Virtualization — the ghost in the machine — won top place in Gartner’s annual list of IT technologies that will likely impact your business in the next three years. Cloud computing came in No. 2. The power of the Web made itself felt, with Web-oriented architecture, enterprise mashups and social software and networking jumping up the list from last year. Oldie but goodie business intelligence is back in a new guise. Green IT, No. 1 last year, occupies the No. 10 spot in 2009. We’ll explain later.
Virtualization was singled out not for its newness — the concept has been around for decades — but for the myriad ways it provides value to the enterprise. Likening virtualization to a Swiss Army knife, Gartner analyst Carl Claunch said its uses extend well beyond servers now, to storage and client computing. And it is not just the cost savings that make this technology so compelling. Virtualization’s capacity to make computing appear simple and homogenous on the face of things, while accommodating the required complexity on the back end is perhaps its ultimate achievement, said Claunch. He presented the list with colleague David Cearley at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo going on in Orlando this week.
It’s hard to overstate how much the faithful who trek to Symposium get a charge out of this annual ritual. From the size of the crowd — cheek to jowl and standing-room only — you’d think Gartner was announcing this year’s Nobel laureates or the 10 finalists on American Idol. Technology rocks too.
The session went for about 45 minutes, with interesting analysis from Claunch and Cearley. I considered typing out the details, but the Gartner announcement of the top 10 gives you the rationale, if not all the nuances, for the rankings. And I’d much rather hear what you think of the list.
So, without further ado:
Gartner’s 2009 top 10 winners
2. Cloud computing
3. Servers — beyond blades
4. Web-oriented architectures (WOA)
5. Enterprise mashups
6. Specialized systems
7. Social software and social networking
8. Unified communications
9. Business intelligence
10. Green IT
Changes from the 2008 Strategic Technologies List
• Retired* from the list: Real World Web, business process modeling, metadata management.
• Topic retained and evolving from last year: Green IT, virtualization, unified communications, mashups (now listed as enterprise mashups), social software (adding an emphasis on the social networking aspect), WOA, beyond blades (was listed as fabric computing last year).
• New this year: Business intelligence, specialized systems, cloud computing (evolving from 2008 Web platform topic).
*Gartner: Removing a technology from the list does not mean it is no longer strategic. Rather, it reflects a shift in emphasis relative to other technologies now appearing on the list.