In recent years, we've seen a lot of progress but little consolidation in operating environments. The mainframe has experienced a partial resurgence, UNIX has gained acceptance in many data center applications and Windows NT has come on strong in the enterprise. Each of these platforms has clear attributes that explain their presence in the IT infrastructure. However for the data center manager, the issue of investing in the appropriate technology has become fraught with risk due to the dynamic position of these technologies. The question becomes, "Which technologies merit the most investment to keep in business now and in the future?"

A survey of 500 IT professionals, commissioned by Sequent Computer Systems, showed that data growth was a major concern given the state of existing IT infrastructures.1 Ninety-five percent of those surveyed expect data volumes to at least double over the next three years, while 25 percent expect data growth between four and five times the current level in the same period. In addition, Web-based IT architectures result in many more users demanding connectivity to that data through more complex operational and decision support applications.

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