I’ve never taken predictions very seriously, and so I have traditionally refrained from forecasting the events of the coming year. I know it is a harmless past time, and my predicting an event is unlikely to change the future. What harm, for example, in predicting that the Green Bay Packers will join the Miami Dolphins in the ranks of undefeated football teams?

In fact, most predictions of future events involve just a little thought and a willingness to extrapolate some current trend to a logical breaking point. Using the football example, it would be silly to predict that any other team would be undefeated this year. And we also know that the Packers will eventually lose. So picking against them is also easy to do. And the risk, of course, is low.

Therefore, predicting greater use of DCIM is an easy pick, as is the increased adoption of cloud computing. Survey after survey tells us that these trends, and others, will continue for some time.  You will probably see trend lists in various blog posts and from manufacturers and consultants pointing out the obvious.

Determining, not predicting, the right IT configuration for any size enterprise is hard work with very significant consequences for the enterprise. Should company A move some applications to the cloud? Is it time to build a new data center? How big should it be? How will we monitor, operate, and control it in order to maximize its potential, minimize energy costs, achieve reliability, and reduce LCC. These are just some of the serious questions faced by companies and their personnel today.

Sometimes finding the right answers involves bucking a trend and then justifying it to the C-suite.

What’s more, the changing regulatory, cost, and business environment means that the final decision must suit not only today’s circumstances but tomorrow’s as well. And this is not an insignificant part of the decision as technology changes can upset all sorts of key parameter trends. Consider what the storage environment looks like today compared to say five years ago. Or power density, or availability and data security requirements.

Picking disruptive technologies is easy in hindsight, but how many truly realized how much data would move to video and how the demand for video would increase. And then consider how that changes the overall needs of the data center. No wonder that we have never resolved the debate over the value of IT capacity predictions. In fact, the Uptime Symposium featured one terrific discussion that proved that disruptive technologies still confound even those assigned with understanding how they affect data center power, data, and bandwidth demands.

I’ll make one prediction, though. In 2012, Mission Critical will continue to bring you the best information we can. Julius Neudorfer will join our distinguished group of columnists (thank you Dennis Cronin, Peter Curtis, Peter Funk, Andy Lane, Bruce Myatt, and Doug Sandberg), who do so much to make each issue relevant. We will continue to draw upon the whole industry as a way to bring new information to you through our webinar series (18 in all last year featuring a virtual who’s who of industry experts). We hope to do even more of these events. We will also continue to bring new features to our website and to our newsletter, often after consultation with our board. And most of all, I will continue to try go to as many meetings as I can, in order that we should learn what’s going to happen in this industry from you, the end user.