It was the best of times for Mozilla and other open-source applications and the worst of times for InfiniBand, personal privacy and dial-up (thank goodness). This according to eWeek Labs analysts, who looked back on the year that was as it pertains to the year that will be. What to watch in 2003? Among other things, Gigabit Ethernet, event-based and government-mandated security systems, and the burgeoning growth of wireless and IMwhether corporate IT likes it or not. ANALYST: Cameron SturdevantBIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: The rush by the federal government to collect personal data so that domestic spying can resume on a level not seen since the FBIs COINTELPROs started in the late 50s. Personal privacyand the ability to keep our private lives just thatare disappearing at about the same rate as the ozone layer. Customer privacy for everyone needs to be brought back as an expectation in the online world. MOST USEFUL: Altiris Client Management Suite, the newly spun-off LANDesk and bread-and-butter products like them. These are the quiet IT workhorse products that make getting new PCs ready for use a breeze. These products also make short work of recycling computer assets. SLIPPING OFF THE RADAR: The Distributed Management Task Force, much to my chagrin. The standards body certainly is not going away, but it has fallen victim to the IT budget crunch and the fact that most desktop management systems are good enough to get by without the standards work under way at the DMTF. YEARS BIGGEST TECH STORY: The failure of the oft-predicted tech recovery to materialize. Although Web services, the Microsoft antitrust proceedings, falling chip prices and new productivity tools all made a stir this year, the biggest technology story was the incredible shrinking job market. WHAT TO WATCH IN 2003: NetForensics, eSecurity, Intellitactics and Tivoli, among others, provide a means to process reams of network traffic information to pinpoint how and where security problems are likely affecting network performance or compromising data integrity. In addition, watch for significant advances in VOIP. LEVEL OF PRESCIENCE LAST YEAR: Last year, I said IT managers should beware of vendors attempting to sell products by exploiting fears caused by the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. They did, and corporate IT still needs to stay focused on bottom-line productivity. Dont confuse government spending on security with a useful trend in corporate IT.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: With Version 2003, Microsoft SMS overcame its shortcomings. In previous versions, SMS software metering scheme was needlessly hobbling, and it lacked checkpoint restart to support incremental distribution of software packages. Version 2003 delivered all that and more, allowing SMS to earn the title (after many, many years) of desktop management system.