I finished reading Nicholas Carr’s The Big Switch last night. If you are in the Technology field, you should read it. He nails what is underway at the moment with the way we are using computers. In his book, Carr uses the analogy of electricity and how it evolved from a disparate system of individual generation units into a utility based delivery system. IT is going the same way, and in fact has been doing so for a while now. We’re just starting to see the rapid on-ramp kicking in as the technology matures and evolves. I believe that Carr is correct, and that in the next decade we will see a rapid migration for today’s isolated datacenters to a utility-like delivery model of compute power. This is what ‘cloud computing’ is.
Now, I also believe that unlike electricity, there will remain a larger portion of the population for whom the isolated ‘do-it-yourself’ model is the chosen option. But from the general population and a significant portion of businesses, the on-tap model will work well. There are some changes to be made, and some tough calls to be made. Data sovereignty, security boundaries, connectivity and the likes.
The interesting thing that I have seen, is how this generational change has affected the IT decision making population. And I look mainly at the CIO’s here. Carr concludes his book with this paragraph:
“All technological change is generational change. The full power and consequence of a new technology are unleashed only when those who have grown up with it become adults and begin to push their outdated parents to the margins.”
“It’s in this way that progress covers it’s tracks, perpetually refreshing the illusion that where we are is where we were meant to be”
As we look at the new generation of IT decision makers pushing through, we will see that these people have grown up with the concept of consumption on demand. This will be their default position from which they start.
I am reminded of a statement that one of my professors made in my first year of university. He walked into the room, called for order and when it was all quiet, he quoted the common saying:
“If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is in all probability a duck. Discuss.”
And then walked out of the room.
My question is, who defined what a duck is?
I know that this is a phrase designed to make you think about what you see at “first glance” and to be aware of common perceptions clouding your judgment. And I think this applies to Cloud Computing. Who defined what a cloud service is? Who defined what the word cloud is actually referring to?
The answer is simple. Everyone did. Or more specifically every company defined what their cloud is. And this is OK at the moment. Just as in the electricity industry it was OK to start with that there were multiple sources and instances. But over time we will move to a common agreement on what cloud means.
The current crop of IT decision makers, especially the ones with all the experience did not grow up with Digital media, always on networking and an irreverency for distance communications. Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Skype (amongst others) have changed our behaviors beyond compare.
I started in IT at the point in time where PC’s were just starting to become a serious option for businesses. I remember placing an order for about $200,000 which netted our organization the grand sum of 10 PC’s. Prices rapidly fell over the next 5 years, and now 16 years later I can pop down to my local electronics store and get a very powerful portable computer for $500.
I went to the other side of the world (the UK from New Zealand) straight after the Year 2000 rollover. Even just 10 years ago, there was no easy way to publish the photos we took (on film! and then scanned!), we were reliant on e-mail which my parents did not have before we left, and the odd occasion based phone call.
Today, we left New Zealand in June to move to Redmond. We have instant communication mechanisms, that are FREE in Facebook and Skype. Other than the physical proximity, the move has been petty low impact on how we engage with our friends and family.
It has been an amazing journey from there to the present point in time! And to be part of a team that is actively building out the capabilities to move our customers to this new generation of computing blows my mind every day.
Which brings me to the point of this post, what of the future of The Dynamic Datacenter, The DDC? The name is indicative of where we were yesterday. Today and Tomorrow we are moving into the utility on-demand on-tap pay-as-you-go world. This is a new era, a new world and this requires a new Focus.
And so, the Focus will change.
This blog will continue to be a repository for my musings and more personal thoughts on things. The Opalis Blog will be the place for product specific messaging and information and of course Nexus Blog will be the place for announcements and top-level content.
But the content, will change. Microsoft has "one of the most visionary and complete views of the cloud," and we are only just getting started!
I look forward to being able to talk more openly about what we are working on, and indeed some of the projects I am working on will come to light in a matter of weeks if not months.
Progress may take time to gain momentum, but once it does it’s a juggernaut. Critical mass has been attained, hold on folks.