Attention enterprises —Pop Quiz: If your favorite hosting provider launches a cloud service that supports VMware vSphere and is part of the VMware vCloud initative, are they providing you with the rich vCloud functionality VMware is touting at VMworld this week?
A long time ago (about 35 years), I was the project leader and main designer of what was probably the first true distributed solution. It started with one of the largest bank in Europe, which went through a one month strike of its data center. In what was probably the Jurassic period of IT (which makes me a dinosaur), the centralized mainframe reigned supreme and of course the whole commercial part of the bank ground to a halt, and with it millions of customers who could not get to their money.. The CIO (the title did not exist at the time, but the function did) came up with the brilliant idea of putting a server in each branch, connected to the central mainframe through a network. Each local server had to be able to process locally, on a local "database" all the typical operations of the branch. This would guarantee that, in case of a repeat strike, the basic banking needs of customers would be covered. So armed with the latest minicomputer from Honeywell and several $Millions in project money, we set up developing everything in sight: network protocols, transactional languages and supervisors, local file structure, etc. Even intelligent virtual terminals.
I just finished a Webinar on Medical Information Management sponsored by Kofax, a process automation firm whose core expertise is paper capture and elimination. It is available on their site www.kofax.com. We are entering an interesting period here, and may experience a tech bubble in medical or at least a somewhat less desperate Y2K experience. Clearly there is energy and investment around medical information management that increases each month, and that has not been seen in a quite a while. Concepts like “results-based medicine” that will open up a new market for analytics in medicine — see my colleague Boris Evelson’s open letter for Information Week.
Xen.org, the open source community behind the leading IaaS cloud computing hypervisor finally made a bold move today by stepping up to the plate of delivering a complete open source virtual infrastructure for cloud platforms. Prior to this release, Xen.org had been content to manage and maintain the core Xen hypervisor and let its partners all build solutions around it. The problem with this approach was that while the hypervisor itself was compatible between these solutions the infrastructure and how you managed it were not.
At the end of this year, Forrester expects mobile Internet penetration to reach 17% in Western Europe — the same adoption rate for the PC Internet a decade ago. At that time, mobile phone penetration was still below the 40% threshold and mobile shops were opening at every high-street corner. Companies were only starting to launch their web presence and to anticipate the impact of the Web. Operator-branded mobile Internet solutions would only launch 3 years after and 3G in 2003/2004.
10 years after, the mobile Internet is reaching critical mass and a virtuous mobile Internet cycle is kicking off. Consumers who have a flat-rate data bundle spend more and more time on the Internet from their mobile phones, brands begin to launch their mobile Web presence to monetize these growing audiences and engage with their customers via more relevant mobile content and services, which in turn attracts more and more consumers to unlimited mobile Internet tariffs.
The current economic climate will lengthen handset renewal cycles, foster the development of low-cost offerings, and boost the uptake of SIM-only contracts. Operators are likely to postpone major investments in new networks such as 4G / Long-Term Evolution, despite early trials and commercialization in the Nordics. However, it will only slightly reduce the pace of growth for those elements that stimulate mobile Internet usage: 3.5G and Internet-centric mobile phones as well as all-you-can-eat data plans will be widely available in the next five years. That's the reason why Forrester expects mobile Internet to grow to 39% by the end of 2014. That's a lower end point than for the PC Internet in 2004, but the growth curve per se looks quite the same.