Here's my count-down of the top technologies that will have the most impact on servers in 2010.
10. DDR3L - The JEDEC spec for low-voltage DDR-3 memory came out last year, but 2010 should mark significant adoption of these 1.35-volt DIMMs. Since the memory in a modern, high-memory server can consume more power than the processors, DDR3L will play a key role in helping solve data center power consumption and capacity problems.
9. Oracle Fusion Applications - Currently in beta testing, Oracle Fusion Apps is an evolutionary step in Oracle's piecing together of key technologies from its "standard" products with those it recently acquired, like PeopleSoft and Siebel. In some cases, I expect we'll be learning (and managing) applications that are effectively brand-new.
8. Tukwila and Power7 - The UNIX-oriented mission-critical processors grow beyond dual-core, and get hefty caches shared between cores. Intel expects to bring its Itanium into production in the first part of 2010, while published roadmaps from IBM also put Power7 in the 2010 timeframe.
7. RHEL6 - I haven't seen schedules from Red Hat showing RH Enterprise Linux futures, but based on their plan to move RHEL5 into "phase 2" of their lifecycle in early 2011 (that's basically the "no new features, just bug fixes" phase), 2010 would be the logical year for this virtualization-tuned generation of the OS. Fedora 11 and 12 (now released) were the planned "feature previews" for RHEL6, so we'll see.
6. SPEC virtualization benchmark - I'm making another guess at roadmaps to predict the SPEC Virtualization committee might reveal its plans for a benchmark in 2010. (HP is a committee member, though I'm not personally involved in that; as always on this blog, I'm speaking for myself and not for HP.) VMMark is a great tool, but the SPEC benchmark should boost our ability to do vendor-agnostic comparisons of virtualization systems.
5. SAS SSDs - Solid state drives with a SATA interface have been available for a couple of years in servers. (I think IBM was the first to use them as internal drives on blades.) However, servers have traditionally relied on performance & reliability advantages that the SAS protocol brings, and so SAS SSDs are really going to help bring SSDs into everyday use inside servers.
4. Nehalem-EX - The benefits of an integrated memory controller and hyper-threading that emerged with the Intel Xeon 5000 processor will be available to servers with more than 2 processors. Plus, with bigger cache and a beefier memory subsystem, performance will be impressive -- Intel says Nehalem-EX will bring the "largest performance leap in Xeon history".
3. CEE 'ratified' - Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) is the final piece to enable a standardized Fibre-Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). This carries the possibility of effectively eliminating an entire fabric from data centers, so there's much-anticipated cost savings and flexibility boosts. Actually, there is no single "CEE" standard; but the key final pieces (the 802.1Qbb and 802.1az standards from IEEE) are targeted for final ratification around mid-2010.
2. Win2003 Server End of Mainstream Support - There are really only two reasons to upgrade an OS: You want some new feature, or the old one can't be patched. For those who are relying on Windows 2003, the chance of the latter happening is about to get larger in 2010, so expect a lot more pressure to upgrade older systems to Server 2008.
1. Magny-Cours processor - Twelve-core x86 processors; enough said. Actually, maybe not: AMD's next-gen Opteron has other performance-boosting features (like additional memory channels), and Magny-Cours will be available for 2-processor as well as 4+ processor servers at the same time. What else? I'm impressed with John Fruehe's comments about AMD's plans to enable 4P performance with 2P economics. I predict Magny-Cours will be the big story in 2010.
Top-ten lists don't seem complete without honorable mentions, so here are my two: Ratification of the PCI Express 3.0 spec, and Microsoft's Madison / Parallel Data Warehouse extension of its SQL server line.
And finally, one new product that almost, but thankfully didn't, appear on this list: The 0.0635 meter hard drive. The EU's Metric Directive , which comes into effect in 2010, originally prohibited publishing specs in anything but metric units. Among other things, that could have lead to a renaming of 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives. Luckily, later modifications to the EU rules mean the "0.0636 meter drive" won't make its appearance -- at least in 2010.
If I'm interpreting the comments from Bob Nusbaum correctly, then Cisco has decided to stop using the term "DCE" (Data Center Ethernet), and will use the terms "CEE" or "DCB" going forward.
That's a good move. As they are generally used, DCE, CEE, and DCB all refer essentially to the same stuff. Our acroynm-translation lists will get a little shorter, and there will be fewer arguments about the technical distinctions between them.
DCB (Data Center Bridging) has the most well-defined meaning. It represents a set of standards that an IEEE task group is developing that, among other things, helps govern multiple traffic types running over an 802 network.
CEE (Converged Enhanced Ethernet), most famous for being part of the recipe that allows FCoE, refers to DCB done over Ethernet. The term CEE was once trademarked by IBM (but no longer is).
DCE (Data Center Ethernet) was Cisco's trademarked term for CEE. Bob Nusbaum (of Cisco) says the term was causing confusion.