Virtualization

Gartner's top 10 technologies IT leaders should watch for 2009-2011

On Tuesday, Gartner analysts Carl Claunch and Dave Cearley gave a crowd of IT leaders at the Gartner Symposium 2008 a list of the top 10 technologies that will provide important strategic advantages to IT over the next three years.

On Tuesday, Gartner analysts Carl Claunch and Dave Cearley gave a crowd of IT leaders at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2008 a list of the top 10 technologies that will provide important strategic advantages to IT over the next three years. They encouraged the leaders to keep these technologies in mind as they formulate budgets and long-term plans.

Claunch and Cearley delivered their list in the presentation "Top 10 Strategic Technology Areas for 2009" at the Orlando event. Here's how they defined the "strategic technologies" that made the list:

"A strategic technology is one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. Companies should factor these technologies into their strategic planning process by asking key questions and making deliberate decisions about them during the next two years. Sometimes the decision will be to do nothing with a particular technology. In other cases it will be to continue investing in the technology at the current rate. In still other cases the decision may be to test/pilot or more aggressively adopt/deploy the technology."

Here's the list:

Now, let's take a closer look at each of these areas, and I'll add my take on each one.

1. Virtualization

They say: Server virtualization is already in process. Today, the two biggest opportunities in virtualization are in storage and desktops. Storage virtualization offers simplified access by pooling systems and can save big money with storage deduplication. Desktop virtualization allows users to have a portable personality across multiple systems, delivering a thick client experience with a thin client delivery model. I say: The biggest factor that could drive desktop virtualization will be the advent of cheep $100-$200 thin clients (nettops) based on Intel Atom processors. In terms of storage virtualization, dedeplication -- if effective -- could be a huge money saver because every enterprise has tons of duplicate versions of files clogging up their file servers.

2. Cloud Computing

They say: You need to be very careful about all of the hype, but you need to take it very seriously as well. They think 80% of Fortune 1000 companies will be using some form of cloud computing services by 2012. They encouraged IT leaders to consider the back-end infrastructure and policies of cloud providers and to carefully the development models. I say: Claunch and Cearley briefing mentioned the one reason why a lot of IT leaders will eventually adopt cloud computing:  It can allow IT to move a significant chunk of money from capital expenditures to operating expenditures. That's the story.

3. Servers: Beyond Blades

They say: Blade servers introduced a shared a computing fabric that allowed some recombination of components and some efficiencies. The fabric-based server of the future will treat memory, processors and I/O cards as components in a pool, combining and recombining them into particular arrangements to suit the needs of the server load. I say: This sounds terrific in principle because it's about greater utilization of resources. But, how will this relate to virtualization, where the software layer is being abstracted in much the same way? Can the two work together to provide even more dynamic server resources? I also wonder about licensing, especially since this involves CPUs, which a lot of licensing is being tied to.

4. Web-Oriented Architectures

They say: Expect Internet, Web and cloud-based concepts (such as SOA) to increasingly drive mainstream architectures and development models. I say: We've been hearing this for almost a decade now. I hope that the model is finally changing -- it's overdue -- but as my ZDNet colleague Larry Dignan likes to say, "Hope is not a strategy."

5. Enterprise Mashups

They say: Mashups mix content from multiple sources by using feeds from public application programming interfaces (APIs). Enterprises are now investigating taking mashups from cool Web hobby to enterprise-class systems to augment their models for delivering and managing applications. I say: The best part about mashups is that they eliminate duplication of effort by allowing developers to componetize their code and then re-use it themselves and offer others the ability to use it as well. There needs to be better tools for doing this and then developers need to get in the habit of thinking about what they can turn into mashable components during the development process.

6. Specialized Systems

They say: Specialized server appliances can save IT time because they are largely preconfigured, but they also are not as flexible and can't be reused as easily. A new category called heterogenous systems is emerging that offers mix-and-match hardware. Heterogeneous systems are prebuilt and supported by vendors, rather than custom-built by IT departments. I say: IT should allow experts to preconfigure systems as much as possible and whenever it makes sense. If heterogenous systems can further commoditize servers then it's a good thing because it will drive down costs and increase selection. Even better are virtualized appliances, which provide nearly all the benefits of appliances without the hardware drawbacks.

