Gartner, Inc. analysts highlighted the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2009 during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held in Orlando through October 16.
Some of the technologies listed were the obvious, like virtualization and cloud computing, and Gartner predicts that servers will evolve beyond the blade server stage that exists today.
Gartner’s definition of a strategic technology is one that could have a significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. The analysts looked at factors like high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major financial investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.
These technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives. They may be strategic because they have matured to broad market use or because they enable strategic advantage from early adoption.
Gartner’s the top 10 strategic technologies for 2009 include:
Virtualization. In addition to server virtualization, virtualization in storage and client devices is also moving rapidly as a way to eliminate duplicate copies of data on the real storage devices while maintaining the illusion to the accessing systems that the files are as originally stored (data deduplication). This can significantly decrease the cost of storage devices and media to hold information.
Hosted virtual images deliver a near-identical result to blade-based PCs. But, instead of the motherboard function being located in the data center as hardware, it is located there as a virtual machine bubble. However, despite ambitious deployment plans from many organizations, deployments of hosted virtual desktop capabilities will be adopted by fewer than 40 percent of target users by 2010.
Cloud Computing. Cloud computing providers deliver computing capabilities “as a service” to external companies and the services are delivered in a highly scalable and elastic fashion using Internet technologies and techniques.
Although cost is a potential benefit for small companies, the biggest benefits are the built-in elasticity and scalability, which not only reduce barriers to entry, but also enable these companies to grow quickly. As certain IT functions are industrializing and becoming less customized, there are more possibilities for larger organizations to benefit from cloud computing.
Servers — Beyond Blades. Servers are evolving beyond the blade server stage that exists today. This evolution will simplify the provisioning of capacity to meet growing needs.
The organization tracks the various resource types, for example, memory, separately and replenishes only the type that is needed, so companies don’t have to pay for all resource types to upgrade capacity. It also simplifies the inventory of systems, eliminating the need to track and purchase various sizes and configurations. The result will be higher utilization because of lessened “waste” of resources that are in the wrong configuration or that come along with the needed processors and memory in a fixed bundle.
Web-Oriented Architectures. The Internet is arguably the best example of an agile, interoperable and scalable service-oriented environment in existence. This level of flexibility is achieved because of key design principles inherent in the Internet/Web approach, as well as the emergence of Web-centric technologies and standards that promote these principles.
The use of Web-centric models to build global-class solutions cannot address the full breadth of enterprise computing needs. However, Gartner expects that continued evolution of the Web-centric approach will enable its use in an ever-broadening set of enterprise solutions during the next five years.
Enterprise Mashups.Enterprises are now investigating taking mashups from cool Web hobby to enterprise-class systems to augment their models for delivering and managing applications.
Through 2010, the enterprise mashup product environment will experience significant flux and consolidation, and application architects and IT leaders should investigate this growing space for the significant and transformational potential it may offer their enterprises.
Specialized Systems. Appliances have been used to accomplish IT purposes, but only with a few classes of function have appliances prevailed. Heterogeneous systems are an emerging trend in high-performance computing to address the requirements of the most demanding workloads, and this approach will eventually reach the general-purpose computing market. Heterogeneous systems are also specialized systems with the same single-purpose imitations of appliances, but the heterogeneous system is a server system into which the owner installs software to accomplish its function.
Social Software and Social Networking. Social software includes a broad range of technologies, such as social networking (Facebook), social collaboration, social media and social validation. Organizations should consider adding a social dimension to a conventional Web site or application and should adopt a social platform sooner, rather than later, because the greatest risk lies in failure to engage and thereby, being left mute in a dialogue where your voice must be heard.
Unified Communications. During the next five years, the number of different communications vendors with which a typical organization works with will be reduced by at least 50 percent due to increases in the capability of application servers and the general shift of communications applications to common off-the-shelf server and operating systems. As this occurs, formerly distinct markets, each with distinct vendors, converge, resulting in massive consolidation in the communications industry.
Organizations must build careful, detailed plans for when each category of communications function is replaced or converged, coupling this step with the prior completion of appropriate administrative team convergence.
Business Intelligence. Business Intelligence (BI), the top technology priority in Gartner’s 2008 CIO survey, can have a direct positive impact on a company’s business performance. BI is directed toward business managers and workers who are tasked with running, growing and transforming the business. Tools that let these users make faster, better and more-informed decisions are particularly valuable in a difficult business environment.
Green IT. Shifting to more efficient products and approaches can allow for more equipment to fit within an energy footprint. Regulations are multiplying and have the potential to seriously constrain companies in building data centers, as the effect of power grids, carbon emissions from increased use and other environmental impacts are under scrutiny. Organizations should consider regulations and have alternative plans for data center and capacity growth.
A few of these technologies were also on Gartner’s list for 2008, including Green IT, Unified Communications, WOA, Mashup and Social Software. Other technologies Gartner expected to be significant for businesses in 2008 were Business Process Modeling, Metadata Management, Virtualization 2.0, Computing Fabric, and Real World Web.