Enterprise computing is set to undergo a renaissance next year with the coming of age of some game-changing technologies that have matured over the last 24 months, technologies that may well change the way business is done. Helped by the rise of mobile ecosystems, the ever growing demands of consumers within a business framework and more resilient networking infrastructures, here are the five trends that we’ve identified as the ones to watch next year.
Database virtualisation is one technology that wouldn’t have gone mainstream that quickly had it not been for the cloud. In a nutshell, it helps dramatically improve efficiency by reducing costs and the complexities usually associated with creating and managing a database. It achieves this by simplifying the processes associated with database management. Now every department (well almost) can have its own copy of a database without having to worry about synching or performance issues. This, in the words of the VP EMEA for Delphix, one of the many companies that operate in that area, allows companies to do much more with less. In the case of one of their clients, Facebook, that’s handling 11 projects concurrently rather than two. Delphix writes for ITProPortal. Check out what Iain Chidgey, its VP EMEA, has to say about Database Virtualisation. The other contenders in that category include VMWare, Oracle and Amazon.
Enterprise Social Network
The acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft in June 2012 is one of the many events that peppered the year in the world of enterprise social networks, one which saw in the shadows, the maturation of unified communications as a sector. From a bird’s eye view, ESN – née Enterprise Social Software or Enterprise 2.0 - encompasses a wealth of communication and collaboration features including instant messaging, VoIP, CRM, file-sharing, project management etc. Arguably, a gentler learning curve (thanks to the rise of Facebook and Twitter within the enterprise) coupled with more openness towards consumer-inspired technologies mean that companies, big and small, are trying to be the next “Facebook for business”. Almost everyone seems to be at it, except Facebook itself which is determined to stick to encouraging businesses to use Facebook mostly as a medium for marketing purposes rather than as a platform to do business. Major players in the ESN market include Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle and IBM.
If there’s one trend which has definitely picked up in 2012 and which will become mainstream next year, it has to be BYOD, otherwise known as bring-your-own-device. BYOD has been catalysed by the exponential rise of smarter mobile devices, and single-handedly by Apple itself with its iOS platform. The number of iPhones used in Fortune 500 companies in the US doubled year while the number of iPad deployed tripled over the same period, all this from a company that didn’t have a mobile presence only five years ago. 2013 is likely to be even more spectacular thanks to a resurgent Microsoft and Windows Phone, the gradual transition of Google’s Android from a consumer mobile OS to a business-critical one, the coming back of RIM with Blackberry 10 and perhaps the rise of a fifth major OS player (WebOS or Tizen). BYOD is one of those technological tidal waves which brings threats to most companies and opportunities, big opportunities, to technology firms like Avaya. Check out what its senior VP, Gary Barnett, has to say about a new concept, the BYOD Network.
Software Defined Networking
2012 was a rather exceptional year for yet another type of virtualisation, software-defined networking, one that saw a raft of acquisitions made primarily by big networking players, eager to consolidate their places in the red-hot network virtualisation market. As for database virtualisation, the drive is to separate the hardware from the rest of the network architecture (in networking lingo, that’s the control plane and the data plane) and virtualise the former with all the benefits that are associated with this process. So in less than 12 months, Oracle bought Xsigo, VMWare purchased Nicira, Brocade acquired Vyatta, Juniper snatched Contrail and last but not least, Cisco bought Cariden. In the grand scheme of scheme, the move to SDN is a capital step to bigger paradigm shifts like the so-called Internet of Things and machine-to-machine (m2m) communication; the inherent complexity of current networking infrastructure acting as an impediment rather than a catalyst.
There’s one more topic in technology that we deliberately omitted and that’s big data. Why? Because Big Data is just as pervasive as cloud (as in cloud computing) and permeates all the other aforementioned acronyms. Indeed, big data is the corollary of cloud; big data only happened because cloud computing became ubiquitous over the past 36 months.