Budgeting for 2008 is either in full swing at many IT shops or will begin very soon. What are some of the hot topics buzzing around these budget meetings, and what are other IT shops planning for the coming year? Among the topics that seem to be the most popular are virtualization, unification, de-duplication, and encryption.
Virtualization is nothing new to IT, but the leverage gained from its continued use cannot be overlooked. Better resource utilization, reduced physical constraints, flexible provisioning, increased application availability, improved business continuity, and ease of management are just some of the benefits to a virtualized infrastructure. Companies that have yet to take the virtualization plunge are hearing about it and considering it for 2008. Companies that have already taken steps down the path of virtualization are looking to expand their virtualized infrastructures.
VMware is arguably the market leader in virtualization technology, but other vendors offering intriguing products are IBM, Virtuozzo, Microsoft, and Neoware.
Last year may have been a year of replacements, upgrades, and new installations. Many companies are having trouble “tying IT all together.” Unification may be the answer for some companies in 2008. Among the most intriguing unification topics are unified communications and unified messaging. Companies realize that there is a significant competitive advantage to communicating effectively across the enterprise.
Leading vendors include Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Avaya, and others.
More than single-instance storage, which attempts to store only one copy of a file, de-duplication can significantly reduce storage requirements by analyzing the actual blocks of data. IT shops have struggled with data storage ever since the beginning of the concept. De-duplication can reduce storage requirements from a range of 20:1 to 400:1. Using 20 times less disk space equals a substantial savings in storage, backup, and information security costs. De-duplication that works is typically an easy sell to budget approvers.
De-duplication gained traction in 2007, and a number of vendors offer workable solutions, including Data Domain, Diligent Technologies, ExaGrid, FalconStor Software, Network Appliance (NetApp), NEC, Quantum, Sepaton, and Symantec.
Companies need to think of encryption in two places, in transit and at rest. Encryption is arguably the most effective and underutilized security technology available today. Stolen and lost laptops, PDAs, USB drives, and backup tapes continue to make headlines all over the world, yet companies are still slow to adopt this simple technology. Companies that have already started encryption projects are well-advised to look for additional opportunities. Companies that are not encrypting mobile devices, backup tapes, and confidential storage drives should plan for 2008, before data is lost and another headline is made.
Easy to use encryption products are available almost everywhere. Some of the most notable vendors include RSA, Entrust, VeriSign, Utimaco, Checkpoint, and PGP.
Next year may be a challenge for IT shops, but proper planning and progress should make 2009 more manageable and secure.