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Top 10 business technologies for 2008

Green computing, mashups and the 'real world web'

4. Metadata management

Metadata is the foundation for information infrastructure and is found throughout your IT systems: in service registries and repositories, web semantics, CMDB (configuration management databases), business service registries and in application development.

"Metadata is not just about information management," Cearley said. "You need to look beyond that. Metadata is everywhere."

5. Virtualisation 2.0

"Virtualisation 2.0" goes beyond consolidation. It simplifies the installation and movement of applications, makes it easy to move work from one machine to another, and allows changes to be made without impacting other IT systems, which tend to be rigid and interlinked, Claunch said.

There are also disaster recovery benefits, since the technology lets you restack virtual systems in different orders in recovery centers, providing more flexibility.

"Virtualisation is a key enabling technology because it provides so many values," Claunch said. "Frankly it's the Swiss army knife of our toolkit in IT today."

6. Mashups & composite applications

Mashups, a web technology that combines content from multiple sources, has gone from being a virtual unknown among IT executives to being an important piece of enterprise IT systems. "Only 18 months ago, very few people [knew what a mashup was]," Cearley said. "It's been an enormous evolution of the market."

US Army intelligence agents are using mashups for situational awareness by bringing intelligence applications together. Enterprises can use mashups to merge the capabilities of complementary applications, but don't go too far.

"Examine the application backlog for potential relief via mashups," the analysts stated in their slideshow. "Investigate power users' needs but be realistic about their capabilities to use mashups."

7. Web platform & WOA

Web-oriented architecture, a version of SOA geared toward web applications, is part of a trend in which the number of IT functions being delivered as a service is greatly expanding. Beyond the well-known software-as-a-service, Cearley said over time everything could be delivered as a service, including storage and other basic infrastructure needs.

"This really is a long-term model that we see evolving from a lot of different parts of the market," Cearley said. It's time for IT executives to put this on their radar screens and conduct some "what-if" scenarios to see what makes sense for them, he said.

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For more IT business buying advice, as well as news, reviews, anlysis and opinion, visit PCA's Small Business Advisor website, the perfect day-to-day resource for IT buyers.

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