There are a variety of new technologies advancing in 2012 that you should investigate, if you aren't already doing so, to give your small business a leg up on the competition. These recent technologies are beginning to be widely adopted and will continue to drive business forward.
Tablets are highly visible, and many users want them, if only to read books and consume media. However, from a business perspective, replacing notebook computers with much lower-cost tablets may have a double benefit of reducing capital expenditures as well as increasing user satisfaction. Security can be an issue, both protecting company data and keeping malware and other threats out. Fortunately, both encryption providers and antivirus vendors are busily creating business-focused products that can help ensure security.
2. Windows 8
Like previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 will probably not be widely adopted in any great hurry. However, the intriguing capabilities of Windows 8, especially in conjunction with Windows Mobile 8 and Windows Server 8 to create an easy-to-use, fully capable unified communications environment could mean rapid adoption for highly-mobile organizations that can benefit from the access-anywhere model.
3. Big Data
The company that can best serve its customers will be the most likely to succeed--and that entails knowing as much as possible about your customers. Hadoop is a system designed by the Apache Foundation to process large amounts of data. As organizations accumulate terabytes of data about customers, business processes, partners and more, the model of a single database running on a single server becomes less useful. Hadoop runs across multiple systems at once, allowing bigger data sets as well as separate search engines for different purposes.
4. Storage Virtualization
Storage virtualization allows for many useful features in storage area network systems. Putting a layer of virtualization between the servers allows for thin provisioning, automatic tiering of storage, instant snapshots, and deduplication. Since there is no direct correlation between the volume a server mounts and the physical storage being used, a volume may actually be spread across multiple systems. This allows for the most-used files to be stored on the fastest drives (auto-tiering), for volumes to be expanded as needed (thin provisioning), for a system to store only one copy of each unique file (deduplication), and for instant copies of volumes to be made for backups, system recovery, and other uses (snapshots).
5. Network Virtualization
Server virtualization software, such as VMware and Hyper-V, is only the beginning of a truly virtual environment. To create a useful private cloud, you need to be able to create multiple separate networks, each running different virtual applications. This enables networks for customers, internal users, software developers, HR and so forth, without requiring different hardware for each. Combined with server and storage virtualization, network virtualization facilitates a fluid and responsive data center, where you can move resources from one network to another without having to reconfigure hardware. And with network virtualization, each virtual server can have its own gigabit Ethernet connection.
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