As an IT professional, knowing what’s coming down the technology pipeline can be invaluable when it comes to planning and budgeting. Although nobody has a crystal ball, Gartner’s professional pulse on all things technological certainly makes the research company’s predictions worth noting.
At a Gartner Symposium IT Expo in late 2012, the firm laid out 10 critical trends and technologies slated to impact IT for the next five years. Take note, as we explore the first five here:
1. Organizational entrenchment and disruption. With significant growth in IT complexity — including faster change cycles, shorter development timelines, and reduced budgets 24/7/365, global IT support is being demanded. End users are driving IT to make changes, such as appealing for access to iPads, iPhones and other smart phones. Furthermore, a “skills shift” is occurring with increasing numbers of retirees and new sets of skills required of employees.
2. Software-defined networks. In the coming years, Gartner believes a new way to operate networks will emerge-an OS that shifts control from individual devices to a central controller and allows configuration of the network from one place. Likened to network virtualization, the move will make the location of a physical data center irrelevant, while also reducing the time required to provision new resources.
3. Bigger data and storage. By 2015, Gartner says big data demand will generate 1 million jobs in the Global 1000, but only a third will get filled due to shortage of talent. Also on thehorizon: 30 to 60 percent compounded growth in data depending on the organization. Auditing, archiving, and recovery will become increasingly complex, with analytics and pattern recognition proving key. New specialized ARM-based servers will be commissioned to do specialty analytics, and clients will get relief from equipment that provides more performance in a smaller footprint, thus reducing power requirements.
4. Hybrid cloud services. Gartner believes that private clouds will improve agility and dominate the market. People are looking at the cloud as a way to accelerate business growth, particularly mobile apps, which could lead to hybrid environments with dozens of specialty providers, both private and public. “Hybrid data centers — with the ability to increase capability and/or capacity — will be in your future,” Gartner insists. You can move non-critical work to the cloud to free up space, resulting in incremental operating expense growth, but long-term capital spending deferral.
5. Client and server architectures. One size doesn’t fit all, nor does one operating system. Noting that forced end-user standardization just doesn’t work, Gartner encourages companies to let people do what they want, within reason. For example, allowing tablets is a must, as well as wireless networks, instant messaging and smartphones. While the research firm says Windows 8 will surface within IT organization, it predicts that it will not be a full replacement for Windows 7 or XP.
Already feeling better prepared for the next five years? Be sure to check back for additional IT trend predictions.