By mid-2007, 64-bit quad-core CPUs will be the de facto standard for x86 desktop and server computers. A sub-$5,000 two-socket workstation or server will sport a mind-boggling eight processor cores. Intel engineered its dual core per socket Woodcrest server/workstation CPU to allow a four core per socket upgrade with nothing but a chip swap. AMD has done the same with Opteron and Athlon 64 FX systems built after Revision F. AMD’s capacity to expand Opteron systems to eight sockets means that in 2007, IT can buy 32-way servers for the price it once paid for four-way servers. Talk about consolidation!
— Tom Yager
Salesforce goes to India
Offshoring will meet SaaS (software as a service) in a battle of the low-cost service giants in 2007. Among other developments, SaaS giant Salesforce.com will be stung early in the year by a major offshore outsourcer whose prices will be cheaper and services even greater than what Salesforce.com and its AppExchange minions can offer. Salesforce will counter with the announcement that it is building major hosting sites in India, Russia, and Botswana.
The bottom line here is that as SaaS grows in importance, offshoring becomes an easier decision. After all, if the service is being hosted anyway, what does it matter where it is located?
What will foster the growth of SaaS delivered solutions? Compliance. A recent Forrester study predicts one compliance issue alone, e-discovery, will be a $4.8 billion industry by 2011, due to the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. SaaS providers will take the lion’s share of that. In short, compliance regulations will be backing up like a plugged drain pipe onto the IT floor, and companies looking to have someone clean up the mess and manage these issues will turn to hosted solutions such as SaaS.
Other trends will also play a part in SaaS’s growth this year. A Gartner study written by Allie Young says that by 2008, more than 70 percent of utility offerings will be targeted toward business units or line managers rather than IT organizations, with more than 30 percent of new software purchasing delivered in the utility model.
If Gartner’s right, that trend will mean a serious degrading of IT influence in the enterprise in the near future.
Cisco buys AV smarts
Successfully predicting that Cisco Systems will buy a security firm isn’t much of a feat. The networking giant, based in San Jose, Calif., averaged almost an acquisition a month in 2004 and 2005 — a good number of them security firms. It’s a good bet that 2007 will bring news of more security buys. I’m guessing that one of those will be an anti-virus software firm.
Why anti-virus? First, Cisco needs what an anti-virus firm has to offer. The vision of a “Self Defending Network” that integrates security intelligence with Cisco’s core switching and routing gear is key to Cisco’s future. Up till now, the Self Defending Network vision finds its best expression in Cisco’s Network Admission Control (NAC) program, which allows firms to vet the security posture of hosts attempting to connect to LANs or WANs.
But client-screening isn’t a silver bullet, as became clear at this year’s Black Hat conference, when security researchers showed how hackers could use spoofed MAC and IP addresses to pose as known systems on networks, and others postulated that rootkits could be used to manipulate reports from third-party security products.