The Future of Server Technology

I really enjoyed reading author Ken Hess and his assessment of the top 10 server technologies for the new decade. It was a great read, not only because he’s a good writer with the ability to speak (that is, write) plainly, but also because it covered just about every IT trend that will save money for companies, promote green computing, and make life easier for IT folks and end users. Here are a few:

– Virtualization technology – which will touch every data center in the world. Virtualization promises that companies can save on IT costs by converting their infrastructures to virtual hosts and guests or moving to an entirely hosted virtual infrastructure. The migration to virtualization will in turn put pressure on computer manufacturers to “deliver greener hardware for less green.”

– Cloud computing – Hess predicts that “savvy technology companies” will use cloud computing to market their products and services to a global audience at a fraction of the cost of current offerings. (This doesn’t just mean platform providers like Amazon and Azure but also companies that offer such services as website transaction monitoring.) And, despite some pretty high-profile outages this year, cloud computing providers will increasingly move closer to offering an “always on” philosophy. Hess says “entire business infrastructures will migrate to the cloud during this decade.”

– Mobile computing – Any available web connection is what’s needed here for a rapidly expanding army of mobile workers, plus hardware that’s lightweight and easy to use (meaning no complex set-up) and that can pull data, apps, even your computing environment (or operating system) from the cloud.

– Virtual Desktops – Virtual desktops have been in the news lately with the development of fully functional cloud-based desktops and other neat gadgetry, for example, USB-enabled virtual desktops.  It’s all about leaving behind resource-needy local desktop operating systems and migrating to virtual ones housed in data centers. Hess predicts that desktops will be based in PCs, data centers and the cloud for the next few years, but eventually will all be non-local by 2020. He rightly points out that virtual desktops will help companies lower maintenance bills and help eliminate errors associated with desktop operating systems.

– Digital Libraries – Personally speaking, I like my books on paper (In one day, I look at the computer screen for more than is good for my eyes.) But Hess predicts that by the end of this decade “printed material will all but disappear” and that, someday, libraries will function more as museums to house historic and valuable volumes and to show kids how people used to read.

Of course, Hess writes a lot more about technology, including the advance of open-source migration, online storage and web-based apps.  To read more, check out his article.