Shaking up the data centre

Analyst firm Experture provides guidance on ten potential disruptive technologies and trends that IT organisations should be assessing within the 2007 and 2008 planning horizon.

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By  Administrator Published  January 11, 2007

IT executives globally should be attentive to signposts for emerging and potentially disruptive technology trends that will impact their organisation over the long-term. Some of these trends will drive unanticipated change and potential cost challenges while others may provide a unique opportunity to provide leadership to drive strategic competitive differentiators for their enterprise. Experture has observed the emergence of four overarching themes that IT executives are focused on as we approach 2007.

Firstly, access. Providing access to and from information and communications technology is an important theme for the remainder of this decade as geographical boundaries collapse and enterprises embrace virtual organisational and business structures. The next theme is innovation. With relatively strong global economies and industry sectors, enterprises are challenging their IT executives to deliver innovative information and communications technology solutions to provide a strategic competitive advantage against their peers and competitors. Thirdly, interaction is becoming increasingly important. As continuing to identify and deliver productivity improvements becomes more challenging each year — organisations are investing in information and communications technology infrastructure to improve the ability for employees to enhance collaboration capabilities with co-workers, customers, suppliers, and partners without boundaries across the globe.

Finally, optimisation is a key focus area for IT executives. With increasingly higher expectations from all stakeholders, enterprises are focusing on improving performance throughout their organisation — striving for increased efficiency and effectiveness across all of their operations.

2007 Disruptive Trends & Technologies

Experture believes that the following trends and technologies are critical and relevant opportunities that IT organisations should be investigating in regards to how they might potentially be leveraged as a catalyst to transform your organisation over the next 24 months.

1. Ubiquitous access

The continued proliferation of high-speed wireless broadband internet connectivity continues to expand aggressively. We are witnessing increasing competition to traditional cellular telco providers that should provide for larger high-speed footprints and competitive pressures on costs. Leading enterprises are capitalising on expanded connectivity for their workforce, customers, suppliers, and business partners. Enterprises that deliver products and services to end consumers are facing a myriad of opportunities on how to capitalize on innovative options to interact with their customers.

2. Virtualisation

Virtualisation technologies gained tremendous credibility during this past year and IT organisations continue to aggressively seek options to increase productivity and leverage from their investments in information and communications technologies. New versions of server and storage virtualisation technologies will continue to have a fundamental impact on data centre agility and business continuity over the next several years.

3. Business intelligence

We are anticipating increased pressures from within enterprises to leverage existing customer and operational data stores for insights as organisations search for new ideas to improve the performance of their operations — from both an efficiency and innovation perspective. Software vendors are working diligently to improve the ease of use of their solutions and extend their reach within enterprises.

4. Software as a service

We expect an increasing number of enterprises will evaluate software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions as viable options for new business solutions and legacy solution replacement within their enterprise. SaaS solutions are gaining traction in response to cost and time to market pressures, and critical skills and resource challenges in conjunction with the increasing adoption of service oriented architecture (SOA) concepts. SaaS solutions also position IT executives to focus their energies and IT resources on those opportunities that provide the greatest return on investment for their enterprise.

5. Green computing

Many IT executives are now confronted with significant data centre power and cooling issues — over and above the data centre real estate space and cost challenges they may already be experiencing. The seemingly insatiable demand for processors and storage across the enterprise has triggered many IT operations managers to evaluate energy efficient server and storage solutions. Hardware vendors have responded with numerous “green” technology advances as customers, along with governmental agencies, have voiced their requirements and expectations.

6. Rich UI

A number of recent innovations will present both a key challenge and opportunity to enterprise IT executives as each organisation debates and plans for migrating their Windows-based computers to the latest generation of Microsoft Windows and Office solutions. In many enterprises this will be a complex, costly, and resource intensive decision. As usual, the benefits or tangible return on investment will be difficult to quantify. Experture believes that there are considerable benefits to exploit from this latest generation of desktop solutions, in conjunction with the innovations from recent Web 2.0-based solutions. Some of the benefits include greatly enhanced user interface and interaction capabilities; increasingly seamless collaboration features; improved integration with business applications; and improved features to facilitate an always-on, always-connected mobile workforce.

7. Mobile video

The latest consumer-oriented solutions to deliver video streams to mobile devices will lead to a vast number of innovative solutions for enterprises. The fascinating high-tech gadgets that we watched in cartoons and sci-fi shows decades ago will emerge as viable information and communications technologies over the next several years. Initial applications will likely emerge first in consumer-oriented businesses, followed by applications across all industry sectors.

8. Web 3.0

Much of the press and media attention over the past year has been focused on the consumer-oriented “Web 2.0” sites. We believe that a number of innovative enterprise applications will emerge over the next several years that will exploit the advances in web technologies over the past decade from portals and e-commerce sites to interactive communities and intelligent search results – along with and industry standards HTML, to XML, web services, Ajax, RDF, OWL, et al. World-class enterprises are already exploring innovative ways to leverage these technology advances to improve on their competitive advantage in their market space.

9. Location-based services

Although GPS technology is quite mature, it has been far from ubiquitous. As an increasing number of mobile phones and vehicles are configured with GPS capabilities as standard features, it will become an enabler for many innovative location-based solutions across enterprises in all industry sectors.

10. $100 laptop

We believe that The One Laptop per Child project led by founder and chairman Nicholas Negroponte will have a fundamental and lasting impact on end user devices. There were many sceptics that surfaced at the announcement of a fully functional $100 device — but at the dawn of the shipments of the initial laptops to children across the world, the OLPC team has remarkably reduced the cost to just under $150 per device with a target of $100 by the end of 2008. We believe that this project has laid the foundation for another paradigm shift in the computing industry relative to pricing and distribution of computing devices.

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