7. Social Software and Social Networking

They say: Your organization is an entity in the broad Social Web. Get to know Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, LinkedIn and other social sites and applications. Listen to the language of social media, before starting to speak. I say: Beyond just looking to send out marketing messages via social networks, companies need to look at the ways social networking can allow them to better listen to customers and to empower employees to become better connected in their industry and specialty. But beware, social networking can become a time-sink and a productivity killer when not used in a disciplined way.

8. Unified Communications

They say: Enterprises are realizing that they have multiple products and vendors performing the same communications functions, and that this redundancy creates additional expense, makes it more difficult for users to learn, and increases the complexity of integration. In the next three years the number of communications I say: What is the future of the good old business desk phone? Some companies such as Cisco see the desk phone becoming a video and data device. Others see the desk phone going away and mobile phones (with both a business number and a personal number) becoming the sole voice device for most business users.

9. Business Intelligence

They say: Business intelligence (BI) is one of the most powerful things you can deliver to business decision makers. Even though  we've all been doing it for years, we're not doing it very well because too much of the data is stuck in silos. Companies need to get serious and systematic about implementing BI and performance management solutions because they fuel smarter decisions and better results. I say: Companies now have lots of ways to collect data. The problem is that there aren't as many good ways to dig into that data and quickly and easily turn it into actionable reports, graphs, and dashboards. That's what business intelligence should be about -- making the data easily accessible to the employees who need that data to make better decisions.

10. Green IT

They say: Consider potential regulations and have alternative plans for data center and capacity growth. Many are looking at energy efficiency or 'green' products simply for the practical advantages in energy savings. Some companies are emphasizing green activities as part of their social responsibility. A socially conscious CEO may have funds to support some IT changes that result in a greener company. I say: Green IT is here to stay, even in a difficult economic environment. Energy will be one of the pre-eminent public concerns of the next decade and energy conservation will be an important part of the discussion. IT departments need to act now to start measuring the energy consumption of IT infrastructure and looking for strategic opportunities to reduce it, before they are forced to act due to government intervention.

Run, Grow, Transform

Cearley encouraged the attendees to ask, "How will these technologies effect the way that you run the business, grow the business, and transform the business?" With that in mind, the two analysts closed with a sample action plan based on those three principles (see below).

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

14 comments
tschadler
tschadler

The CAPEX to OPEX swap that cloud-based services provide is the big story of cloud for the business, hence for IT. http://tinyurl.com/5wzcm4. It will ultimately redefine the IT industry. Nick got that part right (not sure about the Google paranoia part, though). The real question is how will IT drive and capitalize on that shift? Lots of analysis to do on that one.

thomas_w_bowman
thomas_w_bowman

Best use of Web-Oriented Architectures may be using Mainframes as servers (CICS now supports HTML Interfaces directly), OS(zOS,MVS) and Software(COBOL) Stability and channels make Mainframes ideal servers capable of very fast thruput. Also highly maintainable

No User
No User

Just about the only compelling reason to adopt Cloud computing and of course it depends on your definition of Cloud computing because it can be completely different things and that would be their "gartner's" sentence "It can allow IT to move a significant chunk of money from capital expenditures to operating expenditures." It certainly wouldn't be the great benefits, security and cost. Yep it would have to be something as stupid as an accounting trick that would compel the switch to the Cloud and not SOUND IT JUDGMENT!!!! I would say their "gartner's" example is very telling of their scope and position in general when it comes to IT. It's what the twits who screw everything up want to make the books reflect a certain way and not a strategic move that is based on principal, sound judgment and has a solid foundation. Tony I think your over stating gartner's IT knowledge. ;) As for the other 9 predictions.... Take IT headline news articles in 2008 put them on a wall and throw 10 darts make list from the results. Did anybody say Green IT this year with gas prices through the roof dah.

