I’m a sucker for a good top 10 list. Anyone who attempts to organize and distill the messy processes and competing voices within our current IT landscape and come up with informed conclusions and sensible trends has my attention (even if I whole-heartedly disagree with the assessment).
So when Gartner, one of the world’s leading IT research firms, came out with its list of 10 key IT trends that will impact enterprise infrastructure in 2012, I was all ears. Here’s how Gartner, and more specifically David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the infrastructure team at Gartner, broke the trends down:
In Cappuccio’s words, “Virtualization will ultimately drive more companies to treat IT like a business.” Meaning that Gartner believes that the increased transparency and control that virtualization provides will help companies control costs and run IT departments more efficiently and with much tighter control over costs.
- Data Influx
We are collecting more data then ever before. Gartner’s research shows that unstructured data will grow 80% within the next five years. An influx of information also means an influx of problems associated with deduplication and efficiency. Applications that track and monitor this data will also likely become increasingly important this year and going forward.
- Energy & Efficiency
We’ve been talking about green IT trends for years, but Cappuccio believes that the issues of power usage and energy efficiency will surface this year. Virtualization will, of course, play a role in this, as virtualization is a great way reduce wasted capacity by letting businesses tap into unused hardware capacity and lower hardware costs and power consumption.
Claiming the #6 spot on our list of the Top 7 IT Trends of 2011, mobile will certainly continue to influence our daily lives in a major way. From business intelligence apps to communication apps that bring together data from multiple sources like smartphones, tablets and social media networks, the mobile impact is here to stay.
- IT Staffing
In Tennessee, just like in the rest of the world, we are spending a good chunk of energy training and keeping our qualified IT staff. During the first quarter of 2012, the Nashville Technology Council found 853 open tech positions in Middle Tennessee. The battle for tech talent is fierce, and in many instances offering a flexible work environment could beat out other more traditional HR considerations.
- Social Networks
Leveraging social media within enterprise infrastructure is a reality, even if your organization has yet to fully embrace this medium. In Cappuccino’s words, “Ignoring social networking is not an option.”
Gartner believes the key issue with consumerization is that while new applications need to be developed to address mobile users, these solutions and systems won’t replace desktop applications. We agree, finding cloud-based apps extremely useful, but generally not robust enough to be a true substitute for traditional desktop apps. (At least, not yet.)
- Dense & Vertically Scaled Data Centers
Again, virtualization is at the center of this trend. “Virtualization is one of the most critical components being used to increase densities and vertically scale data centers. If used wisely, average server performance can move from today’s paltry 7% to 12% average to 40% to 50%, yielding huge benefits in floor space and energy savings,” Cappuccio said.
- Cloud Computing
With all the chatter about cloud applications and services, we were surprised to find it this far down on Gartner’s list. Cloud computing took the top spot on our list of 2011 IT trends, and we predicted that 2012 would bring more talk about, and adoption of, cloud computing strategies. Pros of cloud computing that Gartner highlights are elasticity and scalability. The biggest detractor: cost.
To quote Cappuccino and the Network World article that covered the list, “Gartner defines this infrastructure convergence as: The vertical integration of server, storage, and network systems and components with element-level management software that lays the foundation to optimize shared data center resources efficiently and dynamically.”
What do you think? Anything missing from this list? How about BYOD and the confluence of home and office life. How about security issues and upcoming disaster recovery trends? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.