With the year coming to a close, making 2019 predictions isn’t much of a stretch. Here’s what we’re seeing in a few areas to look for in 2019.

The Network

Any predictions of network technology direction have to include Cisco, and for Cisco the future isn’t as much in hardware as software. Software-defined WANs, cloud partnerships and a drive to sell more subscription-based software licenses dominate Cisco headlines.

That said, their fiscal year ended with total product revenue up 9% to $9.9 billion, including an equal percentage growth in their switching and routing business to $7.64 billion.

Not the network: edge computing

Of course, “edge computing” is an early stage technology, which means most everyone has a different definition and expectations for it. The general hopes and dreams involve great savings in data transport, latency times and data center traffic by moving certain data crunching functions to the edge of the network where the data is captured and needed.

What’s the application impact of sub-10 millisecond response times? How is that impacted by potential 5G networks? Who pays for it? While many fear placing bets on the wrong technology, it’s hard to imagine with the explosion of data and IoT devices there really is a Betamax choice. Sure, not everything will pan out over time, but in the swinging pendulum between distributed and centralized computing, the safe bet is that it might not be one or the other anymore.

Data Center

The data center as we know it is not dying under the assault of the Cloud. Compute demands are greater than ever, the advent of AI is poised to increase those demands even more, and cloud has shown itself to have some expensive downsides. Applications with massive data sets like BI, analytics and AI/ML are expensive to move to the cloud and will likely remain in private data centers.

This interplay between cloud and private data center is showing the foresight of hybrid cloud providers like Microsoft and IBM who leveraged their existing install base and new cloud features to compete with the initial pure-play cloud providers like AWS and Google. Now, AWS and Google are introducing new on-premise offerings to establish hybrid clouds as well.