This is a just a bunch of fun tech predictions for 2014. I can't claim any insider knowledge, but it will be interesting to look back on them at the end of the year to see what the outcomes are!
Bitcoin will become "legitimate", but not widespreadIn 2014, regulators will likely issue guidance on how exactly companies and people can deal in Bitcoin without running afoul of anti-money laundering and money transmitter regulations, and how it is to be taxed. This will “legitimize” Bitcoin, but because of the difficulty of using the cryptocurrency and the insane amount of volatility of Bitcoin against fiat money, it will not become mainstream in 2014. Instead, Bitcoin will be relegated to particular types of transactions that the mainstream banks are either not accepting (due to the high probability of fraud or high compliance costs) or are charging exorbitant fees to facilitate. These will likely be cross-border transactions, especially in countries with capital controls (Argentina), legally grey-area transactions, or transactions that the major payment processors don’t accept.
Docker plus Deis or Flynn will result in an "open-source Heroku" and lots of dev-ops innovationHeroku is probably one of the biggest dev-ops innovations in the last five years, making it vastly easier to deploy web applications, freeing development teams to actually build applications instead of focusing on DevOps. Heroku’s 12 Factor App architecture is now widely used and 2014 will see that continuing. However, Heroku has a few problems.
First, There currently isn’t a good way to "build your own Heroku" out of open source components. If Heroku is too constraining, you are forced to spin up your own servers on Amazon Web Services for part of your application, which eliminates lots of the advantages Heroku brings to the table. Last year there was a ton of excitement about Linux containers (LXC) and Docker, which is abstraction on top of LXC that makes them easier to manage. Both Heroku and Google Cloud use Linux containers internally, but they are closed-source implementations. Docker will likely begin to change that this year.
However, Docker alone is not a Heroku replacement. Much of the innovation in Heroku lies in the build packs and routing mesh, which Docker does not provide. Two other open source projects aim to become that layer on top of Docker, and these are the ones I’m most excited to watch. The first is Deis, which seems to be the furthest along in creating an open-source Heroku. Deis has both a routing mesh and an application layer created as well as scripts to automatically scale your “personal Heroku” on AWS, Digital Ocean and Rackspace. Flynn has many of the same goals, but doesn’t appear to be as far along. Deis has commercial support from Opsware, while Flynn is raising money Kickstarter-style to build out their platform. In any case, while Heroku is great, it is very exciting to see open source competitors come to the scene.