computing utilities cometh

December 10, 2009 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

It’s quick. It’s clean. It’s pure.
It could change your life, rest assured.
It’s the 21st century cure,
And it’s my job to steal and rob GRAVES!

Computing and IT is entering a new phase. Think of it as the industrialization of information processing. The glory of having the fastest chip, or the fastest router, or the fastest drive, in fact any fastest computing component is quickly becoming Pyrrhic in nature. It’s all about the computing ecosystem.

Some call it cloud computing, others call it scalability – in fact it is something very different. It is the computing utility. Think of it this way…

When technology companies created systems or solutions, they were focused upon a very horizontal marketplace i.e. all things to the most people, or a vertical i.e. specialized systems for specific applications. But when you think beyond systems and focus on absolute efficiencies of the individual components, and then configure those components to interact as an eco-system, rather than just a system… well, it’s like designing communities instead of architecting houses. Heat, power, traffic, serviceability, security etc. all take on different meanings. It is more than just how powerful an individual component performs.

And so it is with the new data centers. Reliability is not about five 9’s – it is about 100% up-time. It demands new engineering approaches. It is about questioning everything – even down to whether an LED is essential on a device, whether the rack is designed for maximum airflow, whether the air-conditioning leverages real thermodynamic principles, whether power is properly conditioned, whether the cost per computing unit is the lowest and most economical so that your users can build viable business models.

These new data centers are not only providing the compute utilities of the future, they are inventing new technologies, IT components and processes. Most importantly, they eat their own dog-food instead of extolling the virtues of their design with clever marketing paradigms as do technology purveyors.  They are their own reference. They can provide real performance and reliability metrics, and many are making their approaches truly ‘open’ by showing you how to do it. This is a very disruptive trend, because if these companies start doing it themselves, because the traditional companies cannot solve these engineering problems, then they will become the technology companies of the future… much like power utilities. At some point, what will be the incentive to compete and innovate? For an even lower cost per compute cycle…?

Edison may have been a visionary, but it was Tesla that pioneered the concept of utility electricity. Edison wanted everyone to buy their own generator, and keep buying services, wiring and light bulbs… from Edison.

I think we’ve reached a new tipping point in IT.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

Entry filed under: Media, Technology. Tags: , , , .

information density newspaper apocalypse

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