Trend No. 4: Virtualization management, tracking and automation
The rapid adoption of virtualization technology, not to mention the new vendors entering the market, will make virtualization management, tracking and automation particularly important in the coming year. The additional layer of abstraction that comes with virtualization introduces more dependencies-and therefore more risk-to already complex business applications. Multivendor virtualization introduces even more complexity and requires additional IT skill sets. If you can't properly manage your virtual environment, it can create new IT problems and actually cost your business more instead of less.
For example, a recent survey of 137 user organizations concluded that "lack of visibility into entire transaction flow" and "inability to anticipate performance issues while conducting virtualization projects" were the top two obstacles standing between businesses and optimization of application performance in virtualized environments.
Virtual machine sprawl-this rising tide of invisible servers-is the new threat to operational efficiency. To combat VM sprawl, organizations need to understand where their physical and virtual assets are within their IT infrastructure, as well as the relationships and interdependencies between them. This ensures that end-to-end application dependencies remain clear to support accurate change impact analysis, reduce system outages and increase service availability.
Trend No. 5: Renewed focus on software license compliance
As companies look to cut costs, another key trend in 2009 will be discovering ways to identify and eliminate unused data center software and ensure license compliance. Software licenses are usually contracted based on expected rather than actual use, making it hard to determine when companies are no longer compliant with their licensing agreements. As a result, software is often either heavily over-purchased (which is cost-ineffective) or under-licensed (which can cause serious legal ramifications). Businesses face an ongoing struggle to manage multiple versions and patch levels for instances of the same software product, reducing their infrastructure agility and resiliency.
It's clear that 2009 will be a year of cutting costs and streamlining IT operations to generate an economic and environmental benefit. But before companies can start down that road, they first need to know what's there, what it's connected to and what's changing in their IT environment. It may then be a challenge for a company to uncover which method, or combination of methods, works best for it. But it will certainly be interesting to see how the year plays out, and what innovative technologies emerge as a result.
Adam Kerrison is CTO at Tideway Systems. Adam has experience in the delivery of software products into operational IT environments that give a true and rapid return on investment. Adam was most recently CTOat Micromuse, with responsibility for direction and road map of Netcool products. While at Micromuse, Adam worked his way through the ranks from support engineer via senior vice president of development to CTO.
Between 1989 and 1990, Adam worked as a software engineer for GEC Avionics on real-time modules for jet fighter head-up displays, relational database design and implementation. Adam has a First Class BSc in Computer Science from Greenwich University, United Kingdom. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.