Gartner outlines 10 strategic technologies for 2010

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Cloud computing and green solutions high on the list for next year.

Gartner analysts have highlighted the ten technologies most likely to have a "significant impact" on business in 2010.

The firm categorises technologies likely to have a significant impact as those with a high potential for disruption to IT or the business; those that require a major investment; or those that contain risk for late adopters.

Technologies cited include:

Cloud computing: A model in which providers deliver a variety of IT-enabled capabilities to consumers – the capabilities and services are often situated in the web as opposed to on a server inside the business.

Advanced analytics: This uses analytical tools to maximise business processes and the effectiveness of decisions. Information can come from data gathered via customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP). The systems can provide simulation, prediction, optimisation and other analytics to enable flexible decision making.

Client computing: This is one area of virtualisation that has been considered important for the last few years – and it is now offering new ways of packaging client computing applications – thereby makes the choice of the PC hardware platform and the operating system platform less critical.

IT for green: As has been well documented, IT can enable green initiatives. These include the use of e-documents, reduced travel and teleworking. Analytic tools can also help an organisation reduce energy consumption in the transport of goods or other carbon management activities.

Reshaping the datacentre: The most savvy enterprises will adopt a "pod-based" approach to building their datacentre. Gartner advices that they build what is needed for the next five to seven years – rather than the next 15 or 20 as companies used to do. However, the same companies should also make sure they have the space to build out to what is likely to be required during the lifetime of the datacentre.

Social computing: Gartner believes that companies should look at the use of both social software and social media as well as participation and integration with enterprise sponsors and public communities. The social profile can bring communities together which is important for companies looking to keep staff and clients happy.

Security – activity monitoring: Security professionals have their work cut out; they have to spot malicious activity in a stream of discrete events, as well as provide increased log analysis to support audit requirements. A company should put some work into understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the monitoring and analysis tools on offer.

Flash memory: The gap in price between flash memory and rotating disk is narrowing considerably – and the benefits to this sort of memory will be be most obvious in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and embedded IT systems. It also has a place in servers and client computers with its advantages including its small size, endurance of heat, performance and ruggedness.

Virtualisation for availability: Gartner emphasises new approaches to virtualisation such as live migration for availability – this is the movement of a running virtual machine (VM), while its operating system and other software continue to operate as if they were on the original physical server. Investment in expensive reliable hardware, with fail-over cluster software and perhaps even fault-tolerant hardware could be avoided, while the company still meets all availability needs.

Mobile applications: The convergence of mobility and the web is increasing apace. If the operating system interface and processor architecture in both were identical there would be an huge upswing in the creation of mobile applications that could be used in business.

However, Gartner vice president Carl Claunch warns that the list is unlikely to be comprehensive: “Companies should adjust it based on their industry, unique business needs and legacy technology.” @ 2010 Incisive Media

Gartner outlines 10 strategic technologies for 2010
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