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.
Five Enterprise IT Game-Changers to Watch Closely
Zero-Cost Operating System Upgrades
While I know which operating system revision is running on my desktops and laptops, I don’t keep track of which version is running on my smartphone or tablets. The revisions don’t cost anything and, except for the rare glitch that happens in the background during upgrades, are seamless.
Apple has been lowering the operating system consumer cost curve for awhile (I remember the last one was $19). But now Apple has gone all the way in offering its latest version of OS X (Mavericks) for free.
Depending on how you look at it, Apple is either leading or following Microsoft on this one as the Windows 8.1 upgrades also come at no cost in most cases. CIOs are thoroughly frustrated with the operating system upgrade dance and I’m thinking the days of charging for the OS are coming to a thankful close.
The Next Desktop Virtualization
Virtualization is seen as an antidote for corporate networks that want to allow a wide range of mobile devices but also want to keep a secure space for corporate applications. Virtualization has been around a long time and has never become as widespread as advocates predicted.
The network, input/output and storage requirements combined with the swipe-based smartphone and tablet world have conspired to keep desktop virtualization—which is really a weak term in the laptop, smartphone, tablet world—in the niche category.
I’ve been watching Bromium (which just raised an additional $40 million) and is headed by Xen hypervisor co-creator Simon Crosby. The company’s technology creates micro-VMs, which create an isolated container for each task a user performs.
Malware is confined to the container and disappears when the task is completed rather than having access to the larger system resources. The technology is currently confined to running on Intel CPUs. But the concept is one of the really new approaches to end-point security. I wouldn’t bet against Simon Crosby.
Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor-in-chief at eWEEK (previously PC WEEK) from 1996-2008 authored this article for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this article. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.