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The end of the year's IT news brought battles, secessions and overhauls.
Servers were pitted against each other, HP split in two and disaster struck those unstable enough to implement continuous deployment.
How did everyone fare? Here's a recap of the top IT news stories from the end of 2014, in chronological order.
Cisco, Dell, HP battle for server glory
There's a new style of data center computing and server hardware companies must adapt. By introducing new systems, Cisco, HP and Dell attempted to transition IT with new servers.
The need to swiftly and efficiently generate Web-based apps and services combined with server hardware that cost-effectively scales those offerings has shaped this new style of IT computing. Cisco, HP and Dell's servers must handle the increase in information made available by big data analytics.
The majority of IT shops have significant investments in server hardware from all three companies, and must decide how to control their investment to take advantage of the new data center computing. Dell, Cisco and HP are also at a crossroads. They aim to rebalance dwindling server hardware sales with converged infrastructure tools.
Cisco rolled out multiple technologies to lead its unified computing systems to large IT shops. HP's ProLiant Gen9 is designed for convergence and software-defined enterprise IT, and Dell introduced its Dell Power Edge 13th Generation Servers with software-defined storage technology, that delivers 11 times more application performance. But there are mixed reviews about the success of these vendors' missions.
Disaster strikes those that rush DevOps, CD
Implementing continuous deployment in your DevOps environment with the wrong organizational structure will lead to disaster.
Some organizations rush to implement continuous deployment (CD), only to experience failure if their business isn't organized to handle this change. Organizations fail to recognize structural and cultural changes.
Adopting CD and CD tools allows for new code to be delivered quickly, but if the system breaks, and you don't have suitable processes in place, you may not be able to fix it.
The problem with CD is the hype that follows DevOps: the rush to adopt can't be supported without an organizational and cultural shift. While DevOps remains a sought after and valuable goal, you need more than just the right tools to succeed.
HP transforms into software, services Hydra
HP also made headlines this year when it split itself into two companies: HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE).
HPE will sell Intel-based servers, server-based storage and networking products. It will also sell its cloud-based software and services, to continue its focus on cloud, big data and mobility. HP Inc. will sell PCs and printers.
Corporate IT shops were interested because of concerns over technical support after the split. As always, software licenses are a hot-button issue for IT, and companies with licenses in place across both companies wanted to know how their support would change.
While most customers don't see the split as a threat to their businesses -- as long as not much else (like price) changes -- HP's relationship with Microsoft might be in jeopardy.
HPE will focus on its Helion cloud environment and less on Microsoft's Windows Azure, pitting the two in direct competition. Microsoft focuses on Windows integrated products, while HP is more concerned with converged and hyper-converged infrastructure products that bundle server hardware with cloud and software products from smaller vendors.
I&O overhaul with new IT trends
Gartner's research vice president, David J. Cappuccio, explored the top 10 IT trends that are expected to change infrastructure and operations at the Gartner ITxpo.
Among the top 10 trends is software-defined everything. Software-defined anything aggregates management into a single tool or place. Software-defined networking, storage and data and software-based tools are expected to transform the data center in the near future.
Converged infrastructure (CI) is driving the integrated systems trend. Deviating from heterogeneous systems and acquiring entire infrastructures will offer data centers simpler deployment and services.
Beware of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is expected to grow to 50 billion Internet-connected devices. IoT offers real-time support and machine learning abilities. However, IoT requires an infrastructure overhaul that captures, stores, processes and reports on information from all of these devices.
So what do these trends mean for the data center? Adaptation. To remain competitive, the business might require new systems, tools, processes and procedures.
Move up or move on
Although generally satisfied with their paycheck, participants in TechTarget's 2014 Annual Salary Survey were restless for a promotion.
A majority of survey respondents noted their increased paychecks but also conveyed a need for more challenging work and an increased prospective for job growth. Server managers responded that they were open to new job opportunities, although they were not actively seeking new employment.
This article made the list because money is an interest for most IT pros: their salary and their peer's salaries.
Also getting bigger was IT budgets. The average IT budget grew nearly 17% in 2014, which bodes well for innovation in the upcoming year.
Senior executive editor Ed Scannell, editor-in-chief Alex Barrett and senior technology editor Stephen Bigelow contributed insights for this report.