Top tech for 2009

If you want to make good IT business decisions, it pays to know what's on the horizon. With 2008 safely out of the way, we take a look at what we can expect from tech in 2009.

The challenge is coding your application to be able to take advantage of the GPU's capabilities and for that purpose Nvidia has is C-based CUDA language, enabling applications to be easily written that can really take advantage of the GPUs.

The Tokyo Institute of Technology even has an NEC-built supercomputer called TSUBAME' that consists of 170 Nvidia Tesla S1070 GPUs.

The uses to which GPGPU has been put are searching for oil and gas, a cure for cancer and for aliens. Which of these is most important is probably a matter of debate, but using graphics cards for 'real man's work' - rather than just playing the Sims - is going to be big in 2009.

Fibre broadband

Fibre cables, rather than just copper, has been bubbling under throughout 2008, but in 2009 we should start to see the first fruits of the technology. Optical fibre cables promise far faster speeds than standard copper, but the expense of laying it down has, up to know, prevented it from sprouting in this country. Most of the roll out that BT is planning is based on Fibre to the Cabinet (FttC), where fibre is used from the exchanges to the cabinets used in the streets near homes and businesses. The technology that extends fibre all the way is called Fibre to the Home (FttH).

The cost to lay all of the UK with FttH has been estimated at up to 29 billion, rather than the 1.5 billion that the FttC is said to cost. BT has said that FttC will deliver around 40Mb/sec, which isn't bad, while FttH would give 100Mb/sec.

At least BT has already said that the credit crunch won't delay this planned roll out and we know that the first sites to receive the pilot trials will be Muswell Hill, London, and Whitchurch, South Glamorgan. In fact, these will be trials and would lead to full product launches in 2010.

However, there are strong suggestions that BT is concentrating on new developments and that businesses that are already too far out to benefit from ADSL2, won't stand to gain from the FttC roll out either.

Even so, if BT does what it says, by the end of 2009 fibre will be a real prospect in this country and that's something we should look forward to.

SSD

If you're looking to purchase a server of any type, it makes sense to look at including a solid-state drive. SSDs have the advantage over conventional hard disks in having no moving parts, making them more robust great news for high-use environments. Equally, the lightening fast access times make them perfect for environments where responsiveness is crucial.

Intel has changed the game with its X-series drives, redesigning its memory controllers to enable modern operating systems to interact with the drives more efficiently. Its server SSD drives can deliver speeds of 250MB/sec for reads and up to 170Mb/sec for writes, well up on standard drives.

Of course, capacity and price still count for a lot, which is why their use in consumer devices such as netbooks has actually decreased, but for a transactional database those factors are irrelevant. Even the capacity issue is being addressed with pureSilicon unveiling a 1TB SSD drive at CES 2009. This drive is not due until the third quarter of 2009 and the price is likely to be eye-watering, but it certainly knocks the capacity issue on the head.

With prices coming down for lower capacities, maturing technology continuing to improve speeds and capacity being addressed at the high-end, SSDs attack on HDD looks set to continue throughout 2009.

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