Five Technology Trends to Keep Watching Over the Next Year

By Tagg Carroll

IT Manager, Gragg Advertising

Not long ago it seemed like I was fresh out of college in New York City starting my IT career at a family owned software company.  I was working on button company inventory systems and my day to day concerns varied from worrying about modems, dot matrix printers, and programming THEOS to talk to all sorts of archaic scrap.

Almost 15 years later, here I am architecting, building, and improving on every possible piece of complicated solutions to real business programs.  I still see software as a never-ending and constantly evolving source of systems making work more efficient, data more interesting, and even art more accessible.  Below I’ve listed my Top 5 trends to watch for this coming year.

1.       Open Source Software

To say an open-source solution has no cost is to say your IT team’s time is free. The flexibility, stability, and scalability of the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl/Python, a.k.a. LAMP, are worth it. Other technologies are catching up fast but respectively Apache and Linux make up 65% and 25% of the web server and OS markets respectively. High performance computing and cloud infrastructure applications will keep these technologies around for a long time.

In my time at Gragg I have come to know Sencha’s  ExtJS product.  I cut my teeth on version 3.4, but a few projects into version 4.1, it looks to further reduce the amount of code needed for front-ending data heavy applications. Modern browsers and projects like Node.js will allow these application frameworks to dominate business computing.

2.       Consumer High Speed Internet

If only the Google Fiber project had my address categorized as a residence, I would be counting rainbow rabbits as I doze off at night. I have seen firsthand how the social “fiberhood” marketing initiative has taken hold in real neighborhoods and communities. To be fair, while typing, I was contacted by the fiber people saying the non-residential address issue will be cleared up soon.

3.       Data Aggregation

About all I remember from statistics is that the more data you have the more likely you will be able to separate the wheat from the chafe. Constantly testing, measuring, and analyzing is how we manage to store away loads of data here at Gragg.  Supposedly “all the words ever spoken by human beings” could be stored in five exabytes (1 billion gigabytes) of data. The total global storage capacity, in 2007, was estimated to be 300 exabytes. As a society, we are really putting it away.

4.       The Perfect Storm

Thin devices, lean IT budgets, and shear horse-power are propelling cloud computing forward. Every datacenter and hosting company sells some form of virtualization. Private clouds offer larger IT departments an extremely scalable and cost effective application deployment while public cloud services let developers create the next generation of media, hardware devices, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) projects without the overhead of managing servers.

5.       Green Datacenters

The other four topics addressed here all ride on a huge wave of datacenter electricity consumption. It is estimated datacenters globally use about 1-2% of the world’s electrical production. A unique opportunity afforded by data’s ability to transport over long distances is to use this property to negate the non-portability of electrical power. Green datacenters are doing just that by using large scale wind, rooftop solar, wave, and geothermal energy to offset power consumption and decrease a co-locators carbon footprint.

Whatever internet revolution we are in, it is because of creativity and the power of the tools at hand. Web 2.0 is and will continue to reveal itself in the form of easy-to-use and sophisticated software made from various combinations of the above technologies.  As the predominant software architecture swings back to the same old client-server paradigm all parts of the chain are far stronger (and more accessible) than ever before.  I am excited to be part of it, and so should you.

The economic transmission of power without wires is of all-surpassing importance to man.”

– Nikola Tesla, 1905