debuggist
debuggist

The data model behind each feed determines what kind of mashup you can create. If you have control of the feeds, then you need to carefully plan what data each feed can expose. Now that Twitter is here, newsletters are so passe. Is parallel programming #11?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The new buzword is "Cloud" which is nothing more than rebranding centralized computing to get the consumers excited again. It's purely marketing spin of the ages old mainframe/dumpclient method. Within a company where the data and applications are not going beyond the LAN; it makes some sense to consider it. A browser hosted application adds complexity due to a stateless protocol (server forgets that I'm still filling out html forms) and server responsiveness (I get lots of 404s from my webapp interface and it's never as fast as a local app). But, the application and data belongs to the company so centralizing both can be a good idea when done correctly. But it's all just mainframes rebranded. Nothing new here.. just an updated power-tie on the sales rep.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

crude oil and of course those nice fellas in opec don't put a squeeze on to drive it back up. Green IT still isn't going to get a look in during the credit crunch. On the same basis you can watch the cloud get burnt up, the infra-structure investments to provide an even vaguely reliable service, is going to be out of reach for a while. Me I'll go for get more from less, don't rock the boat type initiatives. So even with my gross over estimation of Gartner's technical credibility :p , I still can't do better than none of the above.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There are few oxymorons as accurate as: Military Intelligence Free Love Fox News There is a reason Fox is refered to as Infotainment rather than an authoritative news service. Now, I'm not unwilling to believe there is truth in the reports but if Fox is the only source you can find for it then there is very little to e concerned about. Information Security in general won't go away. I think it was left off the list because it is not a technology. Blinky lights and shiny boxes are only one part of the overall area of expertise. Security is about best practices, policies, planning from the beginning of a project onward and much more than it is about having the right technology slapped in place as an afterthought. It's a bit like waying "Why was IT not on the list of technologies". In the case of breaches like the Fox report if not that specific case; maybe one day the public will take more interest in how often they are left waving in the wind and start to hold companies responsible for the data they collect and sell. How many places ask for one's social insurance number; how many places actually have any right or need to ahve that number?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in the first place? The basic rule with a another pile of shite from Gartner is use it as indicator of a bad way to go. What they know about technology can be written on the back of a microdot with a 4" brush

reisen55
reisen55

The mania for outsourcing information technology by American management is exposing far more client and secure data than is ever recognized. I note that Gartner did not mention Outsourcing as something to watch this year. Interesting. The significance of outsourcing data centers into the hands of third world management is that you are, essentially, placing your data and your companies data (clients too) into the hands of a group of total strangers. Their only connect is by a contract that is MORE IMPORTANT than doing a good job, keeping standards, etc. A contract may state a fact, but data is at horrendous risk. Internal IT personnel were (what few are actually left) the most dedicated and hard working staff any company could have. We worked hugely long hours, weekends, consumed gallons of coffee and often got little sleep just so users could arrive fresh Monday morning and everything is right with the world. WE kept our data secure. Outsourcers do not necessarily care about that. Fact: Over 200 servers at Aon Group were compromised by a worm in 2006. See the CSC website as they wrote it up as - astonishment - a GOOD THING because they attacked the issue like Patton's Third Army in the Bulge. Incredible bad marketing. And bad server management. Internal IT would never let that happen on that scale. How much data, how much client data, was compromised? Who knows? And THAT is the truly frightening part. Nobody knows.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

There's only Risk Management. :-) Seriously though, that's what today's IT security is all about - managing risk and prioritizing activities and tasks based on the risk assessment.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Heck, I'm a little uneasy with third party backup services but farming out the data centre to a third party is madness. The data is the company's life blood between dicision making and supply chain tracking. It's my biggest problem with the new "Cloud" buzword. Trust my data storage to a faceless third party motivated only by profit margins with my intimate data? Not unless the CEO come to an understanding that it's that or my job and only after presenting all the reasons why it's not a good idea.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

CSIO's have the job of managing risks related to information security in an environment where everyone else makes decisions that effect the CSIO's career. There is a technical term for CSIO's who allow there company to make the front page; Waiter. (hehe.. I love that joke.. it scares me with my chosen career path.. but I love it still.)