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AT&T’s plan to deploy a 100 percent fiber broadband Internet service in Austin, Texas beginning in December 2013 has focused attention on an aspect of the Internet that usually operates out of sight—the pipes and tubes that keep the data flowing from here to there. AT&T anticipates that tens of thousands of customers will sign up for its U-verse with GigaPower, which will provide 1GB-per-second high speed Internet service to consumers, businesses, schools and government.
Here are a few statistics that paint an interesting picture. In the first quarter of this year, worldwide server market revenues dropped 7.7 percent, according to the market research company IDC. Meanwhile, public cloud computing services are expected to grow 23.5 percent annually through 2017. Sales of personal computers dropped 3.3 percent last year, while IDC forecasts a 32.7 increase in smartphone sales. The same dichotomy can be seen in software sales. Sharp growth is projected for software as a service (SaaS), which will increase its share of the overall software market.
Everybody loves a cliché; that is why they exist. A cliché captures some sort of truth in a compelling way. Here is a favorite: A picture is worth a thousand words. That has been a popular cliché for a very long time, and it has become ever truer as it has become easier to create pictures—particularly pictures that represent complex data, i.e. data visualization.
News about the workings of complex information technology systems usually doesn't make its way into the mainstream. And when it does, it usually means these systems aren’t working—at least not working right.
Recognizing an inflection point can be difficult. Something new comes along, and it steadily grows. For a long time, however, it is seen as just part of the landscape. Suddenly, what was new is now the status quo. People look back and ask, “How did that happen?”
When you get right down to it, probably the most critical task for IT organizations is to manage data at rest. Sure, data creation via social networks and new enterprise applications seems to get all the media attention, and network speeds and reliability are always under scrutiny. However, at the end of the day, the goal is for people to be able to access the data they need to do their jobs whether that is the minute after the data is created or 10–15 years later.
The conviction of Bradley Manning and the ongoing saga of Edward Snowden should be wake-up calls to everybody responsible for protecting the security of data within their organizations. Manning, of course, was the U.S. Army private who gave classified documents to WikiLeaks, who in turn shared them with the world. Snowden was a contract employee for the National Security Agency (NSA) who gave information about the NSA’s telephone and Internet surveillance programs to The Guardian newspaper, which in turn shared the information with the world.
The statistics detailing the pervasiveness of the mobile revolution continue to be jaw-dropping. The latest round of numbers circulating indicates that more people have cell phones than have tooth brushes (4 billion versus 3.5 billion); 91 percent of cell phone owners keep their devices by their sides 24/7. And there are five times as many cell phones in use in the world as there are personal computers. There are approximately 7.1 billion people on our planet….
The idea of software as a service is far from new, but its momentum keeps building. One obvious mark of its growth are the ads Microsoft runs incessantly announcing that this or that company is now using Office 365. And anybody who glances across the top of the initial Google search screen sees all the tools that Google is willing to give you and your employees in exchange for information about you.
When information technology gets incorporated into business operations, an endearing moment occurs when a new job is created to manage some hot new technology. Back in the day, the neat job title was Technology Evangelist in Chief. An evangelist was the person with the mandate to convince people that all the cool stuff being pushed out the company’s doors—or sometimes being dragged in through the company’s doors—was, in fact, really cool and people should use it. The goal was to convert those disbelievers to the religion of new technology.