2 IT megatrends you should know about

posted 25 Jul 2012, 20:54 by Mark Albrecht - Area IT
HP Blog article by David Twohy

Did you know that, according to some studies, over 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years? That statistic got me to thinking about where all of that data is coming from, how it is being used, and what challenges and opportunities it represents for Information Technology professionals.

There are two big themes in terms of data generation today. The first: much of the data is unstructured, such as photos, videos, emails, tweets, and so on -- and end users are generating this data. For example, there are approximately 140 million active Twitter users today (and Twitter claims that it has surpassed 500 million total users) who send over 340 million tweets and over 1.6 billion search queries per day! That’s over 236, 000 tweets every minute! And then there’s FaceBook. As of February 2012, Facebook reported over 845 million active users, and Facebook handles more than 40 billion photos posted by its user base. If FaceBook was a country it would be the third largest country in the world, behind only India and China in population. And speaking of India, the government of India is planning to launch an initiative where every school child will be issued a tablet to help them with their schoolwork. If their plan is successful, 220 million tablets will be deployed to students in that country! Think for a moment about the educational opportunities that this program will open up, and then consider the data that will be generated from all of the schoolwork and projects -- and the data and network management challenges that this program will create.

But it’s not just people who are creating data. The second theme: sensors. They are everywhere, including HP’s recently announced Gen8 servers with its “Sea of Sensors” that analyzes its own health across 1,600 data points. These sensors continuously and proactively monitor various components in the device so that we can provide a much higher level of service to our customers by predicting issues and proactively addressing them before they occur. Proximity sensors are another example – some of the latest cars can parallel park themselves using these sensors. RFID tags are used in an increasing number of applications, including electronic toll payment systems, retail goods management and shipping containers tracking. Security systems use sensors to ID individuals via fingerprint or eye-scans. I read one study recently that predicted that there will be over one thousand sensors per human by the end of this fiscal year (2012). All of these sensors are continuing to generate data every day, and the applications for this technology continue to expand.

The other megatrend that I’d like to talk about today is the concept of off-premise infrastructure.

The reality is that most organisations today are working with off-premise IT infrastructure. Outsourcing is not a new concept in our industry, but it has definitely evolved as cloud capabilities entered the mainstream of corporate and consumer IT. For instance, did you know that over 80% of the application development that occurs today is happening using off-premise infrastructure?

I believe that it has a lot to do with all of those “apps” that we all download to our mobile devices. Today there are approximately 5.9B mobile devices deployed globally, which represents 87% of the human population. Over 10 billion apps have been downloaded on these devices, and more than 300,000 new apps were launched over the past three years. Most of the apps are being developed leveraging off-premise infrastructure. Why? Because in many cases, the people who are developing these apps are smaller companies or even individuals. They have neither the capital nor the resources to stand up a dedicated infrastructure, and time is a critical commodity in this space. In order to gain a competitive advantage, app publishers are looking to develop and launch apps in a matter of weeks, and this speed to market fundamentally changes how organisations think about application development, the investments that they’re going to make, and the infrastructure needed to support their efforts. Developers want to turn on an infrastructure when they need it. When the development and testing is complete, they want to turn off the infrastructure – and the associated costs. When companies or individual developers can generate their apps in this manner, it provides them with a significant competitive advantage.

When we think about the off-premise infrastructure and how organisations are leveraging it for success, it is central to any discussion about Cloud computing.

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