Nothing new under the sun

April 24, 2012

Just a few weeks ago I was discussing with my team how Cloud computing bore a lot of similarities to outsourcing of Data Processing back in the height of the mainframe era. Just this morning I saw the following on Dave Kearns blog “While it’s true that there is really nothing new under the sun – “cloud computing,” for example, has remarkable similarities to datacenter computing from the ‘60s and ‘70s – it’s also true that there is always a different way to look at data, facts, or technology which can give insights into better ways to conduct business.”

Back in the 1990’s my father had founded a software company to help organizations manage their Local Area Networks. During that time he said that the LAN market was paralleling many of the trends that had occurred in the mainframe world. Ever since then I have found instructive to study those trends.

Kearns, makes several points among them, then in talking about cloud apps, “people were still having the same discussion that they’d had 10 years ago – only the names were different,” now arguing  about datacenter vs. the cloud and previously it was Linux vs. Windows. Instead, he says we should “pick the right application or service – that one that best fills our need. Choosing the platform first is like choosing a restaurant because of the color of the plates they use.” Pretty funny, however I disagree (at least partially). For one thing, even in eating the plate does matter. The plate size more so than color. According to Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success (page 114) “plate size [has] an enormous impact on how much it [takes] .. to get equally full.”

While I agree that the business needs need to be considered first, platform must also be considered. Just as the plate size can make a big difference for someone trying to manage their weight, so too can platform make a big difference to someone trying to manage their data security.