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Results from the all new Reg Barometer

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

What are the hottest infrastructure technologies as we look forward over the next two years?

This was a question the all new Reg Barometer set out to answer by asking readers to rate the short and medium term importance of 25 emerging or fast developing technology areas. The study provides some good insights into what's on buyer agendas, and this doesn't always match up to the IT industry view.

Beginning with the enterprise sector (companies with more than 5,000 employees), security is still very much at the top of the list. You might think that everyone ought to have sorted themselves out in this area by now, but the barometer tells us otherwise. The security story does seem to have moved on, however, from basic protection measures such as anti-virus, anti-spam, firewalls, etc, to focus more on authentication and access. The top three items on the agenda in the enterprise space are single sign-on (SSO), identity management (IDM) and network access control (NAC).

Not far behind security, we have technologies that are designed to deliver greater efficiencies and flexibilities in the infrastructure. Both storage and server virtualisation hold a very prominent position and blade server architectures appear in the top 10 enterprise list too. Highlighting the need for flexibility in a different manner, enterprises are also putting a lot of emphasis on portal technology and composite applications. The other big theme is then advanced communications in the form of IT Telephony (IPT) and mobile solutions.

On the open source front, Linux on the server puts in a good showing, but doesn't quite make it into the enterprise top 10 (it occupies the number 11 slot). The story is very different for Linux on the desktop, open source office suites, and the related ODF standard, however, which all fall into the bottom five, together with application streaming and software as a service (SaaS).

But views and plans are different when we switch our attention from enterprises to more mainstream mid-market and SMB organisations. While the overall level of interest and commitment to advanced technologies is significantly less, the rankings are different too. For one thing, Linux on the server surfaces to the number one position, closely followed by IP Telephony. While still not high up the rankings, some of the more client oriented open source offerings are also rated more highly.

But what about the vendors?

Well, the most striking difference between those involved in selling IT products and services and the buying community is the sellers' enthusiasm for open source. Vendors are three times more likely to highlight the importance of desktop Linux than enterprises, for example, and four times as likely to take open source office suites seriously. Differences are also seen with server based Linux, but to a lesser extent.

It is difficult to tell whether these differences are a result of superior insights in the vendor community, a greater level of technical skill allowing easier adoption of emerging open source offerings, or simply a desire to drive more competition into the market by promoting alternatives to the dominant Microsoft presence. In reality, it's probably a mixture of all of these.

The barometer report itself, which was put together by Freeform Dynamics, presents the detail behind these and other findings. You can view or download a copy in PDF format here:

View/download report in PDF format

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