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As with any year, the pace of technology innovation is likely to be as rapid as ever in the coming twelve months. So what will be the technologies that will have most business impact over the course of the next year? I believe that the developments that will exercise the greatest influence will be those of multicore processors becoming main stream, the rapid uptake in ‘virtualisation’ tools across all areas of IT and the growing need for IT management flexibility to take full advantage of those just mentioned. These in turn will create significant customer pressure for software publishers to make their products available with much more flexible licenses.
It is true to say that multicore processors have been around now for some time. However, these platforms are now reaching a maturity of development whereby not just the processors and chip technology are ready for use but where the software is now available to make practical use of these capabilities. Multicore will begin to really take off in 2006 as customers find ways to exploit the raw power available and in which the systems suppliers make their platforms available at increasingly attractive prices.
Beyond the raw power and heat advantages of multicore processors, it is very clear that virtualisation has now reached a degree of maturity where it is now trusted to operate effectively in almost every area of IT supporting live business systems. The days of its use being confined to development and testing are now over. Virtualisation is now fit and stable to be deployed across the enterprise. Server systems, storage platforms and network operations will all take advantage of virtualisation capabilities to increase utilisation, reduce operational costs and, most importantly of all, deliver much greater flexibility than has previously been available in operational IT systems.
However, in order for both virtualisation and multicore technologies to deliver maximum benefits, organisations will have to employ systems management solutions far more proactively than has been the case up until now. This is especially true in scenarios where organisations need to optimise their IT capabilities to respond quickly to changing business needs. The flexible systems now offered by modern IT needs to be proactively managed not reactively monitored. 2006 will see systems management tools employed to make IT more effective rather than to simply keep systems running.
However, there still remains one major inhibitor to the IT flexibility that is promised and that true business flexibility requires. The majority of software licensing models offered by ISVs provide little in the way of elasticity. Indeed, those utilised by most of the business application vendors are so rigid that they positively restrict business suppleness. I believe that there will be growing customer pressure on all software vendors to less rigid licensing. Some advances have been made by a few vendors; more is essential.
2006 will be the year of IT flexibility and IT/business alignment empowered by technology. Have Fun.