I read an article this morning in the New York Times by Quentin Hardy about how HP is Tying More Business Systems Together, and it lends support to what we have long since believed – that computing will be the next utility.
In many ways it is already there, but we still have a long way to go.
The ways it is already there is the fact that at least in the US, there is near ubiquitous internet access in most cities. You fire up your favorite endpoint (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.), open a browser and off you go. Looking for answers, sharing data, backing up files, the capabilities of tasks are almost endless. They are also one thing – computing.
These endpoints compute, the network hardware computes, the servers and storage boxes compute, and they do it together, separately, and sequentially running commands to get things done and make computing important to us. This utility relies on two utilities – power and telecommunications- to deliver its value to us users. Both those utilities are regulated. Computing is not.
So the macro opportunity is there to make a giant evolutionary step forward and tie together the data center, the gear that runs inside it, the networks that connect data centers to endpoints – without the burden of regulation. We still have the spying to contend with, but in an unregulated market, that problem will get fixed faster than in a regulated market because someone will just figure it out and do it. I will venture to say that Apple and Google are the closest to being that utility, with the edge given to Google.
The micro opportunity is to improve the resiliency of access to the computing by using the strengths of both telecom and power utilities to evolve into a more reliable experience for users at the endpoint. Eventually computing will go back to the future and be like the light switch – on or off. Pretty binary after all…