Gartner’s long-awaited Top 10 strategic technological trends for 20151 have just been released this month and, for the second consecutive year2, one our most cherished topics at OCTO is prominently featured. In Gartner terminology, what we call the Practices of the Giants of the Web 3, 4 becomes Web-Scale IT , and is inspired by “large cloud services firms“5, 6. Here, we offer a brief overview of this trend for 2015.
Definition, source and scope of Web-Scale IT
Let’s start off by defining Web-Scale IT. Find below the meaning of the concept according to Gartner and read on for their rationale behind it:
« What is web-scale IT? It’s our effort to describe all of the things happening at large cloud services firms such as Google, Amazon, Rackspace, Netflix, Facebook, etc., that enables them to achieve extreme levels of service delivery as compared to many of their enterprise counterparts. »5 « Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are re-inventing the way IT in which IT services can be delivered. »2
It stands to reason that the astonishing IT capabilities delivered by the Giants of the Web, and their re-invention of IT, are what pushed Gartner to investigate their practices. Taken from that angle, the term Web-Scale IT used by Gartner is quite explicit: it’s about a new way of delivering IT services inspired by the practices of the leaders of the Web and operated at a worldwide web scale.
Now that the concept and its origins having been made explicit, what are the practices within the scope of Web-Scale IT? Gartner’s research note7 dedicated to Web-Scale IT mainly focuses on the competitive practices of these large cloud service operators. A large portion of the patterns we detail in our book, “The Giants of the Web”, are therefore also featured in Gartner’s list. Most notably:
- Commodity Hardware and scale-out
- Open API et API first
- NOSQL solutions and eventual consistency
- Feature teams
- 2-Pizza teams
- Design for failure
Gartner nevertheless places great emphasis on DevOps practices (within Web-Scale IT) probably due to a scope focused more on infrastructure-oriented practices of the “large cloud services firms”, whereas “The Giants of the Web” also includes practices rooted in the Lean Startup approach (cf. MVP, Lean Startup…).
Finally, and for aficionados of Gartner‘s predictions, the one concerning this approach states that “by 2017 Web-Scale IT will be an architectural approach found operating in 50% of global enterprises, up from less than 10 percent in 2013″8.
The underlying idea of Web-Scale IT is that traditional companies can be inspired to adopt some of the relevant, competitive IT practices of the Giants of the Web at organizational, cultural, or technical levels in order to improve their TTM, agility, and IT capabilities in general. The name Web-Scale IT, proposed and promoted by such a first-class opinion leader as Gartner, will certainly become broadly diffused in our industry; we will no doubt use it ever frequently in the future. For our part, we will closely follow further developments of Web-Scale IT, and its diffusion in our industry, all the while continuing to contribute to it – at our own scale!
 Gartner, Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, Press Release, 8 octobre 2014.
 Gartner, Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014, Press Release, 8 octobre 2013.
 geantsduweb.com (in French. English version in progress)
 OCTO, Les Géants du Web, Culture – Pratiques – Architecture, ouvrage collectif, novembre 2012.
 Cameron Haight, Enter Web-scale IT, Gartner, 16 mai 2013.
 Free preview of Gartner research, Use Web-Scale IT to Make Enterprise IT Competitive With the Cloud, Gartner.com, 15 mai 2013.
 Cameron Haight, Daryl C. Plummer, Use Web-Scale IT to Make Enterprise IT Competitive With the Cloud, ID: G00250754, Gartner, 10 p., 15 mai 2013.