Living in a virtual world and I am a virtual scribe…

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Many years ago (probably 7 by now) I wrote an article for MSDN (you can still find it on the web just go to Microsoft and search for Infrastructure Lifecycle). In that article I talked about what was development and what was infrastructure (focusing on the operations side of it, which moves applications from solution to infrastructure very quickly).

As I watch the mad scramble for cloud computing around me I think back to that article. What we push as a solution today will eventually become part of the infrastructure. We won’t speak any longer of layers (IaaS, PaaS) instead we will take about base and add on. The cloud pushes IT towards the model employed by car manufactures. You sell a baseline product (with common parts) and then customize it for the specific need of that customer. The vast majority of people will live within a common set of requirements so you can prebuild a number of solutions (cars) with core functionality already baked in.

This of course pushes more and more down to the infrastructure layer. The difference between the two layers, solution and infrastructure is the amount of customization. The reality is that solutions are much less customized than we think and infrastructure is more customized than we want. The new world of cloud computing will push us towards a more easily absorbed model of more custom solutions and less customized infrastructure over time.

Infrastructure as a true service. Not the virtualization and disk people talk about today (my entire org is virtual they say – “do you have physical routers? a physical host for your VM’s? A physical network?”” is the resulting question. The reality is they do today. We live in the physical world and strive to push that into the virtual world around us.

That is my thinking on what the future holds. We will find out if I am right, eventually.


Functional Boundaries

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The very edge of functionality.

I’ve been working through this issue on/in this blog for a month or so. The edge within an organization of the operations systems they can effectively manage. I introduced a term I’ve heard bandied about quite a bit the Operational and Functional Boundaries of the organization.

The reality of that problem like any other is that in fact the two are uniquely different. The functional boundary is the screen you are aiming your solution towards. You have to consider the reality of screen size, density and quality.

A 17 inch FHD display with 1.5 or more gigs of video ram driving it can easily and effectively play a full screen blue-ray movie. A Zune or iPod device can’t play full HD, but they can play close enough for the smaller size.

But you have to be aware of that delta in building future applications. Right now the gulf is narrower than it was 10 years ago. The original portable devices that were available had truly lousy resolution. The devices of today continue to get better but now you have other issues.

Ever notice that when you use a device that accepts swipes and other hand gestures that the screen size changes rapidly?

That is simply looking at one functional boundary. Like operations there are a number of other boundaries you have to consider.

  • Information security
  • Information itself (how much can the device handle)
  • Bandwidth (goes to how much information the device can handle)
  • Information quality and relevance (how quickly is the information useless, how quickly does the person need that information) The example of this functional boundary is an medical system or an airlines pilot. Any delays in information to either of those two professions can have severe consequences.

More to come…