Wow another year has passed before we knew it. What does 2010 have in store? How much of it is hype from Johnny come lately vendors trying to jump on the money train and how much of it will actually amount to products that make a difference - is yet to be determined. Here is my best guess of things to come for the next year:
1) Cloud - will continue to be the marketing "Hype" word. Every Web 2.0, IT As A Service, Virtualization Platform, Systems Management Company etc will continue to jump on the "Cloud" bandwagon to get their piece of the pie. This will continue to muddy the waters and confuse IT and Senior executives while they try to figure out what is really a cloud and what is not. This will delay actual adoption and/or fuel more pilots (similar to VDI) to enable IT to figure out best strategy, impact, and additional tools required to drive more efficiency and less costs during their implementation cycles.
2) Compliance - will play a much bigger role in driving new product innovation and budgets - once again catching the naysayer off guard as it did with SOX and having more vendors jump on that bandwagon. We now have a Cybersecurity Czar, new provisions for Health Care, pending deadlines for Electronic Medical Records, and Auditors asking for more details on how and what tools are available to check impact of virtualization. This is a big area that really needs more thought leadership, standards and catch up a like.
3) War between Physical and Virtual will continue to heat up - who will win the war between the big paradigm shift? The current physical tools in place or the virtualization only tools. The answer here is simple - the hybrid approach. Customers will push back on attempts to virtualize ALL their desktops, servers, systems, and tools. They will force vendors to have a single pane of glass to manage both physical and virtual paradigms. Those that provide the bridge between the physical and virtual paradigm across the stack will win the war.
4) Win 7 Migration Planning - less deploying until 2nd half of this year and into 2011. Most large enterprise customers I have worked with over the years take a minimum of 18 months to migrate to a new OS. Many are just cutting their teeth on Win 7 and trying to determine what is viable and what is not in terms of the biggest factors that inhibited Vista adoption - Application Compatibility, Hardware Requirements, and impact on end users (business continuity). They are once bit and twice shy with Vista although they know they have to migrate because many skipped Vista and XP is on it's way out.
5) 2010 is the Year of the Desktop - over the last 3-5 years the desktop has taken a back seat in terms of budgets, hype cycle and innovation. Many vendors tried to apply server technology to the desktop to extend their reach into the proverbial pocketbook of the Enterprise but have fueled internal debates and concern. Desktop Managers, Architects, and Dependent groups are pushing back while creating their own evaluations and new paradigms will emerge as a result. They have successfully shown through failed pilots, business cases, etc that solutions which solve server issues can not be easily used to solve desktop issues as well.
6) Financial Institutions will still see Cloudy market -Many of the revenues they enjoyed in 2009 will diminish based on clamping down by government with new taxes being levied on the financial services industry to cover the recent bailout combined with more foreclosures from the last wave of interest only loans coming due in 2010 and 2011, and the high unemployment rate. This market will continue to be uncertain and executives will continue to proceed with caution with the exception of projects that enable more visibility (Compliance and Analytics), costs reduction initiatives such as consolidating data centers or staff to less expensive markets (salary, land, taxes).
7) Compliance and Compatibility will drive adoption of alternative solutions such as Application Virtualization, Web 2.0, and Virtual Desktops. The number of pilots and niche adoptions for virtual applications, converting applications to Web 2.0 (similar to Salesforce.com), and niche deployments of virtual desktops will increase as companies try to determine the most cost effective approach to balancing increased demand for mobility (home office, global), regulations, and they are forced to migrate to Win 7 or an alternative.
8) Software as a Service and IT as a Service will heat up in Healthcare, Education, and Government - Regulations and Budget cuts across the board are pushing C Level executives to rethink the way they do business. Smaller doctors offices, clinics and hospitals will scramble for low cost alternatives that enable using User Based provisioning from a hosted model versus per seat license count to reduce costs, support overhead, and impact on not complying. Education will follow suit to ensure Privacy Act provisions are in place as more displaced workers return to school and more emphasis and actual fines are being placed on violations of privacy. Budget strapped state and local governments will look for ways to drive efficiency and process to deal with their staffing shortages and shortfall in general. Virtualization and BSM will prove to be viable solutions.
9) Consolidation will continue in overall Systems Management Space - interesting moves this month with HP and Microsoft partnership (should not overshadow VMware/HP Partnership). More sleeping giants like Dell, BMC and CA with their larger partners like Salesforce.com, Oracle, and Cisco will up their game through enhanced partnerships, being acquired, and/or acquiring newer technologies to refresh their portfolio to combat the race for the Cloud, Virtual Desktops, and Service Management tools as the tornado continues.
10) High Growth for Process Engineering and Technical Services for various forms of virtualization, cloud, and communications. As more larger companies jump on the SaaS, Cloud, and virtualization bandwagon there will be a greater need to work with "experts" that can enable IT and C Level Executives define not only the best way to implement these technologies but also what will be needed from a process and people (new skill set) perspective. These technologies are still fairly nascent and have impacted or changed the way that many things are tracked, deployed and maintained. Companies have invested millions in creating processes, tools, and audit trails around traditional systems. They will look to see how they can reap the savings rewards for newer technologies without having to rebuild their entire ecosystem, have duplicate systems, or stretch an already stretched out team any further. More expertise will be needed to assist with reducing inter departmental friction through process re-engineering, vendor evaluations, and implementing from pilot to production.
2010 will be an exciting departure and similar to when BSM first started a significant year of growth for many vendors (small and big a like) and seeing who will emerge as leaders in this area will be very exciting.