2009's Top 10 Emerging Enterprise Technologies

Top picks for 2009's most significant up-and-coming technologies for business.


Top 10 emerging enterprise technologies

InfoWorld's Top 10 Emerging Enterprise Technologies of 2009 highlights the technologies that we believe will have enormous impact in the enterprise for years to come. Each technology is in use, but not yet widely adopted. Read on and enjoy the countdown from 10 to 1.

Looking for the in-depth details on the winning technologies? Read our full report.

This slideshow, "2009's top 10 emerging enterprise technologies," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. For more on technology awards, go to InfoWorld.com.



Under siege from a huge influx of constantly morphing malware, the old security model of using signatures to detect viruses, worms, and Trojans is hitting the wall. Whitelisting software, such as that offered by SignaCert Enterprise Trust Services, adopts the reverse approach. These products take a snapshot of a known good system to create whitelisting rules and, thereafter, monitor systems for unapproved applications and even prevent unapproved programs from running. It represents a huge sacrifice in individual control, perhaps, but soon enough whitelisting may be the only solution to the pervasive malware pandemic.


Cross-platform mobile app dev

Mobile enterprise applications have never taken off, for two reasons: The developer time to learn how to program for individual smartphone devices and the almost absolute lack of portability from device to device. Cross-platform mobile app dev environments, such as the Rhomobile Rhodes framework shown here, enable developers to write an application once and have it run on many different devices, with a surprising degree of access to individual smartphone features. Mobile enterprise apps, here we come. 


Hardware power management

New hardware technologies dramatically reduce power consumption, but only some are living up to their potential today. Power supply manufacturers have upped the efficiency of certain models to 80 percent or more, thanks to an industry incentive program called 80 Plus. Also, most storage manufacturers now offer hard drives that throttle down when not in use. Multicore CPUs can park cores when loads are light, and other chips and components can put themselves to sleep, but they generally require software power management to work.


Many-core chips

We thought the endless cycle of ever faster clock speeds and beefier single-threaded chips would go on forever. But it didn't -- mainly due to power consumption issues and the fact that monster chips spent too much time lying fallow. It makes more sense to spread the load across multiple cores running threads in parallel -- such a the new 100-core Tilera Tile Gx -- providing you have the right software to support it. Power consumption is lower, and with the right sorts of loads, a bunch of little cores running in parallel reach the finish line first.


Solid-state drives

SSDs (solid-state drives) aren't new, but they're a lot cheaper than before. In the past used for only the very highest-performance applications, SSDs are now being employed as external memory caches to boost performance across a number of datacenter scenarios. SSDs have also become more durable, raising the limit on memory writes that was once a major barrier to adoption. Stec, which makes the Zeus-IOPS SSD shown here, formed a partnership with EMC last year.


NoSQL databases

Who knew that the good old relational database was running out of gas? As it happens, much of the data being stored by enterprises today is ill-suited to the row-based tables of SQL databases. So-called NoSQL databases, like the open source project CouchDB illustrated here, work much better with less structured data such as security logs or system logs. Why demand the same controls you would apply to transactions to data about user behavior or system hiccups? NoSQL databases lack those controls -- which is one reason they can process data much faster.


I/O virtualization

No new technology has taken the enterprise by storm quite like server virtualization - to the point where it can no longer be termed an emerging technology. I/O virtualization is an essential complement to server virtualization: When you run a bunch of VMs (virtual machines) on a server, each needs its own I/O, but if you satisfy that need with hardware, you eat up space for network and storage interfaces fast. Virtual I/O, such as that offered by the Xsigo I/O Director pictured here, or Cisco's Unified Computing System, enables you to allocate discrete bandwidth to individual VMs across one high-bandwidth connection.


Data deduplication

Data in the enterprise doubles every 18 months. How long before buying storage and managing ballooning data sucks up all available IT bandwidth? Enter data deduplication. So much business data is redundant, from e-mail attachments to backup sets, that deduplication solutions, such as the Data Domain DD660 Appliance shown here, typically yield dramatic results. In backup applications, 50 percent reductions in the need for disk space are common. In the coming years, we expect data deduplication to place an increasingly important role in the primary storage tier as well.


Desktop virtualization

It's all about TCO. Desktop virtualization enables IT to centralize management and control by storing desktop data, configurations, and applications on the server side, which users access via thin clients like the HP model shown here. No more running from desktop to desktop solving problems. The most exciting new development -- which promises to push desktop virtualization into hockey stick territory - is the client hypervisor. Due in 2010 from both Citrix and VMware, it will enable even greater manageability using standard PC hardware. 



Yes, we picked a programming framework for distributed processing as the No. 1 emerging enterprise technology. Why? In part because MapReduce enables something entirely new: the ability to crunch petabytes of data in a fraction of the time it would normally take -- on commodity hardware, no less. Apache Hadoop, now available via Amazon Web Services in the form of Amazon Elastic MapReduce, is the best-known implementation, but MapReduce is also being incorporated into mainstream solutions from IBM, Oracle, and others. Now those huge server farms in the cloud have something to do.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.