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Enterprise Opportunities & Challenges in 2009

Money-saving tech will flourish in 2009, but so will cyber crime.

What's ahead in enterprise technology for the coming year? We explore new technologies to be on the lookout for as well as key security and data management issues.

Virtualization will be a major enterprise thrust

Companies are cringing as the double whammy of the recession and the credit freeze are crippling them, and they are looking to cut costs by any means necessary. That's why IDC predicts that virtualization will be really big in 2009. But it won't just be server virtualization and data consolidation, desktop virtualization will be hot too.

As companies virtualized, they are finding that there is a dearth of tools to manage their virtual environments, leading VMware (NYSE: VMW) and other vendors like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), BMC (NYSE: BMC) and Fort sphere to unveil tools for this.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is expected to make further gains in the virtualization market, and VMware may lose ground to its attack. Already, several VMware partners have cozied up to Microsoft, and VMware itself has had to sign up for Microsoft's third-party server virtualization validation program (SVVP).

Cloud computing will jell

More ancillary services will be built around the cloud to support enterprise capabilities. Databases in the cloud are already available; look to services such as VMware's vCloud initiative, which let users switch back and forth between the cloud and on-premise systems, and expect a plethora of new entrants to the cloud computing service provider field.

Meanwhile, major players like IBM (NYSE: IBM), Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Microsoft will expand their cloud computing services. Microsoft, for example, recently launched its Azure cloud-based operating system, which is targeted at developers and will likely compete with Salesforce.com.

Everything as a service

This area is like one of those all-you-can-eat buffets where you get a bit of everything. Look for strong growth in software as a service, platforms as a service, databases as a service, security as a service, application development as a service, testing as a service.

The recession will boost enterprise interest in being able to access IT on a pay-as-you-go basis, without having to invest money and equally scarce IT resources in developing and maintaining applications in-house. However, companies' interest may be tempered by fears that security may be inadequate and the question of who will be left responsible when there is a security lapse.

Also, what if the hosting provider blows it? VC firm Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers recently found out what can happen when data about startups that were applying for money from its $100 million iFund, which was designed to help companies develop programs for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch platforms, was splashed all over the Web because its former hosting service provider made a mistake.

Next page: The growing security threat