2001: What Kind of Odyssey Will It Be?

I think I can safely speak for a large number of Web server administrators when I say that we're happy to have the year 2000 behind us. Most of us (myself included) didn't get to usher in the new year because we were at our workplaces waiting for the computer equivalent of Armageddon to take place, only to find that the new year came in with nary a whimper. Those who were fortunate enough to stay home still found themselves dialing in and checking things out. This year, although we were home to celebrate the official start of the new millennium, some of us are left wondering what there is to celebrate.

The year 2000 wasn't especially kind to us administrators. Turnover in the IT industry seems to be at an all-time high. I'm fairly certain that Microsoft is glad to have the year 2000 behind it, too. The dot-com community is littered with the remnants of companies who had big dreams on Wall Street. A lot of our 401(k) and stock option plans are a mere fraction of their former selves. Many of us changed jobs sometime during the past 18 months as a direct result of the ever-changing economy. And believe me, it will change even more during the next 18 months.

So, I'd like to take a moment and contemplate what might be in store for 2001. After all, this is the year in which science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke dreamed we would find that first monolith on the moon. But we're far less likely to be carrying on conversations with our computers than we are to be using Web browsers as our primary UIs. At least that's what some deep-pocketed ISPs and telecommunication companies think, so they're feverishly trying to reinvent themselves as application service providers (ASPs). The year 2001 will be an important year for these companies' development.

Network-based appliances also should have a banner year. Imagine having an appliance-based Web server that doesn't need any tinkering or tweaking—no messy OS holes to deal with. Today, the technology is already here and in use, so I figure it's just a matter of time before those of us who administer IIS will be either partially or completely appliance based.

XML, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and BizTalk: This year, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems might be slugging it out again. At least this contest should last longer than a Mike Tyson fight.

Security and privacy issues also will be at the forefront. Last year, Microsoft released 100 security bulletins and countless patches, far more than the previous year. You can interpret that information in more than one way; I say the more security alerts, the better. Keep shining the light and stay focused on strong network security, and we'll all sleep better at night.

Because this column is archived online, at the end of 2001 you can easily go back and look at this article. Chances are good that some of my predictions won't pan out. So instead of just eating crow and making some cheesy resolution to bring you the latest news, I'll just say good riddance to 2000 and give a big hearty welcome to 2001. You're a sight for sore eyes.

TAGS: Security
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