In Depth

Betting big on the 'SMAC stack'

The notion of combining social, mobile, analytics and cloud into one integrated architectural pipe is gaining traction.

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The concept of creating an IT infrastructure that supports and integrates social, mobile, analytics and cloud is gaining ground, and some industry experts and IT executives are convinced that the next generation of IT will revolve around SMAC components as the key foundational technologies.

"We see a lot companies focusing on one or more of these trends. But it's when they converge that it becomes really interesting," says Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner.

"It's like an industrial revolution of sorts, where you're achieving the digital critical mass of some key foundational elements," Anderson says. "We have this platform in cloud services that presents us with unlimited capacity of computational resources. With mobile we have this unprecedented ability to put connectivity into the hands of individuals and devices. Analytics gives us specific insights we never had before, and social media makes it all personal."

The combination of these four things creates a synergistic effect where the sum of the four is clearly greater than the individual pieces, Anderson says.

IDC is pushing the notion of a "third platform," which is built on the four SMAC components. "These technologies need to be seen together, as the emerging new technology platform for growth and innovation," says Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. "Over the next decade, developers will create hundreds of thousands of new enterprise solutions -- the next generation of core and 'killer' apps." The SMAC stack "is becoming the new mainstream for enterprise and consumer IT."

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