EMEA at Cradlepoint, on the new 5G network:

“2017 has been a key period of development for the new 5G network; the roll–out of which will soon dominate our industry. The UK is on track to fully embrace the opportunities 5G will offer, and innovative businesses and network providers are stepping up their efforts – they know that delivery of widespread 5G signal and access to superfast broadband will not be easy. We are still in a pre-standards phase, but whilst an agreed specification for 5G is not expected until 2019, network operators have been conducting 5G trials using pre-standard architecture – in the hopes of driving the full standard – and being first to market. It’s been an exciting year for 5G, and one of many yet to come.”

Mat Clothier, CEO, CTO and Founder at Cloudhouse, on ransomware and the adoption of Windows 10 

"2017 has seen more than its fair share of disasters. The WannaCry attack in particular highlighted how companies have left themselves dangerously exposed to ransomware, as well the affect that running legacy operating systems with inadequate patches can have on proliferating the threat. Organisations like the NHS who have been hit hardest this year – and those like Sports Direct, who managed to hide a data breach from 2016 due to unpatched systems – will need to migrate away from their existing vulnerable software to increase the protection surrounding their most sensitive data.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Microsoft had a great year with adoption of Windows 10 - proving that many organisations are moving their mindset towards evergreen IT. We hope to see more of the same at we head into 2018, or we’ll be back here again when Windows 7 reaches end of life in 2020.”

Peter Godden, VP of EMEA at Zerto, on ransomware and cybercrime outbreaks:

“The biggest surprise of 2017 was the scale and utter frequency of ransomware and other types of cybercrime that took place throughout the year. Between NotPetya, WannaCry, the Equifax breach and others, we saw ‘the largest attack in history’ multiple times in a span of months. The summer of 2017 seemed like rock bottom with the deluge of ransomware attacks, yet it is likely only the beginning. 2018-2020 will no doubt bring with it a dramatic escalation of cyber attacks; I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet in terms of how quickly new threat vectors are uncovered and exploited.”

Chris Colotti, Field CTO at Tintri, on VMware and the public cloud:

“From my point of view, I would consider the release of VMware Cloud on AWS one of the largest occurrences from 2017. While there are many deliberations around negotiating this new offering, the ability to have a vSphere platform running on AWS hardware will primarily appear very appealing to VMware customers. Time will tell how the usage, costs, and movement of virtual machines will work out. A central consideration to keep in mind however is that public cloud is not always the most suitable place for every workload. The public cloud outages earlier this year stand as a reminder as to why it is not always sensible to rely solely on one single cloud.”

Gary Watson, CTO and Founder at Nexsan, on the risks of the public cloud:

“This year has seen the realities of the public cloud come to light, as some of the more negative implications of storing data off-premises have caught many businesses by surprise. IT decision-makers have discovered that there are often hidden costs and unexpected subscriptions behind using the public cloud; while it may seem cost-effective at first, these underlying expenses can quickly build up. It is now necessary to recognise the pitfalls of using the public cloud and not just its benefits - it does not always have a place in every business. 2017 has once again reminded us of the importance of keeping sensitive and crucial data better protected; as the multiple cyber attacks this year have shown, the companies that lack control face the biggest impact.”

Jason Collier, Co-founder at Scale Computing, on hybrid cloud and the edge:

“2017 has been another chapter in the cloud story, with some organisations adopting an ‘all in’ cloud strategy. Evidence is growing that a cloud-only approach is not going to be a sustainable business model. The focus should not be ‘on-premise versus cloud, rather it should be ‘on-premise and cloud - a hybrid model. The reality for today’s businesses is that they need centralised data centres and on-premises - essentially, a micro-data centre at the edge.” 

Bob Davis, CMO at Plutora, on continuous delivery:

 “For me, seeing how fast the software delivery lifecycle market has evolved in 2017 was the biggest surprise. Smaller, more adaptable businesses have already realised that they need to connect and develop IT operations in order to support an agile development process to ensure quicker time to market. This, in turn, is transforming the way software is delivered. For larger enterprises, the time is now. In order for them to evolve their software development processes they must embrace continuous delivery.

This year Forrester was quoted as saying: "If agile was the opening act, continuous delivery is the headliner.” And vendors are certainly listening, and many have tried to adapt to this problem over the past year. However, it does make it hard to cut through the noise and find the products that solve the specific development problems they are facing. What is clear is organisations can't just afford to wait on outdated software delivery processes, they need to evolve and innovate.”

Image Credit: Peshkova  / Shutterstock