Five Enterprise IT Game-Changers to Watch Closely

NEWS ANALYSIS: Here are five trends and companies that I'm currently watching that have the potential to bring significant positive change to enterprise IT.

IT game-changers are the new technologies and new companies with the potential to upset the traditional enterprise landscape. Cloud computing, mobile devices, social networks and big data are now widely seen as game-changers, but they were once shrugged off as no big deal. Here are five recent game-changers I’m watching.

CIOs Move to the Cloud

The shift towards cloud computing is now on. But the questions of how fast and which applications will head for the cloud versus which will remain on-premise or hybrid systems are still unresolved.

The analysts at Gartner recently released survey results which contend that 28 percent of CIOs expect to source all critical applications and operations via the cloud by 2016, and 55 percent expect to do so by 2020. This is a huge shift from the early days of cloud computing, which saw CIOs reluctant to move any business-critical applications to the cloud.

The best bellwether of cloud computing is Amazon Web Services. However, in their most recent financial reports, SAP, IBM and Oracle all described their cloud revenues as relatively small but rapidly ramping up.

While the hybrid model where companies mix their on-premise applications with cloud-based services remains a comforting model for vendors, analyst projections, such as those provided by Gartner, suggest the shift may happen faster and in a more comprehensive manner than the hybrid crowd advocates.

New Business Analytics

Business intelligence is often the No. 1 priority for CIOs. However, the rise of digital-based businesses, with their millions of transactions and global customer bases, strains not only traditional SQL type databases but even non-traditional NoSQL models face the difficulty of compiling and analyzing these vast data seas.

I’m intrigued by companies such as New Relic, which takes a service approach to software analytics and applies ad hoc analysis to application performance. The vast amounts of digital data surrounding company operations requires a new way of collecting, analyzing and acting on data. The company recently announced its Rubicon application performance management analysis package. It is worth a look.

A New Storage Model

Along the same idea of digital data requiring a new method of analysis, new storage models are also required in the Internet era. Despite advances in solid state and in-memory computing, the tiered method of data storage remains the predominant storage architecture in the enterprise.

Seagate is attempting to shake up the model with its Kinetic storage model. The Kinetic model uses an open API and Ethernet to connect applications directly to bulk hard-drive storage. It follows the software-defined models where software replaces traditional hardware layers of compute, storage and network interaction. Again, it's worth a look.