- Service Level Automation will expand from the server-centric approach of today, to a variety of granularities, including the application level, the middleware level, the OS level, the cluster level, etc. This is crucial when it comes to truly optimizing both hardware and software usage, including optimizing license utilization, etc.
- Hardware will play a much more significant role in virtualization in 2007. Check out Intel VT and AMD V on-board virtualization, Xsigo I/O virtualization and the Mazu Networks real-time network discovery and analysis appliance as examples. (Note that none of these technologies are in the automation space; rather, they push the boundries of what is possible the virtualization, dynamic provisioning and monitoring functions.)
- The incentive for larger organizations to move to a true utility computing infrastructure will grow tremendously as initiatives are announced throughout the Fortune 500.
- Successful SLA and utility computing implementations will continue to appear in both commercial and government customers. Unsuccessful implementations will also appear, either due to poorly planned solutions (the "I can build it" syndrome), or poorly planned projects (the "I can convert my entire datacenter at once" syndrome).
- The winners in the utility computing and service level automation space will be defined by successful implementations, strong partnerships and innovation that continues to disrupt the traditional tightly coupled, "silo"-based approach IT uses today.
- Utility computing will appear as a system integrator specialty with increasing frequency over 2007. In fact, specialist boutique firms will start appearing in large cities around the United States and Western Europe, and will be quite profitable.
Let me know what you think. I've only had a few hours to think about this this year, so I'm sure more will occur to me over the next few days.