Monday, December 24, 2007

My 2008 IT Forecasting Crap

Oh, look, another person making predictions for the coming year. How amazing. How exciting. How stupid. Yes. It is stupid. But I have some time to kill, so why not add my 2 cents to the mountain of coinage already piling up on the web?
  • Virtualization - Both operating systems and packaged/sequenced applications, will gain popularity in 2008. Look for an increase in the number of projects looking to deploy EMC's VMware, Microsoft's Hyper-V, Xen, and others in the data center. In addition, look for more cases of Microsoft Application Virtualization (formerly called "SoftGrid") deployments.
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  • Apple will March Onward - Look for a new iPhone in 2008 with many of the features current users are yearning for. Also, look for a new handheld/UMPC form factor device for mobile browsing or possibly something akin to the Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle products. The IPod product line needs some sort of boost, so look for increased storage capacities per line.
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  • Windows Server 2008 - What can I say. I love it. I love Linux also, but WS08 is one of the finest products I've seen come out of Microsoft in years. Very well designed and built. I would have liked to see a more thorough method of building "Server Core" than simply decoupling existing hooks, but it's a very bold and risky first-generation attempt. It works, so that's the biggest issue, and it will be accepted very well in 2008 along with the rest of the (GUI) WS08 product line.
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  • Vista will continue to struggle - Even with the added benefits of coupling it with WS08 (hence the marketing mantra "Better Together" you're going to start getting sick of hearing). There's still too thin of a rationale for justifying the expense, overhead, and deployment effort for most large environments. Most are going to defer their efforts towards further XP deployings using Service Pack 3. Unless Microsoft makes some dramatic changes in how Vista is packaged and sold, most companies are going to stick with XP until Windows 7 ships in 2009.
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  • Microsoft System Center will Do Well - Both Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Operations Manager (SCOM) will become more popular by Spring of 2008. Look for more projects involving those products.
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  • Microsoft SharePoint 2007 - AKA "MOSS" will continue to gain momentum in small to medium business environments in 2008. Larger environments will also see increased uptake but as a percentage of overall IT time/labor it won't compare with smaller environments who can adapt their workflows and methods to a new platform much more quickly and easily.
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  • Linux will Continue to Struggle - On the desktop. Yes. It will. As much as nay-sayers like to bash Microsoft over Vista and what-not, Linux is simply not an option for most medium to large environments. I won't go into the usual shopping list of reasons why, but suffice it to say, that running Linux with Wine and/or Xen to force-fit difficult Windows apps is just a dumb idea to propose in a boardroom meeting. It would get you fired immediately. The Linux world needs to take a lead for once, instead of continually saying "we can do that also!" and jumping up and down in the back of the room. Do something REALLY unique, not just different. There's a million ways to accomplish media streaming, web services, file sharing, authentication, mobile applications development, and virtualization. Those are done. Do something Windows and OSX haven't done.
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  • Google will try more Hail Mary's - Google has become laiden with overgrowth of corporate proportions. It has become increasingly similar to what it intended to avoid: Another Microsoft. Rapid growth, hiring, scaling out, and the overhead that automatically incurs, have all placed a massive drag on Google's ability to innovate rapidly. Most of 2007 has been evolutions and tweaks, as opposed to revolutions like we saw from them in 2004-2005. Do something with the Gmail interface for God's sake! Where's the huge lead you had over Microsoft? News flash: MS is catching up on you. Slowly, for sure, but they always do. Look for Google to make a few major releases or announcements in 2008 to help regain their lead in various areas. Hopefully, they do more than that.
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  • Microsoft will Continue to Expand - The Zune 2.0 is only a mid-term effort. Look for a more impressive push in that market to compete with Apple. IE8 will be another significant announcement, as will a bevy of "cloud" computing services for small-medium customers. Aside from the expected releases of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 will also gain momentum in 2008, along with .NET 3.5 and 4.x later in 2008. Incubator products and technologies like Silverlight-oriented toolkits, tons of goodies that have come out of the birthing room known as MSR, and all sorts of things in between (XBox 360, MSN, Live, etc)
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  • Firefox 3.0 will do well - If Mozilla can manage to avoid stuffing too much bloat into 3.0 like they did with 2.0, and continue to impress with faster rendering performance and slicker features, it will do very well. Maybe well enough to push back against increased spread of IE7 and IE8. Opera will continue to decline. Safari will grow on OSX but decline on Windows platforms as a result of IE8 and FF3 popularity in 2008.
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