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EMC World 2011 Stresses Both The Cloud And Big Data

IT trade shows or vendor events act as a barometer of the IT industry in two ways. The first is to measure the current state of the health of the industry, and the second is to point out the trends that will affect the future of the industry. Based upon the recently concluded EMC World 2011 in Las Vegas, the IT community is alive and well today and the future is very bright, but with a number of challenges. Hey, IT wouldn’t be worth living if there weren’t ongoing challenges.

Las Vegas is the home of many IT customer-focused vendor events for a very good reason. The city can handle the crowds, and EMC World was hustling and bustling, whether in the Solutions Pavilion (i.e., exhibit hall), the keynotes, the breakout sessions, the training, or even the dining hall and parties. The interest level in what was happening seemed high, which is great, but EMC World also emphasized where the IT world needs to go from here, and that was encompassed by the theme of the conference: Cloud Meets Big Data.

Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, ably put the future in context in his keynote: “Accelerating the Journey to the Cloud.” He pointed out that there are three layers (which we might view as trends) that are transforming IT simultaneously: 1.) information infrastructure, 2.) applications development and 3.) end user computing.

The first is about “transforming the information infrastructure to cut the tentacles of complexity,” with end goals such as increased system/infrastructure efficiency
and resiliency. Maritz pointed out the need to isolate complexity, encapsulate systems into black boxes and be able to move the black boxes around in the infrastructure. Note that virtualization technologies, such as VMware’s, act as a catalyst for this process. But virtualization is only part of the story. Illustrative of some of the other elements that raise challenges are workload scheduling,
interfaces, collecting the right metrics and the ability to analyze them accurately, such as statistical learning models to help determine what is important and what
is not.

Layer 2 is about transforming applications development. One of the driving forces of this trend is the need for new database strategies that may very well employ unconventional, non-relational database structures. There is a great need for increased scale and flexibility, and the role that operating systems play has to be taken into account. Developers should not worry about writing software that optimizes CPU cycles, but rather about writing software that reduces application complexity. As Maritz pointed out, “Let hardware sweat.”

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