[WP_IMAGE]The water is boiling in datacenter land. In the space of two weeks I’ve covered the release of VMware vSphere 5.0 last month followed by Salesforece.com’s unleashing of the “social enterprise” at Dreamforce and then up to Redmond for a secret squirrel meeting about something I can’t talk about until tomorrow after Microsoft’s Build conference keynote.This is an exciting time to be in enterprise IT. Of course, budgets are tight, job security is precarious, and “marketecture” is billowing with breathless talk of virtualization, consumerization of IT and, of course, the cloud. But really, it is an exciting time in technology and important changes are afoot.Datacenter virtualization is insistently, persistently and inexorably pushing aside the “one server, one application” model. This has a couple of consequences. The first is that datacenter operations are going to become much more efficient when it comes to compute utilization, energy consumption and physical footprint. Second, the number of virtual machines appears set to eat up all this new found efficiency thereby requiring an even greater adherence to management practices that strictly enforce service level agreements and the virtual machine lifecycle.Further, there is a developing choice to be made between on-premise and cloud-based computing. This is an exciting choice because there are real consequences and opportunities for IT managers. Operational efficiency, predictable pricing, and availability (a term itself that has several dimensions: available on the user device-of-choice, available when needed, available yet securely controlled, just to name a few.) IT managers are in a position to make consequential decisions that will have real impact on business success. Sure, that can be somewhat unsettling but it can also be quite exhilarating.Quite frankly, it has been some time since IT got a chance to shine. Y2K (happening as it did in the midst of the tech stock bubble) was certainly a free spending time, but the underlying work was mostly break-fix, not strategic change. The advent of wide scale virtualization, cloud computing, mobile handset advances and the rocket ride that is powered my Moore’s Law make 2011 a different period.Pay attention to the technology coming out of the vendor conferences this year. Make plans that carry you through 2015. And open your mind to the possibilities that IT can go from 80% operations to 80% business enablement.