It’s the time of year when every pundit, analysis and researcher puts on his “Carnac the Magnificent” hat and tries to peer into the future to determine which trends will bubble to the top.

We’re no different, except for one thing: Top 10 lists are SO Letterman! So cliché!

So, in the spirit of differentiation, we present our Top NINE list of things to watch out for this year.

We fully expects kudos and brickbats come December.

9: Data exploration becomes a thing. Thanks to Hadoop, enterprise data analysts now have larger pools of information than ever before, and all of it can be queried, albeit somewhat slowly. While generating monthly and quarterly reports is a fine way to use Hadoop, the thing your data people should be getting excited about is the increasing amount of information you’ve put into your Hadoop cluster. With all that data just laying around, on disk, ready to be accessed, 2015 should be a great year for data spelunking.

8: RAD Tools come back. Rapid Application Development tools were a hip thing in the 1990s, but as time wore on, their often unsupportable back-end generated code made them gauche in many developer organizations. But the market is screaming for things like Visual BASIC again. Continuous Deployment dictates fast updates, and traditional software development by hand is just too slow for businesses that want prototypes yesterday. Android Developer Studio 1.0 was not quite RAD, but it was a step in this direction. Watch for growth in Web RAD tools in 2015.

7: Microsoft will continue the group hug. We’ve already called Microsoft the new Sun Microsystems, but we don’t expect Neil Young to show up on stage at Microsoft events any time soon. We do expect more open source, more community engagement, and more of this “new” Microsoft. Of course, we also expect competing project managers up there in Redmond to continue going after each other with baseball bats, so it’s not all going to change.

6: Diversity will remain a hot topic in software. More discussions about the state of software development from an HR perspective. More hurt feelings, more firings, more bad press for software companies, and more angry people on Twitter. Expect drama.

5: VR will finally be a thing. Oculus will ship. CastAR will ship. Morpheus from Sony will ship. Expect goggles. Goggles everywhere.

4: Application Performance Monitoring War intensifies. Expect that the most common sales calls and visits you’ll get in 2015 will be from application performance monitoring companies. There are dozens: Crittercism, Sumo Logic, New Relic, Dynatrace and others will all spend their millions of dollars in VC funding to attempt to kill each other. Expect blood in 2015.

3: Deployment disjunction rises to the surface. A large area for software development startups in 2014 was the deployment and build automation space. Many companies and products, such as Shippable and, HashiCorp’s new command-line tool Atlas, and others, are offering various ways to automate the workflow for developers deploying to a cloud environment. Testing, building, debugging, monitoring, all these tasks are moving to the cloud as well, causing developers to make choices about as-yet immature technology. Expect confusion in 2015.

2: Linux Containers will change application deployment and the data center as a whole. It’s been brewing for a year now, but 2015 is going to be the year everyone finally gets their Docker projects either into tests or, in some cases, into production. We’ve heard many organizations discussing containers lately, and most of them seem will be at the point where they’re ready to build full-scale experiments to evaluate the tech for production environments.

1: Linux Containers will rule the world. And those projects will almost all succeed in proving that containers are better than virtual machines. What won’t be as immediately apparent, however, will be the fact that these containers will also revolutionize services hosting, services coordination, and services testing. This is the transformation enterprises will really get from containers, and in 2015, they’ll start to understand this, thanks to those tests and experiments.