• United States
Editor in Chief

Looking back at our 2003 predictions

Dec 15, 20033 mins

We made 10 predictions this time last year so it’s time to see how we did.

We made 10 predictions this time last year so it’s time to see how we did.

Self-healing and utility computing will be all the talk. This stuff popped up in product road maps from IBM to Veritas to Microsoft. But it’s still mostly talk. Industry watchers say the promise is still seven to 10 years off.

• Web services standards will progress, but companies will restrict projects to behind the firewall. True enough. The standards are widely accepted, but inter-company Web services remains bleeding edge despite acceptance of WS-Security as the building block for security.

We’ll hear more about business impact management, the idea of managing the network for application performance. That buzzword has faded away, but the basic premise is alive and well. Companies such as BMC and Mercury Interactive delivered products.

The arrival of wireless Ethernet cards that support 802.11a and 802.11b will spur adoption of 802.11a in the enterprise. We plain missed the fact that 802.11g – compatible with 11a and 11b – would cause a stir in ’03. But many customers say they will stick with 11b for now and move to 11a instead of 11g because the latter has fewer channels and is more prone to interference.

VoIP vendors will trumpet the benefits of SIP, which is music to the ears of customers holding off on VoIP investments. Mostly right. While major players such as 3Com, Avaya and Cisco dragged their feet on offering SIP gear, Alcatel, Mitel, Nortel and Siemens have pushed ahead.

The FCC will loosen telecom regulations, the industry will start to invest but one of the Bells will acquire WorldCom. Wrong on all accounts. Telco capex was down another 21% in ’03, and WorldCom, now MCI, is still solo.

Multifunction security boxes will grow in popularity. Right on. Large and small vendors alike are hawking appliances that combine firewall, intrusion detection and blocking, Web filtering, spam and anti-virus protection.

True 10G Ethernet switches will arrive, but the equipment will be expensive and the market still young. Most vendors deliver – Extreme, Cisco, Foundry, Force10, Enterasys – but the 5,000 ports shipped, according to IDC, represented less than $100 million, a fraction of the $12 billion Ethernet market. Young indeed.

PC-based servers will continue their ascendancy, with power and features that rival high-end enterprise boxes. Another layup. The industry is shifting to commodity components. IDC says “spending on industry standard x86 processor-based servers (32- and 64-bit) has already surpassed RISC as the dominant server processor platform.”

Server consolidation will continue unabated and blades will take off. Right on the consolidation front anyway, and everyone is in the blade game now, but sales haven’t exactly skyrocketed.

Roughly seven right, depending on how you count it. Not bad. In January we’ll look out over 2004.