Cloud and the ever-changing world of technology

cloud changes DXC Technology

I’ve been working in the technology sector for many years, from building computers to installing networks, to programming in different languages and a slew of other roles. One thing that has been a constant in my career is change.

I’ve seen computers go from 8-bit  to 16, 32, etc., to multiple processors, to multiple cores. I’ve watched the programming job market shift from Cobol to DBase to C to Java. For one of my jobs, I was the “network guy,” changing customers from thin coax (10Base2) to 10Base-T.

Later on I noticed when customers finally realized a network server was needed, and I started installing Banyan Vines, Novell Netware 2.0a, Lan Manager or one of the several others. Remember, in those days, you had to actually install the Network Operating System (NOS).

In technology, there is always a next best thing. That next best thing is first adopted by companies amenable to leading/bleeding edge, and then others follow if the technology sticks and is relevant. The evolution may be hardware-based, software-based or a combination of both.

For instance, once Windows NT was released to the market and proved relevant, there were a lot less Network Operating Systems being installed. It was no longer a discussion about which was a better NOS, or which protocol (IPX/SPX, NDIS, TCP/IP, etc) was better. It was assumed by the buyer that Windows NT could do user management, setup security for file/directory access and other things, and companies were looking for the next layer on top of that. How could it make my job easier, make my company better?

Since I have worked for different startups over the years, I have personally witnessed customer amazement when we solved a big problem that could not be solved before. For instance, when companies that dealt with pallets of paper upgraded to a Document Management System using high-speed scanners to bring documents into a computer, Optical Character Recognition to convert images to text files and indexing those files for searching, they were amazed by the possibilities.

But, as with all technology, at some point, the new technologies became commonplace and client expectations changed. The question again became, “What can I do better next?”

The cloud space, my focus today, is working down the same evolution path. The “wow” factor of running multiple virtual computers on a single computer is gone; uploading the images to a provider and running it there is normal, everyday kind of stuff.

Cloud is here to stay, but how companies use it will shift. At first, it was about taking multiple images (AMIs, Instances, Workloads, etc.) of operating systems and applications pre-installed and configured and running multiple instances on a single large server.  IT would build out the images and keep them up to date, manually build and/or deploy from the library as requested — a full-time job for multiple people.

Then it was about lowering the company’s costs by pushing instances out to the public cloud (and still use a local data center, aka private cloud). Software as a Service crept into the market as a niche, silo-specific solution (help desk, sales). Now we see Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service… and, wait, I haven’t yet mentioned Internet of Things  🙂

The shift continues. Cloud providers have to do more. Customers want more features, storage, load balancers, firewalls, etc. Of course, the vendors are providing these features, but guess what? It will shift further. Some of today’s vendors will drop out of the game; some will get acquired, but there will still be many available. With that, it will become even more competitive either around cost, features or both.

My point is, the cloud is today’s turning-point technology. It will continue to shift on the features the vendors offer, as well as the vision of how the customer will want to use it.  There will be solutions created by vendors to fulfill those visions and, in some cases, silo-specific tools to fill gaps and holes in the vision that the vendor’s solution does not address.

Cloud, both public and private, will continue to be a growing part of the enterprise strategy, but the expectations will continue to expand and change. Why? Because, in this business, change is constant.

– Tobin Isenberg


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