Cloud, consumerization give power to users, steal influence from IT

Convenience, ease of use reduce front-line role for IT, but don't eliminate it


According to the only slightly facetious list of "Top 10 Infrastructure Trends for 2012," Gartner analysts presented at the company's Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit in Orlando last week, IT is undergoing an unprecedented set of major changes, all made simultaneously, nearly all driven by a single motivation – convenience.

That convenience is possible because the technology allowing it is smaller, more flexible, easier to use and easier to house in public clouds, private clouds, hybrids, servers, tablets, smartphones and anything else an end user wants to type on while accessing critical, secure corporate data.

That convenience–all of it built on the ability to virtualize servers applications and end-user hardware–puts more power in the hands of end users. It also creates a declining arc in the long story of corporate IT–one that could close with the elimination of IT entirely. .

Certainly trends this large and undeniable encourage thinking in absolutist, finalist terms.

They encouraged Gartner Chief of Research Dave Cappuccio to conclude that all the mobile technology, ubiquitous networking and network-accessible data will lead to the end of the PC era and, very likely, the PC itself.

That's the unavoidable fallacy in any set of predictions. The more clear the trends being analyzed the more clear and absolute the conlusion appears. No solution to anything is ever pure or absolute–the logistics of distribution and general stubborn, bloody mindedness of people using the technology see to that.

Each of Gartner's top trends is, undeniably, happening, however. Collectively, they can't help but create a whole new environment for both IT and end users; it's just not the one traditionalists wish we could return to or the one early adopters wish would hurry up and get here.

Here's the list, just to put the whole thing and my misinterpretations all in one place:

Gartner Top 10 Infrastructure an doperation Trends for 2012

Infinite data center: IT gear continues to shrink in size and increase in power, eventually allowing data centers to continue to expand the compute power they contain without expanding physically because the gear they house keeps getting more dense.

Resource management: Virtualization, cloud, SAAS, Mobile, all make resources assignable; managing and tracking them becomes proportionately more difficult with each increase in convenience. Managing resources becomes more important than the existence of the resources themselves.

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