Windows Vista, open source and virtualization will be the hot buttons this year. ZDNet Asia explores why.
The long-awaited Windows Vista operating system is finally in the hands of businesses. Early reports have indicated that early-adopter companies have been receptive to the new OS. Within a month since its launch, Windows Vista has seen sales trail slightly behind Windows XP's first month's tally. Microsoft's December revenue from Vista was reportedly 62.5 percent above that of Windows 2000 in March 2000.
This trend dovetails the views held by industry observers, who have indicated that businesses on Windows XP are unlikely to switch to Vista in the short term, while Windows 2000 users are more likely to move to the new OS.
And like any new OS release, especially a completely reengineered one like Windows Vista, existing applications need to be ported over. Microsoft is aware of this, and is sparing no effort to eliminate bugbears during the migration process. For instance, the Windows Vista compatibility team has set up a dedicated Web site that provides developers with resources to aid them in the migration process.
Most analysts expect big companies to wait for at least the first round of service pack updates from Microsoft before they put Vista into daily service.
Additionally, Gartner has predicted that Vista will be the last major release of Windows. The analyst company also noted that the next generation of operating environments will be more modular and will be updated incrementally.
On the server front, Microsoft is expected to release Windows Longhorn Server in the second half of this year. The server software will share the same code base as its desktop counterpart Windows Vista, and a third beta is likely to be released before its final launch.
More companies are expected to adopt virtualization, and the technology will see greater potential this year, according to IDC. The analyst firm predicts that this year, the next wave--which IDC calls 'Virtualization 2.0'--will emerge. That is when users will focus on continuity, disaster recovery, high availability, as well as mobility and portability through virtualization.
Vernon Turner, IDC's group vice president and general manager of enterprise computing, noted that in virtualization 2.0, the technology moves beyond its current primary role in hardware consolidation. This means virtualized applications can run on any kind of hardware, have adequate security, and without any performance degradation.
Input/output (I/O) virtualization is also expected to be a major trend this year, according to Gartner's annual technology prediction for 2007. With big vendors making a concerted push for the technology, mainstream virtualization technology will embrace I/O virtualization, breaking the traditional bonds between physical servers, network switches and storage area network (SAN) switches, and making shared OS virtualization ubiquitous, Gartner noted.
Linux and other open source software are likely to gain in strength and popularity in 2007, going by years of consecutive market growth.
According to Unisys, the entire open source stack this year will attain a similar inflection point in adoption for critical mainstream business solutions such as business intelligence and enterprise content management.
The LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack, focused on general functions such as operating environment and database services, has until now formed the foundation for most open source projects.
"In 2007, we'll see a rise in more differentiated open source stacks for specific purposes, such as business intelligence, content management and output management," said Ali Shadman, vice president and general manager, of open source solutions at Unisys, in a statement.
Shadman said each specialized stack will constitute a 'black box'--a plug-and-play, minimally configurable building block designed to fit naturally in modern data center environments and accomplish a single job from the outset.
Such solutions are essential to ease IT management's concerns about having to focus on integration of open source components instead of developing and managing innovative systems to support growth of their businesses, Shadman noted.