IT in 2007
The future isnt what it used to be.
- Yogi Berra (American professional
baseball player and manager)
we approach the new year its time for the Network Magazine team to dust
off our crystal ball and compile a list of technologies that will have an impact
on enterprise computing in 2007. This time around we have a slew of technologies
that run the gamut of everything from cabling to servers to security and convergence
(both in the same story, in fact).
Still, I couldnt help but notice that technology is becoming increasingly
mundane and prosaic. After the heady years of 2004 and 2005 when it seemed like
you had a new technology knocking on your digital door every second month, things
have cooled off. Perhaps that is a Good Thing as enterprises like to go slow
and steady and win the race like the proverbial turtle but it does make it harder
for us to drum up the excitement.
That said, there is plenty happening, albeit its evolutionary stuff, not
revolutionary. Take the case of 10G on copper or Voice Spamone is the
next logical step from 1G on copper while the others an existing threat,
spam on e-mail or instant messaging, taken to a new medium.
On the desktop front, well see the next version of Windows and Office.
Vistas already out to Volume Licencing customers and itll be available
preloaded on new PCs from January 30, 2007. Office 2007 and Exchange Server
2007 were made available to business customers on November 30, 2006. General
availability of Offices next avatar, as per Microsoft, will take place
in early 2007.
Lets look at both these products which are the dominant platforms for
desktop computing. Vista will move into the Indian enterprise and SMB on the
back of PC and notebook purchases. CIOs with hundreds or thousands of desktops
will not upgrade the memory and graphics card on each and every one just to
run a new OS even if it is better than its predecessor. This has been the case
with all new iterations of Windows in the past and I expect Vista to be on the
majority enterprise desktops by 2008-09. 2007 will see the first round of testing
and evaluation and adoption by companies that have standardised on a Microsoft
stack. The same is true for Office 2007.
On the Linux front, Red Hat appears to be under siege from Oracle and Microsoft
(not to mention SUSE) but, for now at least, its holding on. I dont
see anything dramatic happening vis-a-vis Linux adoption. As per IDC, Linux
server shipment growth is tapering off. After 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit
y-o-y growth, Linux server revenue grew 6.1 percent to $1.5 billion in Q206.
Linux accounts for 12 percent of server revenue.
Technology-wise theres been significant innovation on the server OS front
in the Unix world during the past couple of years (Solaris 10 being an excellent
case in point; or the way IBM keeps putting mainframe features into AIX). On
the Windows Server front a lot of UNIX-y features have been added (Resource
Management, SMP support etc.). When it comes to Linux, the focus appears to
be more on incremental improvements rather than big leaps. Im still waiting
for Linux to make the leap into Unix territory by becoming a platform thats
capable of hosting huge databases (think core banking or ERP databases). If
that happens it will be interesting to watch the Unix crowds response.
So far its been a case of Windows Server and Linux both eating into Unixs
share of the mid-range server marketlargely the application tier while
the latter continues to reign in the database server category. HPC is again
dominated by Windows and Linux.
On the desktop PC front, multi-core is the big thing. A multi-core CPU may not
be faster, heck some single-core CPUs kick some of the early multi-core chips
out of the game on raw performance. However, dual-core chips provide a more
responsive system, one where your PC doesnt slow down to a crawl the minute
you start copying a lot of files or running an anti-virus scan in the background.
Multi-core is also big news on the server front. Here its all about squeezing
more performance for the same power consumption in a denser form-factor.
Theres a lot to read this time and as weve divided it by technology
and application categories; you can pick and choose the features that interest
you. Bon appetit, may you whet your appetite for technology.
Prashant L Rao