What do Google, Microsoft and IBM have in common? Sure, they all compete in collaboration software, but in 2010, they will compete in the cloud. Microsoft and IBM are following the search engine giant’s hosted computing model with their own SAAS (software-as-a-service) products. Collaboration isn’t the only tech sector playing in the cloud. We’re already seeing cloud offerings in business intelligence, while Amazon Web Services provides complete compute cycles from its data center. Cloud computing is reprising its appearance from Gartner’s list from 2008.
3Reshaping the Data Center
The rise of cloud computing, which includes adding more servers as required, has altered the way data centers are designed. Gartner said that design principles for data centers were simple in the past. Businesses would figure out what they have, estimate growth for 15 to 20 years, then build to those specifications. Today’s data centers include huge areas of white floor space, fully powered and backed by a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), water- and air-cooled. But Gartner claims businesses should apply a modular approach to building, constructing only what’s needed for five to seven years. If companies need more, they can build it later.
4Virtualization for Availability
Virtualization has made the Gartner list again, but for 2010 the firm is preaching virtualization for availability. This encompasses live migration, or the movement of a running virtual machine while its operating system and other applications continue to execute as if they remained on the original physical server. The idea is to use a single knob that can be tuned to any level, obviating the need for high-reliability hardware, fail-over software and fault-tolerant hardware without sacrificing availability. The result? Big, big cost savings.
With virtualization bringing new ways of packaging client computing applications, Gartner argues that choosing a PC hardware platform and operating system becomes less critical. The researcher recommends that enterprises construct a five- to eight-year client computing road map addressing device standards, ownership and support; operating system and application selection, deployment and update; and management and security plans to manage diversity.
6IT for Green
Called green IT by Gartner the last two years, the firm now says the smart use of IT can boost an enterprise’s green credentials. IT can also provide the analytic tools that others in the enterprise may use to reduce energy consumption in the transportation of goods or other carbon management activities. Google, IBM, Microsoft and several other vendors are big green IT supporters.
Mobile applications would top the list for many companies, particularly Internet-driven businesses such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, which are greedily eyeing mobile search and display ads. Gartner claims that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry smartphones, or some sort of handset that enables mobile commerce and other Web services. The iPhone has catapulted mobile apps into the consumers’ consciousness, with enterprise users following. The emerging Google Android-based smartphones, such as Verizon’s Droid, will advance this movement.
Companies have long been using business intelligence to build windows into their operations. They could further help themselves by embracing more analytical tools to simulate how actions they take will affect business processes for CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning) or other applications.
Serving as the storage technology behind our beloved USB memory sticks and digital camera cards, flash memory is considered fast but expensive. Yet as with most technologies, the cost of flash is dropping, opening the door for additional market placement in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems.
Returning from the last two years, social computing takes into account the idea that workers spurn internal- and external-facing environments to support their work. Gartner says enterprises must focus both on the use of social software in the enterprise and participation and integration with externally facing enterprise-sponsored and public communities.
11Security: Activity Monitoring
While classic security techniques have tried to bar malicious intruders from attacks, companies are embracing monitoring and analysis tools to identify and isolate suspicious activity.