The cloud hysteria and the “end of PC” debate is today’s equivalent to the dancing shadows on the walls of Plato’s famous cave (see Plato’s cave allegory); both topics are keeping companies and their customers distracted while the technology industry is entering an era of accelerating change more like Kurzweil’s Singularity than Moore’s law.
The mainframe is being reinvented as the green data center; the hard drive is becoming a mere front end for applications and services residing on servers. The network is becoming the new mother of all motherboards, pushing innovation to the ever expanding edge.
We saw the network usher in the age of network security, then application delivery, the consumer web, the enterprise web and the branch office. Now it is bringing us logarithmic rates of change and increasing connectivity at levels that make the dotcom era look like the mainframe era.
We’re now talking about billions of devices being connected to the network (and servers) in the near future, compared to less than 100 million total in 1999. These devices are collecting and spewing information at an unprecedented pace to an unprecedented population of connected users and systems.
Archimedius has been discussing the impacts of virtualization, netbooks/tablets and cloud operating models (see the three horsemen) on the IT industry since 2008, especially as it relates to the network. In 2011 we’ve seen a host of major cloud outages, many due to network-related issues and involving some of the most sophisticated IT teams in the world; recently tech legend Microsoft was a victim.
Yet these outages are mere harbingers. They are indications that we are collectively entering uncharted territory where our existing frames of reference don’t prepare us well for estimating future needs.
Witness the contrast in the data center industry, where some wonder if the world already has enough data center space and yet growth -even in massively built markets like Santa Clara, CA- is defying the great recession of 2011.
You can see for yourself in two separate but related articles in today’s Data Center Knowledge:
The concept of obsolescence is now entering the data center world and enterprises are wondering whether their existing facilities are up for the new demands and opportunities. Hence the survey results reporting that readers are now most interested in data center scalability, design and technology versus merely who they select for construction. That marks a major shift in thinking no doubt influenced by the realization that the data center is becoming critically important to IT, which is becoming critically important to the bottom line.