Close your eyes and think of the cloud. Odds are Amazon quickly comes to mind - for good reason. By some estimates, Amazon Web Services holds 70 percent of the IaaS (infrastructure as a service) market, providing compute, storage, and networking services, usually on a pay-per-use basis, to hundreds of thousands of customers. Amazon's cloud has become an extension of many organizations' infrastructure, often for application development and testing, but also for compute-intensive analytics and even ongoing production workloads. Credit Amazon for popularizing IaaS and making it affordable, accessible, and broadly relevant to the current generation of IT.
Stories by Eric Knorr
What's the ugliest problem in IT? Many would say it's the contradictory or incomplete data strewn around the enterprise in various databases and formats. Reconciling and normalizing all that data is hard, tedious work.
Some U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents ruefully refer to the trilogy project, a massive initiative to modernize the FBI's aging technology infrastructure, as the "Tragedy" project. It certainly has all the earmarks of tragedy: the best intentions, catastrophic miscommunication, staggering waste.
CEO of US-based hosted integration provider, Grand Central Communications, Halsey Minor, has a powerful message for IT: "In four years ... basically the whole notion of enterprise application software is going to be dead." He believes application functionality will instead be available as hosted, pay-per-use services delivered by companies such as Salesforce.com.
Let's say you decide to go for a run. After a few minutes, your breath quickens, your heart rate increases, and you start to perspire. All this happens whether you think about it or not--because your autonomic nervous system has roused the right organs to respond to the increased load on your body.
Autonomic computing, a phrase coined by IBM Corp., describes technology that self-regulates and even heals itself much as the human body would do. "When I say technology, I'm including all of the software, all of the applications, all of the storage, all the pieces of the infrastructure," explains Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology and strategy for IBM's server group. "Now, I don't mean any far out AI project. What I mean is that...instead of the technology behaving in its usual pedantic way and requiring a human being to do everything for it, it starts taking care of its own needs."
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