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2011 Predictions for IT Management

2011 will be a big year for IT change and growth, especially as IT budgets are back on the rise

2011 will be a big year for IT change and growth, especially as IT budgets are back on the rise - Gartner has even predicted that spending, specifically on IT, will increase by 60% (per employee). Here is a look at a few predictions on how the IT industry will change and grow over the next year:

A new hybrid desktop world is emerging, where users interact with multiple sessions (or "screens"). The primary screen for most users is still their local rich desktop that resides at their physical workstation, but more and more that's being supplemented with a form of a virtual desktop. These can be hosted in the data center on Terminal Services, directly on a hypervisor, or on the client through type-1 or 2 hypervisors. In addition, multiple models for application delivery have emerged (i.e., application virtualization and streaming), which also cannot be effectively managed with legacy product sets. With all these new forms of desktop "screens", hosting centers and application delivery mechanisms coming together, IT is facing major management challenges.

Organizations need to look at a more strategic desktop management platform to help streamline the oversight of their desktops and also increase the automation functionality used in making updates and/or changes to this part of their environment. Most current models do not support this type of management. Some of the major technology providers, like Microsoft and Citrix provide multiple desktop and application delivery products, yet they do not currently provide a unified way of managing these related, yet disparate models. Now imagine trying to manage a multi-vendor delivery environment? The need for a unified management solution becomes crystal clear.

With Windows XP support ending at the end of this year, the need for a central management solution will also be enhanced by a predicted jump in the adoption rate for Windows 7 in 2011. During the Windows 7 migration, IT managers will face significant challenges when dealing with the reconfiguration of user settings, as with most updates of this kind. However, there is a solution to make this and future migrations easier. Separating a user's desktop environment from the underlying operating system and hardware is one way to create an infrastructure that is more adaptable to change. This type of dynamic desktop environment allows IT to centrally manage changes like migrations or wide-spread updates without disrupting the access that employees need to their applications, data and printers, etc, and allowing users to retain their personal settings.

Security will also be extremely important in 2011, especially in the hybrid environments discussed above. Once the environment becomes centrally managed from a single console, security is simplified as it enables consistent security across the entire infrastructure. When considering security, the dynamic desktop environment should also employ a context-aware approach. This is another area we expect to see growth continue in 2011. With this functionally, IT can determine which rights and limitations apply to a particular user based on their location or even time of day, and apply those rights to applications, data, printing and personal settings. As a result, IT can ensure that users get only the services they need, when they need them and also create rules to ensure certain sensitive applications, like financial databases, aren't accessible from unsecure login points.

The last trend we see coming to light in 2011 is an increased demand for solutions that improve automation across infrastructures. This will be a critical feature in ensuring IT sees faster return on investment from all of its technology investments. After unifying and managing each desktop and application delivery platform, the end-user experience and security from a single console, automating the redundant tasks needed to keep these systems up and running is an important step in successfully managing a hybrid environment. Automation is a driver for time and cost savings that IT needs to focus on other strategic projects.

We're excited for another innovative and fast moving year in technology. It will be interesting to see how these, and other trends, play out in 2011.

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Originally appeared on VMblog's 2011 Virtualization and Cloud Prediction Series: http://vmblog.com/archive/2010/12/22/res-software-2011-predictions.aspx

More Stories By Jeff Fisher

As Vice President of Strategy at RES Software, Jeff Fisher is responsible for developing key business relationships and revenue opportunities to fuel continued, global growth for RES Software. He plays a critical role in developing the company’s long term global growth strategy as well as solidifying its presence in key regions, such as the United States. Mr. Fisher brings to RES Software more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning and market development, technical selling and alliance formation in the infrastructure software market.

Prior to RES Software, Mr. Fisher was Vice President of Strategy at Desktone, where he architected and executed a multi-year market development strategy, establishing the company as a globally recognized leader in desktop virtualization. Prior to that, he held the positions of Senior Business Development Manager at Microsoft and Director of Business Development at Softricity, where he established and managed an alliance with Microsoft that ultimately led to acquisition. Additionally, Mr. Fisher worked for Citrix Systems and NETLAN.

Mr. Fisher earned his BA from Cornell University and MBA from Columbia Business School.