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7 Virtualization Predictions for 2012

As we bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012, I figured we would end this blogging year with a reading of the crystal ball "Eli style." It has been a great year and I have enjoyed all the comments and the responses that I have received from all of you on all the social media channels I am connected on. That being said, let's see if we can end this year with a bang of predictions:

Desktop Virtualization
I am sure you were expecting this one from me so I will keep it brief. In 2012, the adoption of desktop virtualization will continue to grow and enterprises will recognize that the effects of consumerization will force them at some point to start rolling out Windows 8 even as they've yet to complete or even start their migrations to Windows 7. Couple that with the expiration of Windows XP in 2014 and I think 2012 will be the year of the desktop.

Most of my clients tell me that they won't to Windows 8, but my take on this is that it is really not their choice to dictate that anymore , Windows 8 will make a splash in the tablet arena, the Metro-style OS will take off and consumers that are buying these new devices and getting used to Metro and not wanting to go back to Windows 7-style computing will force IT to make the move. Desktop virtualization will be used to deliver a choice of Windows 7 or Windows 8 and a slew of virtualized applications.

Mobile Device Management
MDM in 2012 will most certainly take off. I am predicting that cloud-based MDM solutions will dominate, but as the number of mobile devices increases and their uses for accessing enterprise resources solidifies, most enterprises will be seriously looking at an MDM solution not necessarily to manage the end point, but rather to manage the enterprise resources on that device.

My favorite companies to watch in the MDM space are OpenPeak, MobileIron, Citrix CloudGateway and VMware's Horizon Mobile. Keep in mind these solutions do a lot more than just MDM, but since the term MDM summarizes a lot of other things like mobile application management and security, I figured I would just use that term.

Big Data
The increased number of mobile devices automatically translates into an increased volume of user-generated data and automated application-generated data. Couple that with the amount of data generated out of social media -- especially as that data makes its way into the enterprise -- and you end up with an enormous amount of data that will overwhelm the current enterprise infrastructure from a hardware perspective as well as from an information management perspective.

The increasing volume of unstructured data will inevitably lead companies to start investigating options not only around how to contain and manage this volume of structured and unstructured data, but also how to mine it and leverage it for competitive advantage. We will see this accelerate in the enterprise as Microsoft and Oracle adopt Hadoop behind their databases. Currently, IBM offers Big Data through InfoSphere.

Hybrid Clouds
While I think that cloud computing in general will accelerate significantly in 2012 with IT organizations offloading more IT tasks like collaboration, mail and others to the public cloud, I see 2012 as being the year of the hybrid cloud. I think IT will finally come to terms with the fact that expanding the enterprise infrastructure does not make much sense moving forward.

Challenges like Big Data and other technologies will make it very expensive for companies to continue to invest in an enterprise infrastructure when the alternative is available and cheaper. Take something like VDI for instance, which at some point will end up in the cloud, probably not in 2012 but it sure makes financial sense to have it there, especially if your current colocation datacenter provider offers cloud solutions. It's a matter of deploying to the public cloud compute resources. This and many other reasons lead me to believe that hybrid clouds will be the talk of the town in 2012 with products from Citrix, F5, and Cisco leading the charge. VMware will be there, of course, but in VMware's case I think you can only extend to a vCloud and not any cloud.

Social Enterprise
The Facebook generation is starting to make its way into higher positions in the enterprise and as that trend accelerates so will the adoption of new collaboration methods. I personally think that email's usefulness will be lessened in the enterprise, with Facebook-type solutions taking over. I think that coupled with Dropbox-like solutions for the enterprise will almost wipe out enterprise intranets. Microsoft will significantly enhance Sharepoint or face stiff challengers in the enterprise space. In this space, I really like VMware Socialcast, Citrix GoTo portfolio and collaboration in addition to the work that Cisco is doing in this space and, to some extent, what Microsoft is doing with Lync.

Automation & Orchestration
Key enablers of private clouds, automation and orchestration tools will be another highlight of 2012. We will see significant consolidation in this space with potential acquisitions of companies like Cloupia and Gale Technologies. Citrix's message with its acquisition of and CloudStack is spot on and I like what VMware is doing with vCloud Director. I think Microsoft has a strong solution in SCCM but I do believe that at some point that has to be broken into a separate product as the SCCM suite has grown significantly large and complex.

Finally, the biggest innovation for coming years will happen around storage. In 2012 we will see a larger adoption of Flash in the enterprise as the cost becomes reasonable and the technical barriers are abolished. I also believe that the ever-increasing drive capacities and the volume of current and expected data growth will force enterprises to demand either a replacement technology for RAID or an evolution of RAID. I believe that trends in both directions will rise. However, I'll make a more accurate prediction here in that RAID will probably evolve in some form that resembles IBM's RAID-X implementation -- some iteration of this type of RAID can accommodate larger drive capacities, significantly lower rebuild times. I would keep an eye on EMC, HDS and IBM in this space. I also think that technologies like Erasure Codes will be given a serious consideration.

As always I would love to hear your comments and perspectives on these predictions, where you think I'm spot on and where you disagree with me. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading the blog this past year; I hope I was able to positively contribute to your knowledge, give you insight and a different perspective on things. If you have suggestions for topics you want to hear more about in 2012, send me e-mail or tweet or Facebook me -- the social revolution is at your disposal and I am available and always online.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 12/29/2011 at 12:49 PM


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