Data center transformation, green IT, cloud computing, and virtualization management and automation will be among the top IT trends in 2009. This will also be a year of cutting costs and streamlining IT operations to generate economic and environmental benefits. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Adam Kerrison highlights five key IT trends to watch in 2009.
The current state of the economy has made it critical for companies to adopt
a small-business mentality of doing more with less. Cutting costs will be one
of the most important trends moving into 2009 and will drive many IT decisions
throughout the year.
As enterprises put forth their most strategic efforts to streamline
operations and combat declining revenues, they'll turn to technology that can
deliver fast time-to-value, help optimize resources and show a measurable ROI.
These types of initiatives are also most likely to receive sign-off as budgets
continue to tighten.
There are a number of ways to optimize and reduce costs within today's IT
infrastructures. Here are five IT trends to watch during the next 12 months:
Trend No. 1: Data center transformation
The economic downturn is bringing data center transformation initiatives to the
fore, as is the increasing demand for space. In 2008 alone, the need for data
center space grew 14 percent worldwide. Yet, during the same period, the inventory
of available space only increased by 6 percent.
While a recent survey
found that only 20 percent of surveyed technology decision makers plan to take
on "complete transformation" of their data centers in 2009, the
remaining 80 percent are looking to implement individual data center
transformation projects including automation (64 percent), green IT (60
percent), operations management (59 percent), virtualization (59 percent) and
business continuity (58 percent).
Data center transformation initiatives such as relocation, consolidation,
hardware replacement and virtualization will enable companies to leverage what
they already have, consolidate space within existing data centers and
immediately reduce costs. Before undertaking such projects, IT professionals
need to conduct a baseline of their infrastructure. A baseline will give
companies a snapshot of their entire infrastructure and should be the first
step in any major data center transformation project. Your business can't
manage what it can't measure, so this type of insight into your IT
infrastructure will make data center transitions and tasks more manageable. It
will also enable companies to identify end-of-life or aging software-an essential
component of tracking down and eliminating unnecessary costs.
Trend No. 2: Greener, leaner IT
Besides the obvious environmental benefits a greener IT environment offers,
the financial and business continuity incentives of an eco-friendly
infrastructure are substantial. Green technology helps companies cut costs,
remove data center waste and meet escalating energy requirements. With
President Obama's push to decrease global emissions and boost green energy
programs, requirements for green IT are sure to escalate.
Data center power consumption can cause astronomical costs and wasted resources.
Between 2000 and 2006, data center power consumption costs doubled to $4.5
billion and could double again by 2011, according to the United
States government. An efficient (read:
green) data center uses about 25 percent less electricity than a run-of-the-mill
one, which could amount to $4.5 million a year in savings at a midsized
Some companies are already experimenting with creative ways to decrease data
centers' carbon footprint. Google
is attempting to float data centers on the ocean,
Intel is seeing if it can
cool data centers with outside air and Microsoft is trying to establish an
center inside a tent.
But until other companies have an excess of funds to
invest in such new, large-scale technology, they'll have to figure out how to make
what they already have greener.
Trend No. 3: Cloud computing
It's clear that IT is moving toward a service-oriented future and cloud
computing is one of the hottest trends. Cloud computing provides a single point
of access for an enterprise's computing needs, allowing the organization to cut
costs and create a leaner IT environment. But for all its benefits, cloud
computing also presents a number of infrastructure management challenges,
including in the areas of availability, security, policy and support. To combat
these challenges, it's critical for businesses to understand their IT
infrastructure before and after they move to the cloud.
Maximizing the cloud requires a certain level of IT transparency, as well
as a thorough understanding of each infrastructure component and how it
relates to others. Without this, companies will lack valuable insight into the
cause and effect within their IT estates-which could adversely affect cloud
operations down the road.