Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Give a man 200 servers…

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In my day job (technology researcher), there isn’t a conversation that doesn’t involve some mention of “cloud computing.” For the uninitiated, the idea is that you can buy server, storage, and development platform capacity – or an application to run – in someone else’s very large data center, with a credit card and a few minutes online. Read The Big Switch if you want to know more. IDC (no, I’m not affiliated with them) talks about the role of smaller- and mid-sized businesses in driving this market. Makes sense, if you need 50 servers for a month, but don’t want to invest in a data center.

Take this thought and run with it:  we’ve gone from the PCjr (cringe) I had as a kid to the 2.16 GHz laptop I’m writing this on now, and all I need to ramp up to two hundred servers (or more), ready to go, is a credit card that gets charged by the hour (or minute, or what have you). If I’ve got the requisite knowledge and code, the realm of computational problems I can tackle in the short-term is staggering. 

Take this second thought:  so far, a lot of ICT’s impact on international relations has been focused on the “C,” communications. New networks and associations form, data flows across new pathways, and so forth. With cloud computing, the “I” is coming back into play. That new network can now collaborate on a massive computational problem without having to invest in back-end infrastructure, or anything else that might make the network “physical.” 

The trade press is talking about this through the lens of businesses, established or otherwise. What’s going to be really interesting is watching what happens with cloud computing outside of the business arena.

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Written by Mark

December 2, 2008 at 5:49 am

One Response

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  1. […]  If there’s any technology in the hype cycle right now, it’s cloud computing (see this earlier post for more background). If – and this is a big if – we’re on a path towards the concentration […]


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