Research firm Gartner has revealed its list of the 10 most important strategic technologies for 2009, which includes cloud computing and business intelligence.
The majority of the technologies on this year's strategic technologies list are the same as the ones included on last year's list, such as green IT, mashups, Web-oriented architecture and unified communications. Among the most notable additions this year is cloud computing, which Gartner has in the past defined as "a style of computing where massively scalable IT-enabled capabilities are delivered 'as a service' to external customers using Internet technologies."
In other words, cloud computing is a way for companies to have key services delivered to them through the Internet rather than through an in-house data center. Gartner says that the biggest benefits of cloud computing are its "built-in elasticity and scalability, which not only reduce barriers to entry, but also enable these companies to grow quickly."
Other additions to the strategic technologies list this year include:
--"Beyond blades" servers, which Gartner describes as the next step in the evolution of the blade server. Essentially, blade servers in coming years will see advancements in storage technology that will let companies create storage-area network pools that will provide more flexible storage options; a deeper integration with virtualization; and blade server aggregation that will join together two blade severs to serve as a single logical server.
-- Business intelligence systems that are used to report on and store key performance indicators to help managers and knowledge workers make smarter and more informed decisions about their businesses. Gartner says that good BI systems can help business leaders "make faster, better and more-informed decisions."
-- Heterogeneous systems that Gartner says will "mix processor types in a single system under one operating system to deliver higher performance than monolithic systems." In other words, heterogeneous systems will incorporate the functions of several different appliances into one server system.