Hardware is dead! Long live VMware!
Recently I read a great article in Wired Magazine titled “The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.” by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff. First off, great article guys, this is a really thought-provoking article. The article basically talks about how we no longer sit in front of a terminal and “explore the world-wide web.” It’s become a lost art. With the invention and widespread use of smartphones, iPads, iPods, and various other Internet enabled devices, we have become an a-la-carte Internet user. When we need to check our bank balance, gone are the days of logging into http://www.bankofamerica.com and navigating to the “my accounts” tab to check our balance. Now we wake up in the morning, grab a diet coke or cup of coffee, fire up the iPad/iPhone/Adroid device and touch the Bank of America app and we’re there, done. When we’re done checking out how much money we have to spend we hit up the iTunes app and buy music. Need to check if your flight is on time, “there’s and app for that” Get the idea? The world-wide web is dead! At first retail stores began to cave to the web, not the web is caving to the Internet and all of its fancy apps available at your fingertips. Don’t fret though, if you like QVC I don’t think that is going anywhere, its way too easy, I could even shop with my dang remote control, long live lazy people! Here is a nice excerpt from that Wired article:
This is not a trivial distinction. Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display. It’s driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it’s a world Google can’t crawl, one where HTML doesn’t rule. And it’s the world that consumers are increasingly choosing, not because they’re rejecting the idea of the Web but because these dedicated platforms often just work better or fit better into their lives (the screen comes to them, they don’t have to go to the screen). The fact that it’s easier for companies to make money on these platforms only cements the trend. Producers and consumers agree: The Web is not the culmination of the digital revolution.
Being that I’ve constantly got VMware on the brain (only worsened by attending VMworld recently), it provoked me to think about the same idea of hardware v. software. Is hardware dead? Will the world be ruled by software in the not too distant future. If you know anything about virtualization, then your answer is a resounding YES! While we still depend on hardware to deliver our precious software, who knows what the future brings. If you approached your computer labs teacher back in the 3 grade and asked him/her if they thought you could take an operating system, abstract it from the hardware layer and create it in a container called a virtual machine, he would probably scratch his head and send you back to perfecting your Oregon Trail skills (yes, I rocked Oregon Trail, only lost my wagon once while crossing the river, got a little greedy with the supplies on board). It was a concept that just wasn’t that believable. Well, now it is and it is quickly becoming standard operating procedure in most successful enterprises. So the question I’m posing after reading this article, is Hardware dead? Dying? Is that even possible? We obviously need storage, networking architecture, don’t forget the actual racks that house these servers. With the need for those hardware pieces alone, is the question of whether hardware is dying a dumb question? Should I have posted this on twitter with the #dumbquestionoftheday tag? The cloud is expanding rapidly, and if at one point in time we couldn’t imagine a computer without hardware, is it too far-fetched to imagine anything at this point in time?