2020 was a successful year for me with my predictions. I wasn’t into making them, yet I did, and it was a sweeping success. I decided to do it again for 2021, and I will be revisiting a 2019 prediction. Let’s dive in.
Microsoft Windows Desktop Environment for Linux
That’s right, I predicted this one in 2019, and it didn’t happen. The first time I made this prediction, I expected that ARM would be a factor. I was two years ahead of ARM being a player in these type of decisions. Looks like Windows 10 ARM is really picking up traction with devices like the Surface X. With that said, both Edge and Teams shipped for Linux. Microsoft has large Linux package repositories and continues to ship products for it. I have read a few articles about 2021 and the introduction of Windows 10 X to compete with Chrome OS. While many think this won’t happen due to the investment, I still feel this will happen.
Confidence is greater than 90%.
Microsoft Open Sources SQL Server
Microsoft has been feeling the pressure from PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB for a while now. These are great examples of open source databases that deliver a great experience when used correctly. Many will think there isn’t support. However, it does exist and can be purchased from companies that support these projects. Support from these vendors could also lead to features that you would like to see since they are open source. Couple that with containers, and licensing starts becoming a sticking point. As container usage increases, it will be challenging to determine licensing and using them like you would one of these open-source alternatives. The final straw is going to be Babelfish from AWS. Babelfish is a SQL Server compatibility layer for PostgreSQL that allows full compliance with SQL Server workloads. The ability to do that is going to really disrupt the current dynamics. Enterprise style apps won’t be supported by vendors, yet many other workloads could be migrated. These pressures will force a change in the licensing of SQL Server. If it doesn’t end up open-sourced, it may end up being free to use.
Confidence is greater than 90%.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be Free
Red Hat made a significant change to the CentOS project by moving it from being an RHEL binary clone to an upstream distro to RHEL called CentOS Stream. As part of this change, Red Hat moved the end of life for CentOS 8 to next year, which cuts many years off the product’s expected life expectancy. People are seeing this as a negative. With CentOS Stream being upstream of RHEL, now users will be able to participate in the development of the next RHEL, which means that the community can actually push features or improvements that they want to see. It will take some time to see the benefit of the change. As part of this move, Red Hat is going to make RHEL available without a subscription. This will fall in line with how Canonical does Ubuntu and partially how Suse and OpenSuse work. This will allow people to adopt it, and when they need support, just buy a subscription, but not until it’s needed. I think that is an immense strength of Ubuntu. You can use the same product without the support, and when you need it, there is an easy path to it.
Confidence is greater than 94%.
Windows Server becomes Free
Yep, another Microsoft one. The pressure is there from Linux to push Microsoft to really tweak how they approach Windows Server. Providing it for free without support would be a wise approach. It would allow people to adopt it and then purchase support later when/if needed. This will open up other use cases, too, like many container workloads, and drive down the Azure prices.
Confidence is greater than 60%.
These are my 2021 predictions. I would enjoy hearing from you about your thoughts and predictions. Feel free to reach out on Twitter, LinkedIn, or log an issue in GitHub.
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