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10 predictions for technology in 2012

As the IT community sees explosive demand for mobility, collaboration and social networking technologies, Quest Software has put together a list of 10 predictions for technology in 2012.

According to Quest ANZ managing director Ian Hodge, in addition to this rise in demand for mobility and collaboration, virtualisation and cloud computing reshape how and where applications and computing power are managed and delivered.

“The implications on communications, security, provisioning, and systems management are enormous. How organisations are addressing these opportunities and challenges are some of the most important questions the IT community faces today.”

Quest Software’s ten predictions for technology trends and practices in 2012 are:

1. SaaS growth will help drive wider adoption of cloud services. Although SaaS offerings cover the spectrum of business and technical applications, shared business services such as messaging, customer relationship management (CRM) and human resources are the most popular solutions.

2. Cloud service providers must overcome key concerns to accelerate acceptance. Public cloud services raise significant concerns over compliance, security and access management controls. While not insurmountable, these concerns must be recognised and allayed through better tools and practices, improved auditability and solution certification.

3. Microsoft Hyper-V will make inroads in overcoming VMware’s market dominance. VMware vSphere is currently the dominant hypervisor. While VMware has historically been viewed as more robust and feature-rich than Microsoft Hyper-V, more organisations are willing to pilot and deploy Hyper-V as an alternative due to its improving features and incorporation within Server 2008 R2. While Microsoft is unlikely to match VMware’s dominance any time soon, Quest believes Hyper-V adoption will slowly erode the market share currently enjoyed by VMWare and position Microsoft as a player in the virtualisation market.

4. Lingering issues will create opportunities for “virtualisation-aware” solutions. While most organisations are satisfied with their virtual environments, backup, performance monitoring and storage monitoring remain problematic. Quest believes this dissatisfaction is due to the slowness of legacy backup tool providers to adapt to provide simpler, easy-to use offerings that capitalise on the benefits of virtualisation. Backup concerns should lessen in the future as niche providers take advantage of this gap to offer special purpose backup tools for virtualisation.

5. Cloud workloads will remain mostly isolated for the foreseeable future. While the growth of private and public cloud usage ensures that more organisations will be supporting hybrid cloud environments, concerns about security, control and technology maturity lead most organisations to isolate internal and external workloads. As a result, cloud-bursting, the practice of moving (“bursting”) excess workload to an external cloud on an on-demand basis when processing demands exceed internal data centre resources has yet to gain any traction within IT organisations.

6. Google and Microsoft will strongly challenge Apple’s lead in the IT mobile market. Adoption of new mobile technologies is proceeding at an unprecedented rate. When deciding which platforms to support, IT administrators face the challenge of balancing current market share and capabilities against long-term potential. Weaknesses will be fixed over time, and administrators will have to manage the devices that will be chosen by the majority of their end users. While Apple iOS is currently in the IT leadership position, Google Android’s high ranking is likely a reflection of where the market will head as its sales increase and capabilities improve. Likewise, Microsoft remains a strong contender with Windows 7 (and upcoming Windows 8).

7. Cloud applications, compliance and mobile devices will drive a reshaping of corporate identity & access management (IAM) strategies. New compliance mandates, the growing use of cloud-based applications, and the proliferation of smart phones and tablets are causing IT organisations to rethink their identity management and user provisioning strategies to control support costs and better manage security.

Quest Software finds that corporate managers want greater transparency in the IAM activities that support compliance-mandated governance processes. Meeting these concerns will result in many changes in how enterprise IT organisations operate and automate on-premises identity systems

8. Active Directory will continue to dominate, and the IAM framework market will see modest growth. Active Directory is the identity management platform of choice for enterprises, and Quest Software expects this dominance to increase slightly as some of the remaining users of Novell eDirectory shift to Active Directory. Modest growth is also expected in both Microsoft and non-Microsoft framework categories over the next year.

9. Office 365 will see slow adoption, except among small businesses. Cloud-based email solutions offer organisations an increasingly attractive alternative for outsourcing their corporate email systems, including much of their operational overhead. Although on-premise systems, notably Microsoft Exchange, still dominate, cloud-based email solutions are catching on with early adopters. Vendors are using Office 365 at double the rate of IT organisations – this is as expected since vendors need to understand the platform to prepare their own solutions and encourage customers to consider and adopt the new Microsoft platform.

Quest  predicts  Microsoft will find traction for Office 365 in the small business community, and that this is where most of Microsoft’s growth will come from.

10. Employees will face increased monitoring of their social networking activities. Social networking provides yet another challenge to corporate and government administrators seeking to monitor and control the flow of information that can impact their organisations. Most organisations are running blind without any visibility into the breadth and depth of social networking use, and abuse, within their employee base. Over time, reporting solutions will be implemented and more granular controls will emerge.

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Maree Sorbello

Maree Sorbello

Maree is a first year student at Sydney's University of Technology, and is one of Dynamic Business' star interns.

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