New year’s hot topics

Looking even a year ahead into the network future can be a daunting task. For example, three years ago at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates, then Microsoft ‘s chairman, boldly predicted the problem of spam on the Internet would be solved by 2006.

Recent studies, however, indicate worldwide spam traffic doubled in 2006 and now accounts for nine of 10 e-mail messages sent on the Internet.

Macro business issues will continue to dominate telecommunications and network infrastructure in 2007, and the big will get bigger through an aggressive M&A strategies. In 2007, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission modifications to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) regulations will occur, to the cheers of corporations and the jeers of the accounting profession.

The financial community is abuzz with renewed IPO interest in IPOs because the SEC has relaxed its reporting rules for SOX and 10-K filings.

Meanwhile, Cisco has made it official: Virtualization has brought to reality the phrase “the network is the computer,” and video convergence will drive the network industry to ever-greater demand for low-latency bandwidth.

In the corporate world, we will see the continuing advance of service-oriented architecture ( SOA ) implementations. Cisco will finally get religion and amalgamate its Services Network Oriented Architecture (SONA) with SOA. With adoption becoming universal rather than sporadic, SOA is a corporate reality. No architecture is static, and in 2007 we will see the SOA with information services and master data management (MDM).

To accommodate this evolution it’s critical that a standardized enterprise services bus (ESB) be selected within the corporate SOA. The ESB becomes the corporate control plane for all IT applications and effectively the spinal cord for corporate business processes. MDM virtualization, synchronization of information demands and real-time requirements for grid-based corporate analytics will accelerate SOA’s next evolution, which requires increased network reliability, security and accessibility.

The data centre
Data centres are consolidating at a rapid pace, and the virtualization of computation, storage and network services is creating the virtual data centre. Virtualization will let corporations physically locate IT resources anywhere that makes economic and security sense; that location will be unknown and irrelevant to the user. Applications, operating systems and middleware become virtualized by default. Virtualization is important, but beware of vendor hype. Such terms as “security virtualization” are being used without any understanding of their meaning or impact on the corporation.

Ethernet will become the network vehicle of choice in the virtual data centre. Today maximum connectivity in this environment is 10Gbps but in 2007 the IEEE will begin standardization efforts to make Ethernet evolve to 100Gbps.

The desktop
2006 saw the long-awaited arrival of Windows Vista from Microsoft . This year corporations get to kick the new operating system’s tires. Although Microsoft never has had any serious competition on the desktop, times have changed and Linux is poised to compete head-to-head with Vista. Because corporations now have the chance to evaluate a desktop upgrade, it’s time to compare open alternatives to a proprietary desktop operating environment. In 2007 there will be an opportunity to plan for the future of the corporate desktop into the next decade.

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