ORLANDO -- If you had to pick 10 technology-related trends that will impact your enterprise infrastructure in the coming year, Gartner says you'd do well to start with virtualization and move to other issues such as social media influence, energy issues and flat networks to name a few.
At the Gartner Symposium IT/Expo, David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the Infrastructure teams with Gartner, said the Top 10 Trends show how IT is changing in that many of them in the past been outside the traditional purview of IT, but they will all affect how IT does its job in the future.
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The Top 10 Trends and their impact, briefly include:
1 The evolution of virtualization: Cappuccio says virtualization will ultimately drive more companies to treat IT like a business. The danger during the next few years will be in following a specific vendor's vision, though it is unlikely that any one vendor's vision will prevail. Users should have their own visions of architecture control, and build toward it with a constantly updated strategic plan.
2 Big data, patterns and analytics: Unstructured data will grow some 80% over the course of the next five years, creating a huge IT challenge. Technologies such as in-line deduplication, automated tiering of data to get the most efficient usage patterns per kilowatt, and flash or solid-state drives for higher-end performance optimization, will increase in importance over the next few years, Cappuccio said. Analytics and other systems to monitor for recurring data patterns that could develop into money making applications will also be important.
3. Energy efficiency and monitoring: The power issue has moved up the food corporate food chain, Cappuccio said. Nascent tools are beginning to roll out that can use analytic tools to watch power usage on a variety of levels. With the increased attention given to power consumption, it has become apparent that many systems are highly underutilized. At low utilization levels, they use a high percentage of their total energy draw. An average x86 server that is turned on, but idle, will draw upward of 65% of its nameplate wattage, for example. IT organizations need a clear inventory of what compute resources are doing and what workloads there is the potential for significant waste of energy.
4. Context aware apps: The big question here how to do something smart to take advantage of smartphones. Gartner has in the past said context-based computing will go beyond the business intelligence applications and truly make a unified communications environment possible by bringing together data culled from social networks and mobile-devices.
5. Staff retention and retraining: Here the idea is developing a plan to get people excited about their jobs enough to stay. And we'll need is as starting in 2011 an average of 10,000 baby boomers will be eligible to retire every day for the next 19 years, Cappuccio said. Loyalty to one company is not a quality found in new workers.
6. Social networks: Affordable and accessible technology has let individuals and communities come together in a new way - with a collective voice - to make statements about our organizations, the products/services we deliver and how we deliver them, Cappuccio said. The collective is made up of individuals, groups, communities, mobs, markets and firms that shape the direction of society and business. The collective is not new, but technology has made it more powerful -and enabled change to happen more rapidly Cappuccio said. The collective is just beginning to have an impact on business operations and strategies but most organizations do not have a plan for enabling or embracing it. Ignoring social networking is not an option, Cappuccio said.
7. Consumerization: The key trend here is the fact that new application types will be developed to address mobile users but they won't be desktop replacement applications. Still, a secure, well-defined strategy needs to be put into place to take advantage of this development, Cappuccio said.
8. Compute per square foot: Virtualization is one of the most critical components being used to increase densities and vertically scale data centers. If used wisely, average server performance can move from today's paltry 7% to 12% average to 40% to 50%, yielding huge benefits in floor space and energy savings. Two issues that need to be considered going forward are the number of cores per server -- four- and eight-core systems are becoming common, and 16 cores will be common within two years -- and overall data center energy trends. IT will also have to address things like performance/licensing, Cappuccio said
9. Cloud computing While cost is a potential benefit for small companies, the biggest benefits of cloud computing are built-in elasticity and scalability. As certain IT functions industrialize and become less customized, such as email, there are more possibilities for larger organizations to benefit from cloud computing, according to Cappuccio.
10. Fabrics: Gartner defines this infrastructure convergence as: The vertical integration of server, storage, and network systems and components with element-level management software that lays the foundation to optimize shared data center resources efficiently and dynamically. Systems put forth so far by Cisco and HP will unify network control but are not there yet.
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