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IT initiatives tend to either promote long-term efficiency or growth. In 2012, we at Red Hat see technology advancements trending to drive efficiency while providing the foundation for new business growth initiatives.

As the global economy meanders through continued malaise, IT organizations will be faced with the pressure of doing more with less. This is hardly a new theme. Doing more with less has been a driving force in organizations for the past decade. The economic challenges mean that IT budgets will likely remain flat or grow modestly, creating situations where new initiatives can only begin if costs are removed from other business areas. The good news is that there are several ways to help organizations become more efficient to free up budget and resources for higher-value, critical IT projects. These include:

  • resource utilization improvements through continued consolidation and virtualization;
  • automation and self-service in areas such as provisioning and identity management; and,
  • initiatives that reduce the costs for power, cooling, and physical facilities.

We see three irrefutable requirements continuing to drive the IT organization – the ever-growing demand for increased compute capacity, application performance, and data volumes. Moore’s, Kryder’s, and Butter’s laws that predict compute, storage, and network capacity growth over time have proven true. Scale-out architectures have recently become a popular approach to keep up with these exploding demands. In 2012, we believe the predominant driver of scale-out architectures will be big data resulting from the explosion of mobile, commerce, and indexed unstructured data. A scale-out approach will drive additional requirements for the operating system, and Red Hat continues to improve manageability, performance, security and flexibility of its operating system platforms in an effort to meet these requirements.

Hype would suggest all enterprises have implemented operating environments that are fully virtualized or deployed in cloud infrastructure. Red Hat believes the reality is quite different. In 2012, we expect organizations to continue to adopt new infrastructure patterns and add them incrementally while maintaining existing investments. The result will be hybrid environments with traditional silo-ed workloads on physical servers, virtualized resource pools and private cloud infrastructures. Even organizations planning to leverage public cloud services will do so as an extension to their existing infrastructure patterns to result in hybrid operating models. These new models will define new requirements for developing, deploying, and managing hybrid environments.

For many organizations, 2012 may be a year of breaking the shackles of vendor lock-in. Despite repeated efforts by the IT organization, vendor lock-in has not gone away and it is still a limiting factor in their ability to control their own destiny. With the adoption of new approaches based on open source software, scale-out architectures, virtualization, SOA and cloud technologies, organizations can now truly use open and modular approaches to implement infrastructure if done right. This can limit their dependence on any single vendor or even set of vendors.

In addition, the developer landscape will continue to change in 2012. Application models are moving to lightweight and ‘componentized’ architectures that need multi-platform and web-oriented programming languages and frameworks. This includes tools, services and components to develop applications for mobile, cloud and the enterprise to embrace the evolving nature of usage and delivery paradigms. And, we believe a broader adoption of PaaS models will take place in 2012 to enable overall agility. In summary, choice, freedom, flexibility, and community-based open source development may prove to be additional 2012 themes for the enterprise operating system industry.

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