In 2009, technology executives will be faced with unique challenges as they strive to maintain highly available and agile infrastructures in an economy demanding efficiency and cost cutting, unlike we’ve seen before. CIO’s are looking for technologies capable of maximizing the value of their data center investments, and the good news is that vendors are developing technologies designed to drive business results.
Today, technology investments need to prepare organizations for future growth and reduce business risk, and at the same time lower costs and produce a quick return on investment. Because of this challenge, adoption of virtualization and automation will increase as they help businesses create efficiencies and drive down costs. At the same time, energy and carbon footprint reduction will be major focuses for CIO’s as organizations strive to not only save money but also be more environmentally conscience. Newer technologies like polymorphic computing and cloud computing, a delivery model capable of solving problems that existing technologies couldn’t previously achieve, are breaking through as trends to watch over the next year.
Application Security: Application security attacks, including SQL injections, dominated the headlines in 2008. The Web Application Security Consortium (WASC) concluded that 85 percent of scanned Websites had security vulnerabilities. The launch of the new Google Chrome Web browser--the first browser built to optimize Web applications--points to an emerging trend where the Web is becoming more of a platform for applications. While this brings exciting new features and user experiences, it also introduces potential serious security vulnerabilities as well as escalating potential privacy issues which make application security a necessity for protecting data.
Automation - Infrastructure and IT Services: In order to fully reap the labor and cost saving benefits of automation, technology organizations will begin to deploy automation solutions more broadly. Automation, including automated virtualization management of storage in conjunction with servers, network devices and processes is critical to achieving application availability. Business service automation will also grow in popularity in 2009 as it helps companies proactively identify and plan for complexity, technology labor shortages, and security and service delivery problems before the functions of the data center are compromised.
Green: Using technology to “go green” is a current trend that will only gain momentum in 2009. However, data center managers will be challenged to quantify the money saved using green technology and measure their carbon footprint reduction. Companies are turning to green solutions like energy-efficient servers and storage and data center cooling to cut overall infrastructure costs, while implementing strategic data center layout and planning.
SaaS: Security vulnerabilities are a critical concern for technology organizations of all sizes. Customers can get security up and running faster to minimize these risks using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Application security solutions via SaaS allow companies to quickly and cost-effectively centralize all of their Web application security assessment programs into a complete solution that is scalable and maintained and managed centrally.
Storage: As companies try to create more efficient environments and tighten their technology budgets and staff, storage technologies will play a bigger role in transforming the data center. For example, storage virtualization improves the utilization and retrieval of mission-critical data, consolidates hardware systems, and creates an infrastructure that is easier to manage. A shared storage model provides even better efficiency and operational agility. Nascent innovations, such as solid state disk (SSD) for the enterprise, improve reliability of disk arrays to improve performance, while also reducing power consumption to create a more energy-efficient storage environment.
Utility Computing: Data is growing at an exponential rate with large content-rich data such as applications of streaming digital media, static digital media and Web content hosting. Companies are in need of solutions that can easily manage multi-petabyte scalability--without disruption--and utility computing is a cost effective model capable of achieving such demands. In this way certain types of highly scalable and flexible services can be consumed over the Internet through a low-touch, on-demand business model. Utility computing is providing new values to the enterprise that haven’t been previously seen before.
Virtualization: Virtualization’s reach into the data center is beginning to expand in significant areas outside of server virtualization that will have a profound impact on the data center in 2009. However, virtualization brings its own unique set of challenges that can lead to security and compliance implications if left unaddressed. With forward planning, virtualization risks such as virtual server sprawl can be minimized and long term benefits, such as increased availability and business continuity, can be enjoyed.
2009 will pose many tough tests for companies across the board. As IT decision makers take on their piece of the challenge it will be the technologies they implement and solutions they turned to that will dictate their success in impacting business results. Thankfully, a wide spectrum of promising technologies is becoming more readily available to help address CIOs’ unique challenges.
John Bennett is worldwide director, Data Center Transformation Solutions, at HP.