Friday, November 10, 2006

Whither Computing?

A post on Slashdot wonders what's coming next? Here's my take: In the beginning there was the mainframe. It was good, but big and expensive. Then came the PC revolution. People bought PCs and did things with them that had once only been possible on mainframes. They were smaller and cheaper, and thus were good. Then came the network, which allowed people to share their work, and a million tiny departmental servers blossomed across the land. But then Gods of Infrastructure Management looked down on their creation and said "crap, its hard to keep track of all this equipment". So they gathered up all the departmental servers and put them together in one place so that they might be tended night and day by a legion of underpaid techies with questionable hygiene. And it was good, and the machines proliferated, and the data went forth and multiplied. Then the GoIM said "Jebus, we paid how much for this and it does what?" and "How the fuck am I supposed to back this up over the network?" and "I want a pony". Thus was born virtualization, SAN technologies, blade systems, IP KVMs, and a host of other devices to consolidate the data center down to a few racks of equipment. They are good, but big and expensive... but at least now they have a web interface!

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