Doing More With Less
Every enterprise certainly strives to get as much out of its IT investment as possible. This has never been truer than in the first decade of this century, in which a global financial crisis has shaken the economic stability of many nations, let alone companies and individuals. These days, more huge data centers loaded with servers, storage arrays and networking boxes are being controlled by fewer people because new-generation systems management software is automating tasks once done manually.Apple, for example, just opened a huge new data center (costing about $1 billion) in Maiden, N.C., that one would expect to require a staff of several hundred technicians. In reality, only 50 new full-time workers will be hired. The facility practically runs itself from a few stations, and some of those can be remote if necessary. Good for Apple, certainly; not good for the local economy.Furthermore, the menu- and drag-and-drop user interfaces have become so familiar and easy to use that coding and scripting front-facing applications and cloud-service deployments have basically become a thing of the past. Now 20- and 30-something businesspeople who have grown up with Windows and Mac OS systems know how to use these interfaces, and they are installing and running these new software instances. They're even creating new virtual machines to handle the workloads. That used to be the domain of the computer science major. Now marketing and businesspeople are fulfilling those IT functions on a daily basis. Another data center innovation we'll see in 2012 is that heat from servers/storage/networking in data centers will be channeled for other purposes, such as heating other buildings. Just as some frigid geographic locations bring in cold air to cool their data centers and reduce their electrical draw, heat generated from all that hardware will be used to provide warmth where needed.
So Many Devices, So Little TimeAnother trend that won't go away anytime soon is the proliferation of personal devices that will connect to data centers via the cloud. Not only are these devices designed to last for only a few years so that you'll need to upgrade them regularly, some analysts report that the average consumer in the Americas, EMEA and the Far East will own seven connected devices by 2013-if they don't already. Some industry watchers feel that's a conservative estimate. An informal eWEEK poll of about 100 savvy users (mostly journalists) revealed that they all own 10 to 20 connected devices. When one considers smartphones, laptops, tablet PCs, desktop PCs (yes, people still buy them), connected cars, GPS systems, Web-connected security systems, music players and other technologies, there is certainly no shortage of choices out there. In summary, if you haven't already done so, you should take control of your personal IT in 2012-especially if it overlaps your professional life because it's getting more and more difficult to separate the two.