“There will be a new focus on a new foundation in IT [during 2005], what we call ‘dynamic IT’ but the vendors call ‘on-demand’ or ‘adaptive.’ It’s about the ability to apply flexible approaches based on things like SOAs, Web services, virtualization, and standard components. It is this technical foundation underneath the enterprise that will be the driver for change,” said Frank Gens, senior vice president of research at IDC.
SOA was the acronym du jour in 2004, and all the big players, including BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun, are vying in the SOA space, promoting the use of component-based interchangeable application architectures as the new wave of IT infrastructure.
Computing without wires
In wireless, 2005 will be a year of pilot projects and evaluations. To comply with the first Wal-Mart and Department of Defense mandates for RFID tags, in January thousands of suppliers will deploy RFID tags but only in what is being called a “slap-and-ship” model.
After the tags are applied to satisfy customers’ requirements, however, suppliers will start their own pilot projects to see how RFID might reduce costs in their supply chain. RFID will not be generally deployed until late 2006 or 2007.
Mergers among the wireless carriers -- AT&T and Cingular Wireless; Nextel Communications and Sprint -- will set off a battle royale for consumer and enterprise market share. Carriers will offer seamless roaming between Wi-Fi and WAN on dual-mode handsets as a way to capture new customers, but they will have to wait out the year for the outcome of enterprise evaluations before they know whether seamless roaming is a killer feature.
Storage spreads out
In 2005, IT managers can expect to see more acquisitions among storage software vendors, as storage management increases in importance and tiered storage continues to come of age. Storage resource management software will continue to grow, as will storage archive software.
Dell’s success with its AX100 storage device will no doubt translate to more storage systems with ease-of-use features, not only from Dell but from other companies as well.
Meanwhile, Microsoft will increase its stake in storage by adding products that feature tighter integration with Windows to its storage lineup. Other products to look for in 2005 include EMC’s storage switch, which the company plans to release early in the year.
Tape vendors will continue to integrate disk into their products and will offer better integration into storage networks. In the same vein, expect to hear a lot about ILM (information lifecycle management) from the major storage vendors and to see plenty of products with iSCSI (Internet SCSI), as the technology begins to take off this year.
Networks will grow faster, more complex, and larger in 2005. As more 10 Gigabit Ethernet products come to market, the network core will see a marked increase in performance. At the same time, the network edge will see a performance boost as Gigabit Ethernet extends to the outer edge.
Search gains significance
Enterprise search platforms will grow in prominence in 2005, fueled by skyrocketing volumes of unstructured content and the closing in of government regulations that mandate quick discovery of a wide range of corporate content -- from e-mails, to documents, to chat conversations.