In an era of e-business, infrastructure is increasingly important to businesses and, with technology leaps, increasingly exciting, according to AMR Research. While e-business and e-commerce address business processes, they still require technological advancements in process integration, database technologies, application servers, security, Internet enablement and platform management if they are going to work effectively.

The hot trends to watch out for in 2001 are:

  • Wireless technologies. Actual customer use of wireless applications has been slow, but will change. In 2001, AMR predicts that the number of enterprises deploying wireless appli-

    cations will significantly increase. The number of vendors offering such devices and services will decrease.

  • Network and storage management. Industry leaders plan to move 60% to 100% of their transactions to the Internet over the next two years and are beginning to add infrastructures that can handle such traffic. AMR states that in 2001 and beyond, bandwidth consumption will continue to grow as e-commerce increases. Old ways of storing data are no longer working. Look for Storage Area Networks, which create separate but integrated storage networks, freeing up Local Area Networks for regular operations.

  • Optical technology. Fiber optic and photonic technologies will continue to be one of the fastest-growing areas in telecommunications and Internet infrastructure. But AMR believes the reality of optical is still a couple of years off.

  • Peer-to-peer computing. In the business world, P2P or distributed computing, the technology behind Napster, allows companies to share computing capacity and content - processors, storage, memory, files - on a network. The typical processor is 90% underutilized, even during use. AMR said this technology allows organizations to use their existing investments by distributing computational tasks among their PCs.

  • Business community integration. The integration market is crowded and will be a rough market in 2001 before settling down, AMR stated. Electronic data interchange and extensible markup language (XML) are competing to be the method of choice. Lack of funding will take care of some vendors, with consolidation taking care of others.

  • Application servers. AMR Research doesn't see the need for the large number of application server vendors that currently exist. The consolidation trend of the last few years will continue.