Aided by two technology trends, users will increasingly turn to virtualisation technologies on x86 systems to boost server utilisation.
First, dual-core chips will deliver the performance users get today from two single-processor systems. Second, Intel and AMD are adding virtualisation capabilities on their chips. These efforts, called Vanderpool and Pacifica respectively, will improve virtualisation performance and give x86 chips abilities similar to what's available on Unix systems and mainframes. The combination of dual-core chips and virtualisation will increase server utilisation and reduce the need for discrete servers.
Supercomputing moves mainstream
Now that you're done cutting costs by offshoring, the CEO wants to know what's your next big move. "Supercomputing, chief," you pipe up at your monthly IT planning meeting. The chief financial officer smirks. The CEO glares. Undaunted and with your best I've-never-been-more-right tone of voice, you say, "We can cut cost through simulation of product development and testing, something only a supercomputer can deliver. The applications for commercial use are beginning to scale across hundreds of processors, and we can rent processing power on grid-connected server farms -- we'll save bundles on product development and speed our products to market ahead of the competition."
Ripley's believe it or not
Despite what HP says, Itanium is a de facto proprietary chip. HP is responsible for 50 per cent of its sales. Dell dropped Itanium this year. IBM would rather sell its Power chip, and Sun Microsystems Inc. has no interest in it. But Itanium isn't going away; its user base is expanding.
The big technology disconnect
Data centre managers see a huge disconnect between server vendors and themselves about keeping blades cool. The vendors are selling blade server systems, which if fully populated, can't be cooled without advanced and expensive technologies. Some users may hold off on buying blades because of this problem. Enterprise vendors are only beginning to offer cooling solutions with their servers, but that should pick up this year.
Trade shows you should attend
Most IT industry conferences are CIO-focused and vision-drenched. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But if you want to get a solid bottom-up view of the challenges involved in implementing that vision, then attend an AFCOM show. This organisation holds two big shows a year attended by hundreds of data centre and IT managers with an operations focus. FYI: The boxed lunches are as good as those as they hand out to CIOs.
In case you didn't notice
The debate over offshore outsourcing is over. If it isn't already universal today, outsourcing agreements built on overseas wage pricing will be universal in 2006.
Avian flu will be on everyone's radar
If you globally source, the bird flu issue could become a weekly meeting topic.