Gartner has identified instant messaging, wireless LAN, taxonomies, VoIP, software as a service, a real-time enterprise infrastructure, utility computing, grid computing, network security convergence and RFID as the top technologies for 2005.
The year will also see additional developments in operating systems, SOAs (service-oriented architectures), on-demand computing, storage, open source, and -- of ever-increasing importance -- security.
Whether 2005 will witness the first solid beta of Microsoft's much- talked-about Longhorn remains to be seen. Company officials have indicated their hope to deliver the next-generation beta by the end of 2005.
A technology trend that will take an even deeper hold in the enterprise during the course of this year will be the "dynamic IT" environments such as those endorsed by Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
At IDC, Frank Gens, senior vice president of research, said, "There will be a new focus on a new foundation in IT during 2005, what we call 'dynamic IT' but the vendors call 'on-demand' or 'adaptive'. It's about the ability to apply flexible approaches based on things like SOAs, Web services, virtualization, and standard components. It is this technical foundation underneath the enterprise that will be the driver for change."
SOA was the acronym du jour in 2004, and all the big players, including BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun, are vying in the SOA space, promoting the use of component-based, interchangeable application architectures as the new wave of IT infrastructure.
In 2005, IT managers can expect to see more acquisitions among storage software vendors, as storage management increases in importance and tiered storage continues to come of age. Storage resource management software will continue to grow, as will storage archive software.
Tape vendors will continue to integrate disk into their products and will offer better integration into storage networks. In the same vein, expect to hear a lot about ILM (information lifecycle management) from the major storage vendors and to see plenty of products with iSCSI (Internet SCSI), as the technology starts to take off this year.
Networks will grow faster, more complex, and larger in 2005. As more 10 Gigabit Ethernet products come to market, the network core will see a marked increase in performance. At the same time, the network edge will see a performance boost as Gigabit Ethernet extends to the outer edge.