If yesterday is an archive and today is a real-time view, then tomorrow is an idea that encompasses both history and present-day experience. That’s the concept behind the following eWEEK articles, which look at technology trends for 2012:
- Cloud Computing Seeks a New Identity
- Five Key Enterprise Development Trends
- Network Breaches Herald More Advanced Attacks in 2012
- RIM, Microsoft Bets Hint at Radical Change
The overriding theme for 2012 is control of data: how data enters a system, where it resides, how it is processed, and who can access and manage it, as well as who can store and archive data. That’s where the real power is. Those who know how to control both the archival and current views are most often the ones who come up with significant new ideas and promote business progress.
IT that is progressive is already well-established and will gain even more ground in 2012. These critically important technology trends include cloud services and systems; data centers that use less electricity; the larger-than-life workloads and storage capacities we call “big data”; the increasing use of automation in systems of all kinds; the integration of business intelligence into just about everything; and the ever-growing volume of stored data in all its formats.
Important developments that we will see-and that eWEEK will examine-in 2012 enterprise IT include:
- Full automation of major IT systems will continue as a major trend
- The availability of more cloud-based software and services than one can imagine
- The rapid ascendance of hybrid cloud systems
- Exabyte-scale storage systems (thousands of petabytes!)
- Data center systems that use less electricity, yet churn out more and larger workloads
- Vastly increased usage of data analytics deployments-and not just inside large enterprises
- New and improved unified data center controls that include monitoring of data flow and storage, as well as all the physical facilities.
One of the most interesting developments around enterprise applications is a new cloud-based security control layer for browsers that will enable airtight utilization of any personal connected device for secure business use. Equipped with startup Authentic8’s cloud service, any browser can be secured by enterprise policies ahead of time based on the needs of the business and the employee. So any connected device can be used at any time to do the work.
This has broad implications for a whole range of use cases. Since the vast majority of crimeware, rootkits, spyware, viruses and other Web-transported malware enter a device via the browser, this effectively cuts the head off all those problems. eWEEK will be covering Authentic8 as it comes out of semi-stealth mode and brings its service to market in early 2012.
This new development may cause some consternation in the virtual desktop world, a sector that has succeeded in some markets but has been spinning its wheels in others for more than a decade. It has yet to gain the widespread adoption that its proponents had expected.
Doing More With Less
Every enterprise certainly strives to get as much out of its IT investment as possible. This has never been truer than in the first decade of this century, in which a global financial crisis has shaken the economic stability of many nations, let alone companies and individuals.
These days, more huge data centers loaded with servers, storage arrays and networking boxes are being controlled by fewer people because new-generation systems management software is automating tasks once done manually.
Apple, for example, just opened a huge new data center (costing about $1 billion) in Maiden, N.C., that one would expect to require a staff of several hundred technicians. In reality, only 50 new full-time workers will be hired. The facility practically runs itself from a few stations, and some of those can be remote if necessary. Good for Apple, certainly; not good for the local economy.
Furthermore, the menu- and drag-and-drop user interfaces have become so familiar and easy to use that coding and scripting front-facing applications and cloud-service deployments have basically become a thing of the past.
Now 20- and 30-something businesspeople who have grown up with Windows and Mac OS systems know how to use these interfaces, and they are installing and running these new software instances. They’re even creating new virtual machines to handle the workloads.
That used to be the domain of the computer science major. Now marketing and businesspeople are fulfilling those IT functions on a daily basis.
Another data center innovation we’ll see in 2012 is that heat from servers/storage/networking in data centers will be channeled for other purposes, such as heating other buildings. Just as some frigid geographic locations bring in cold air to cool their data centers and reduce their electrical draw, heat generated from all that hardware will be used to provide warmth where needed.
So Many Devices, So Little Time
Another trend that won’t go away anytime soon is the proliferation of personal devices that will connect to data centers via the cloud. Not only are these devices designed to last for only a few years so that you’ll need to upgrade them regularly, some analysts report that the average consumer in the Americas, EMEA and the Far East will own seven connected devices by 2013-if they don’t already.
Some industry watchers feel that’s a conservative estimate. An informal eWEEK poll of about 100 savvy users (mostly journalists) revealed that they all own 10 to 20 connected devices.
When one considers smartphones, laptops, tablet PCs, desktop PCs (yes, people still buy them), connected cars, GPS systems, Web-connected security systems, music players and other technologies, there is certainly no shortage of choices out there.
In summary, if you haven’t already done so, you should take control of your personal IT in 2012-especially if it overlaps your professional life because it’s getting more and more difficult to separate the two.