Top 10 IT management trends for the next five years

ORLANDO -- The top trends affecting technology infrastructure over the next five years can be summed up as largely a list representing where IT and users are battling for control over technology.

The ability for users to be mavericks and bypass IT systems via social networks, application development with mashups, and conduct business on their mobile devices, is rapidly increasing, according to industry research firm Gartner Inc.'s forecast.

However, conversely, IT is poised to strike back, with technologies such as client virtualization. Centrally managed virtualized clients bring a new approach of "let's give them what they actually need, not what they want," said David Cappuccio, chief of research for the Infrastructure teams at Gartner.

"That's a cultural change as much as it is technology," said Ted Meisky, assistant director of IT infrastructure, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, of the push to client virtualization.

It's also in contrast to what Meisky and Cappuccio both agreed was another problem, and that is the rise of dead servers in data centers, a growing problem for virtualized environments where servers can be rapidly created but gradually fall in disuse. "We really don't have a lifecycle view of this," said Meisky.

The second major theme in Gartner's list is energy and, even here, users are more aware today of the problem and raising questions about usage as well.