Wolfe's Den: Top Technologies To Watch In 2011, Part 1 - InformationWeek
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Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Wolfe's Den: Top Technologies To Watch In 2011, Part 1

A shift in the way we think about security, along with predictions about the death of the desktop, the rise of the "Internet of Things," and HP's rebound from the Hurd scandal are on our columnist's list of prognostications for the new year.

3. For-Real Greening of Servers.

As I wrote in my State Of Server Technology 2010 research report for InformationWeek Analytics, the most exciting platform innovations in recent years have occurred around the processor, rather than in it.

Specifically, this design activity has focused on making servers less power hungry, the better to cut down on the date-center electricity costs which are every CIOs nightmare.

I don't mean to detract from the great server architectures released by Intel and AMD over the past few years. There will be some exciting new processors this year, too.

However, compute cycles are no longer the gating factor for performance or, for want of a better phrase, operational affordability. (This is a rolled-up way of saying that processing is ubiquitous, or, better yet, computing is free.) Where the differentiating rubber meets the road, and one of the arenas in which Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, and Oracle will compete, is in who can built the most efficient servers.

I got tuned into the significance of "less power is more" when I talked with Hewlett-Packard chief blade-server architect Gary Thome early last year. Here's a snippet from Server Den: Inside HP's Converged Infrastructure:

"Thome really got passionate when we began talking power and cooling. . . 'We can throttle CPUs, voltage-regulator modules, memory, fans, power supplies, all the way down to trying to keep the power consumed as low as possible at any given time.' "

OK, so let's admit that it's hard to make server power and cooling interesting. Let's also take it on faith that, in 2011, its boringness will be inversely proportional to its importance.

4. 'Internet Of Things' Takes Off.

Is Big Brother watching? That's the concern of folks who've been wondering what'll happen when their coffee makers and microwave ovens are connected to the Internet. However, such privacy worries obscure the real significance of the coming hook up of pretty much everything electric to that big network in the ether.

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