|By Michael Bushong||
|June 24, 2014 09:45 AM EDT||
Compute started its major architectural transition several years ago with the introduction of virtualization. If you pay attention to any of the IT noise today, it should be clear that storage and networking are going through their own architectural evolutions as well. But another shift is also underway: applications are fundamentally changing as well.
An interesting dynamic in all of this is that it is near impossible for each of the four major IT areas to undergo simultaneous, coordinated evolution. Change is hard enough on its own, but changing multiple variable at once makes it difficult to anchor to anything substantial. And when change does occur along multiple fronts at the same time, the task of determining causation for new found results is challenging at best.
Understanding that business underlies much of the change, the best that the industry can collectively do is to take some things as fixed and then change around that. And so we evolve each of the silos somewhat independently, trying hard to keep in mind that the environment into which they plug is also changing. At our best, we try to intersect the various changes. But when we miss, we tend to aim towards slotting into current architectural paradigms, because that allows us the best chance to make a meaningful difference in production environments. Indeed, always playing out ahead of the horizon might be great for making future progress, but it makes building a business around the resulting innovation nigh impossible.
And so IT as a whole continues the trudge forward.
Each of the major infrastructure silos—compute, storage, and networking—has to operate with some fixed environment in mind. The most basic thing to attach to is application infrastructure. While virtualization has made compute containers that make applications portable (the reason dynamic and change are so prominent in most marketing materials), the applications themselves have remained largely static.
Except, of course, that they haven’t.
Anyone watching the major web-scale players (think: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like) will know that the architecture for their applications is actually significantly different than what most enterprises currently think of. Applications tend to be flatter and more distributed, typically running on bare metal to avoid some of the virtualization overhead that exists in a pure hypervisor environment.
This new breed of scale-out applications would appear to mark the beginning of the application evolution. If this is truly a trend that will only increase, how will it impact the evolution of the other silos?
The prevailing chatter across the whole of IT is about software-defined everything. The view is that compute, storage, and networking will all work in cahoots to meet application requirements. The rise of controller-based architectures is prominent in both networking and storage roadmaps, and the compute side of the house embraced central control awhile back.
But what happens if the underlying assumption that applications emerge largely unscathed turns out not to be true?
It could be that the future of datacenter architectures will hinge not on the supporting infrastructure but on the applications themselves. If this is true, we could see a re-emergence of something that we haven’t really talked about in quite awhile: the operating system itself. Sure, there is still talk about Linux and all the server tools that come with it, but the actual operating system hasn’t materially changed in quite some time.
Learning from web-scale applications
If we learn anything from the web-scale companies pushing the boundaries for application performance, it should be that the future is not necessarily about the containers in which applications run. It could be about the underlying OS itself. What if the reason massively scaled companies are embracing bare metal isn’t only about the cost? There is certainly a performance aspect to it as well.
One somewhat uncomfortable conclusion here would be that all the infrastructure work involved in handling application portability across a containerized infrastructure could be somewhat transient. I don’t mean to suggest that it is not useful; there will be a relatively long transition to any kind of new application architecture. And even if there is a transition, the persistence of mainframes should tell us all that no change is absolute or all-encompassing. But a scenario where pockets of new-era applications co-exist in data centers with legacy applications seems likely. We are already seeing this with Hadoop, but I would expect to see more applications built on new architectures.
But this does mean that future-proofing datacenter investments requires a bit more nuance than just buying and planning on scale. Highly-distributed application architectures are even more dependent on east-west traffic. For every 1 byte of traffic going in and out of the datacenter, close to 1 Gigabyte transits the datacenter fabric in some current applications. This ratio likely gets even more aggressive over time.
The bottom line
How all of this plays out is anyone’s guess. We will certainly end up with a hybrid environment supporting all kinds of application architectures making use of various underlying infrastructure architectures. But none of us should be surprised when the industry starts talking a bit more broadly about the role of the operating system going forward. And if you are making plans based on a set of assumptions anchored to current architectures, it might be worth expanding the strategic aperture some to consider how this impacts current plans.
And as a final thought, if the operating system changes, is it still defined by the server, or do we end up with large, distributed operating systems? Put differently, what is the definition of the underlying platform? Are we looking at a new era of platform that includes all of compute, storage, networking, and applications? The implications would be dramatic.
[Today’s fun fact: Potatoes have more chromosomes than humans. I wonder if that means Mr. Potato Head has the combined chromosomes or just a subset of a potato’s.]
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Sep. 4, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 266
The 3rd International WebRTC Summit, to be held Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 15th International Cloud Expo, 6th International Big Data Expo, 3rd International DevOps Summit and 2nd Internet of @ThingsExpo. WebRTC (Web-based Real-Time Communication) is an open source project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that aims to enable bro...
Sep. 4, 2015 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,624
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 386
Containers are not new, but renewed commitments to performance, flexibility, and agility have propelled them to the top of the agenda today. By working without the need for virtualization and its overhead, containers are seen as the perfect way to deploy apps and services across multiple clouds. Containers can handle anything from file types to operating systems and services, including microservices. What are microservices? Unlike what the name implies, microservices are not necessarily small, but are focused on specific tasks. The ability for developers to deploy multiple containers – thous...
Sep. 3, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 198
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Sep. 3, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 494
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.
Sep. 3, 2015 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 169
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Sep. 3, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 436
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Sep. 3, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 392
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Sep. 3, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 519
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sep. 3, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 966
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
Sep. 3, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 419
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Sep. 3, 2015 01:30 PM EDT
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Sep. 3, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 113
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Sep. 3, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 292
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 3, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 103
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Sep. 3, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 288
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Sep. 3, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,604
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Sep. 3, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 263
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 3, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 218
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Sep. 3, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 655