Five Technology Trends IT Considers 'Game-Changers'

Survey Says ...

Every year, in an effort to identify the trends that are top-of-mind for IT managers around the globe, CommScope distributes its Enterprise Survey Report. This year, the communications company managed to pull responses from a not-too-shabby 1,104 IT professionals spanning 63 different countries.

Despite the diversity of the group surveyed, the 2013 responses painted a pretty holistic view of the technology trends making a big impression on IT. Here's a look at the top five trends -- or IT "game-changers" as CommScope calls them -- identified by this year's survey.

5. Going Green

The "green IT" concept may not be new, but it is still top-of-mind for IT professionals.

According to CommScope's findings, 24 percent of survey-takers identified energy and green initiatives as the fifth-biggest IT game-changer over the next five years. Respondents were asked to identify the extent to which they hoped to slash energy consumption levels within both their enterprise campuses and their data centers. In both cases, the majority of IT managers surveyed -- about 19 percent -- said they hoped to cut energy consumption by roughly 20 percent. Meanwhile, roughly 15 percent said their aim wasn't to lower power consumption at all, but to maintain current consumption levels while adding new technologies to their infrastructure.

To achieve these goals, and to be more green overall, more than half of respondents said they would look to server virtualization, while 44 percent said they would move toward server consolidation, and 36 percent said they'd adopt cloud computing.

4. Infrastructure Intelligence

The fourth most significant IT game-changer over the next half decade will be infrastructure intelligence, according to CommScope's report.

Infrastructure intelligence, as CommScope defines it, encompasses technologies like network asset management or data center infrastructure management that help IT keep closer tabs on their network infrastructures. The need for technologies like these is being spurred more and more by the rise of business-critical applications, mobile devices and the cloud, CommScope said, which are changing the face of enterprise networks.

Nearly one in three respondents of CommScope's survey said infrastructure intelligence will significantly affect their IT decisions and network operations over the next five years. Thirty-three percent of those that took the survey said they are hoping to embrace infrastructure intelligence as a means of reducing human error related to network operations.

3. 40GbE And 100GbE

Transitioning to 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) technologies was identified as the third-biggest game-changer in CommScope's 2013 survey.

That said, respondents seemed to recognize how time-intensive this transition could be. The numbers revealed that, in five years, the majority of IT professionals surveyed expected their applications to still be running one 1GbE or 10GbE architectures, meaning the transitioning to 40/100GbE is at least a half-decade out. The majority of those surveyed expect this transition to happen first within the backbone of their data center, and then within their enterprise structured cabling.

To help fuel their data centers' transition to 40GbE and 100GbE, 55 percent of respondents said they anticipate deploying a multimode, laser-optimized optical fiber, while 35 percent anticipate using OM4 and 20 percent anticipate using OM3.

2. Cloud Services

Cloud services nabbed the runner-up spot in CommScope's 2013 survey, with 44 percent of respondents pointing to the technology as a game-changer.

Namely, IT managers expect the rise of cloud-based applications to have a major impact on the way in which they manage their data center and enterprise infrastructures. Roughly three-quarters of survey respondents said they already deploy cloud-based applications in a private or public cloud environment. But, looking ahead, that number is expected to soar.

A whopping 90 percent of the enterprises surveyed expect to move at least some of their applications to the cloud by 2017, while 52 percent expect more than half of their applications to make the move.

1. Enterprise Mobility

Perhaps to no surprise, the biggest IT game-changer identified by CommScore's 2013 survey was enterprise mobility.

Of the 1,104 respondents, 44 percent indicated the need to support mobile technologies will become a significant priority for them over the next five years. Why so many? The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend -- whether referring to laptops, tablets or smartphones -- is already in full swing, with more and more employees using their own personal devices to tap into corporate networks.

CommScope found that, on average, 43 percent of all the phone calls being made from inside an enterprise facility today come from mobile phones. But not all enterprise networks, the survey found, are mobile-friendly. Only 36 percent of the businesses surveyed said their existing signal coverage and network capacity are able to sufficiently support current mobile traffic, and 76 percent of respondents noted that employees have to move around the building or go outside to find a strong enough signal.