Technology marches on

Ten years ago I built a music player out of a PC and other stuff that was 4U big, cost thousands (if I used new parts) and could hold as many songs as my cigarette-pack sized iPod can store today for a few hundred bucks.

Thanks to Moore's Law, just about any thing you build today can be done on something the size of an iPod, you just have to wait long enough. What year will an entire SAP deployment be the size of an iPod? What year will an entire service like gmail be the size of an iPod? What year will a PeopleSoft installation be the size of an iPod? An entire Remedy helpdesk ticket system iPod?

In that year... will someone want to pay $millions for an equivalent PeopleSoft installation when it is on an iPod? I doubt it. Would PeopleSoft be able to stay in business selling an iPod-priced device? I doubt it. So will this kind of innovation come from an outside competitor? I'd assume so... just like phone companies couldn't make the leap to VoIP and were instead put out of business by the likes of Cisco.

I wonder if prior to complete (for example) PeopleSoft iPods, there will be a generation of single-function bricks that are connected via standard interfaces. You buy a database brick, a core IT services (DNS, authentication, ActiveDir/LDAP) brick, and a PeopleSoft app brick; and they provide the service together. Sort of like legos.

What app will be on your brick?

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Ideas

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Personal blog sites will be carried around on your hip and connected via the closest of many ubiquitous wireless links. When someone posts you'll get buzzed and can reply back immediately (Qwerty keyboard mandatory), alerting all kinds of social services. Doubling as a PDA and phone, it does VoIP and works with these sites to display your calendar, contacts, etc, which automatically sync to something like Yahoo or Google. Akin to the recent reports of using cells as radiation detectors, they can act as personal weather stations for mass environmental monitoring, medical alerting or personal monitoring.

And of course it works as portable storage since it will have 1TB of disk space and 8GB of memory. That leaves plenty of space for it to act as a client for all sorts of services like PeopleSoft, Remedy, VPN, web browsing/search, even personal identification and credit/debit/financial services. To be useful all of these programs need to be running and connected 24/7, requiring enormous horsepower on the server side to simultaneously handle all these clients, making full 2-4U systems with 96 cores and 1TB of memory a necessity.

Is it too much to hope that this personal device doesn't require frequent rebooting like today's Treos and Blackberrys? How about a book reader that handles PDF properly so I can maintain a library of all my digital books in one place? Everything converged into one unit that can be easily lost. ;-)

You'll have a PDA/Phone/Music player with constant online access (iPhone). In general you'll have a web browser interface.

Your server will be a VMware type setup that scales across multiple devices as needed. The VMs will transparently load balance across the devices.

You'll install virtualized appliances that do one thing well. All access will be via a web browser so you can use your phone or desktop.

Your desktop will be similar to the phone with a bigger screen and specialized interfaces for audio, video, radio, TV, satellite, wired network, keyboard, alternate input, etc. It's possible your phone will just click into a dock on a larger screen.

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