When it comes to new products, the two things that usually stand the test of time are innovation and impact. Innovation is relatively easy to gauge in the context of what has gone before. But impact can be a little trickier. After all, there are products that can capture the imagination, but only little adoption. There are others that to the experienced eye serve only to bring a collection of related technologies under a single pane of glass, and yet there impact is broadly profound.
[mostread]With that perspective in mind, we set out to identify the most important enterprise IT products of 2009. You'll have to check out the accompanying slideshow to see what products we're referring to, but here are the rationales for each selection:
#10 -- As an example of things to come in the collaboration space, this offering captured a phenomenal amount of interest from end users and developers. It remains to be seen just how well this product can practically scale in the enterprise. But it did more to spur conversation about the possibilities and shortcomings of collaboration than any similar product in memory.
#9 - Hardware doesn't usually capture the imagination, given its utilitarian nature. But when somebody finally builds a notebook that combines the best attributes of a consumer PC with massive amounts of horsepower and extended battery life, people take notice. And as notebooks go, this 15-inch model is pretty good-looking, as well.
#8 - Although other Microsoft products generated a lot more buzz in 2009, this offering may prove to be the ultimate game-changing product as Microsoft gears up to do battle with Google and a host of other providers for dominance of the cloud that will ultimately be determined by the loyalty of application developers.
#7 - While most customers are still testing the concept of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), this product did more to further that discussion than any other. It also shows that virtualization has a role to play well beyond the server and that, most importantly, there's more to virtual desktops than terminal services.
#6 - This offering is the other half of the duo in 2009 that came to define desktop virtualization. What makes it compelling is that it comes with a manifestation of a new approach to desktop virtualization that makes it easier for IT organizations to deploy the many forms of this technology based on application requirements, rather than virtual infrastructure.
#5 - There are a plethora of smartphones on the market today, but this offering shows that you don't have to sacrifice an open architecture in the name of innovation. As times goes on, we expect that IT organizations will remember these devices with the same fondness they remember the arrival of the first open PC systems back in the 1980s.
#4 - It's been seven long years since corporations had to seriously consider what they planned to do on the desktop. With the arrival of this offering, the debate has been greatly expanded in terms of not only when to move to this platform, but also how this platform stacks up against rival offerings. The simple fact of the matter is that we've have not seen this amount of diversity on the desktop since the early days of DOS. And with the rise of desktop virtualization, chances are that IT organizations are going to embrace that diversity. In the meantime, this offering brings much needed credibility to one of the major players driving the desktop debate.
#3 - From the perspective of IT managers struggling to keep up with increased demands and fewer resources, this offering brings more to the table in terms of server operating systems than anything in recent memory. There's no doubt that there's a lot of momentum around other platforms, but the fact remains that this work horse platform got a whole lot richer and much easier to use in 2009.
#2 - Data center convergence is still in its infancy. Enabled by virtualization, it's pretty certain that convergence will be the hallmark of data center for the early part of the coming decade, and this offering did more to define the concept that any other.
#1 - Cloud computing is all the rage. But for internal IT organizations to really achieve it, they need to rethink how IT infrastructure operates. This offering sets the stage for enabling IT organizations to move into a new era of private cloud computing without having to rely on third-party service providers to get there. As such, it goes a long way toward defining how enterprise IT will function going forward.
Congratulations to all the vendors that took the time and effort to make these products possible, and best of luck to all the chief technologists that will be sure to be implementing many of them in 2010.