The 5 major growing IT trends

September 13, 2010 by Leave a comment 

According to Gartner the major growing technical IT trends for the coming years are Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Mobile, Unified Collaboration & Communications and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). I would also add another one: Green IT. All of them comprise of techniques that have an impact on different industries as well as user behavior in the long term.

What are they, and how the enterprises can adopt them – in my short wrap-up below.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is the concept of providing shared resources, software and information to computers and other devices on-demand, like a public utility (e.g power or water). Cloud computing consists of three different kinds of services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):

Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to applications delivered as a service to end-users through a browser. Some are commercial SaaS applications delivered by public cloud providers, while others are commercial and custom SaaS applications delivered via an enterprise’s private cloud. Instead of buying, installing and configuring software packages, entire applications can be bought as a service accessible through a web browser.

SaaS has become common place for many business tasks, including computerized billing, invoicing, human resource management, financials, content management, collaboration, document management, and service desk management.

Oracle contribution to this IT trend: Oracle for example is a SaaS provider and offers a growing number of SaaS applications as well as hosted and managed applications. Oracle Grid Computing is the basis for the Oracle Platform for SaaS.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) refers to an application development and deployment platform delivered as a service to developers who use the platform to build, deploy and manage SaaS applications. The platform typically includes databases, middleware and development tools, all delivered as a service via the Internet. A virtualized and clustered architecture is often the basis for this infrastructure software.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers computer infrastructure, typically a platform virtualization environment as a service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service.

IaaS means buying computing capacity and paying per use. The benefit is obvious: high flexibility due to capacity adjustments according to individual needs. As an example, for a heavy shopping period a retailer can extend capacity without having to purchase new servers that would be under-utilized most of the time.

Virtualization

The IT trend Virtualization can be defined as the methodology for various concepts to combine and separate computer resources.

Server Virtualization means a logical separation of services to optimize hardware use, whereas Client Virtualization enables access to an information environment via a remote client device.

Besides Data Centres virtualization and terminal servers (aka Citrix), there are relatively new virtualization technologies that allow, for example, the hosting of complete PC desktops in a data center.

Oracle contribution to this IT trend: Oracle virtualization platform offers the complete and integrated virtualization, from desktop to the datacenter.

Mobile

Mobile is the ability to do business via mobile devices, not only email, but also reading company announcements, using workflow applications like expense reporting, business applications like SAP or viewing BI data.

Software Must Go Mobile. Thus, most applications are developed nowadays to run on mobile devices, for instance having the possibility to enter retail orders via Smartphones.

Oracle contribution to this IT trend: see Oracle Mobile applications

Unified Collaboration (UC) & Communications

This IT trend focuses on the integration of real-time communication services such as, instant messaging, video conferencing and speech recognition with non real-time communication services such as voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax. UC is not a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

UC allows an individual to send a message on one medium and receive the same communication on another medium. For example, one can receive a voicemail message and choose to access it through e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender is online according to the presence information and currently accepts calls, the response can be sent immediately through text chat or video call. Otherwise, it may be sent as a non real-time message that can be accessed through a variety of media.

Oracle contribution to this IT trend: Oracle Beehive is a unified communication and collaboration solution built on SOA.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

SOA is a flexible set of design principles used during the phases of systems development and integration in computing. A deployed SOA-based architecture will provide a loosely-integrated suite of services that can be used within multiple business domains.

SOA also generally provides a way for consumers of services, such as web-based applications, to be aware of available SOA-based services. For example, several disparate departments within a company may develop and deploy SOA services in different implementation languages; their respective clients will benefit from a well understood, well defined interface to access them. XML is commonly used for interfacing with SOA services, though this is not required.

One of the best examples of SOA is in the travel industry where dozens of travel request sites have been able to build useful information portals for travelers seeking flights, hotels and rental cars. The users have no idea where the information comes from, only that it is presented to them in a useful way that they can make a decision. In reality the information derives from several other systems and companies, most likely written in different computer programming languages, running on different types of hardware and operating systems.

Oracle contribution to the IT trend: Oracle’s SOA and BPM products are the foundation for Oracle Application Integration Architecture.

Green IT

Green computing, Green IT is the practice of environmentally sustainable computing or IT. This can include designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems more efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment. I wonder how the computing power can have no impact on the environment. It will definitely have one, more or less. The other thing is to reduce that impact, maximizing energy efficiency during the product’s lifetime. Many corporate IT departments have green computing initiatives truly to reduce that environmental impact of their IT operations… including Oracle by the way. Some are just catching up following the trend. They want to be modern – I think that’s their real motivation. This particular trend does not look obviouse to me and sometime even reminds me Green IT washing.

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