Recently a LinkedIn group “LIMS Forum” manager opened an interesting discussion called “How IT will be blown to bits. Will this provide new opportunities for science?” which was based on other articles allegedly predicting the trends of cloud service, big data, mobility and such.
The links listed there were the following:
InfoWorld article about the future of industry oriented PaaS based solutions: http://www.infoworld.com/t/cloud-computing/how-it-will-be-blown-bits-208216
The “originator” of InfoWorld’s upheaval and central scrutinizer of all “3rd platform” developments, in video: http://youtu.be/MRejPUiVIVc
And as PDF slide presentation: http://gillin.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Directions_2012_Gens.pdf
Since my viewpoint turned out to be quite lengthy (although the turbulent emotions I felt when digesting the above information lasted for not more than 5 seconds) I post it here.
I think not only InfoWorld has a tendency to dramatize things: IDC’s video is also disputable. I mean “number POINT number percent in 2016” or even in 2020, instead of approximation? Excuse ME sir, compared to the – also scientific – meteorological methods, prediction tends to become imprecise with time. Namely exponentially! So this said, I only acknowledge the trends of the topics, not the numbers in both articles.
Furthermore the two information sources are concentrating on different aspects of the same trends (although IW cited and used IDC as a foundation), as follows:
InfoWorld: vertical industry areas – This means Cloud Servicing for “industry-specific application platforms”, essentially covering as much as possible business aspects of this industry. So opposed to – say – CRM SaaS, it will be a Life Science Solutions (ideally covering its Finance, Production, LIMS, CRM, DMS, HR, PR, BI etc. needs and visions). And all this based on, quote, PaaS, good bye force.com and Azure, unquote. Well once again excuse ME sir, bit first of all Azure is PaaS example par excellence, so why should we wave goodbye to it remains out of my comprehension, second of all I don’t see any scientific reason to exclude the provision of such “deep dive” rich user experience Cloud Solutions as SaaS. And on what platform they are being provisioned and developed is irrelevant, be it PaaS, IaaS or even HaaS. Last but not least Illumina’s BaseSpace example linked there was a real flop – a beta edition of a cloud storage solution castrated to its own devices and ornamented with some data visualization that they bravely call QC. For the storage you will be better served with Egnyte or the such and for the data part: editing capabilities are what is needed. Analytics and Post-Lab-operations are totally missing. Is this what you would call a deep vertical PaaS? It looks more like flat sterile SaaS to me.
For the IDC’s part of the information: the so called 3rd platform – This here seems to merge all current trendy words in an amalgam. And as we all know the latter cannot be homogenous. So there is still a lot of pioneer development to do to bring Mobility/Consumerization, Social Businesses and Big Data/Analytics into one, say, Cloud Solution. I’ll come to speak more precise of it shortly but for now keep in mind that the four topics covered are indeed “hot” but do not necessarily share one common boat, so I am asking myself as of how scientific IDC’s prognoses were? Or rather how programmatic the wishes? Then for them all to work together you need interoperability and integrity, apart from the development burden. And if you want to stay compliant you have an extra layer of deployment problems, which leads me to the final part of my outburst here.
The last aspect that I want to cover is the “blown to bits” IT. It is true that the IT responsible staff is undergoing a global shift of borders. Instead of concentrating on the functional and strategic implementation of electronic supported solutions and techniques we had to morph in some monstrous legitimacy attorneys. Neither me nor any of my fellow-admins wanted that, but some of us got really badly burned as it suddenly turned out that we were not running our systems compliant, causing breaches in the privacy, even delivering archived emails to our superiors, because of legal persecutions not knowing that this was illegitimate and incompetent under the precise conditions to say the least. So in the last 5-7 years we HAD to get competent in areas not genuinely belonging to our workload. And then we suddenly see the consumerization (coming from the same beloved superiors by the way) in full move? And being asked for security and compliance in the same breath? Do you understand what horror it is for us to hear the trend of “social business”? Remember what I wrote just above – we are JUST getting the email flows under control using modern electronic archiving and litigation holds. The developers are STILL NOT able to integrate the email flow in a DMS naturally – it is still half baked semi-automatic copying (and thus duplications prone) solution, just look around! And how could I help my boss when he asks me to show the official approval from the CFO to a sales accountant if this happened via Twitter?
Thus said the IT is not blown to bits but shifted towards unknown dimensions. And this process has started a long time ago. And finally the ones that do not want to accept this shifting are the superiors when they say that admins have to make a decision about a cloud provider, but don’t want to listen to the end of the compliance utterings thinking this is none of our business. So do not get overexcited in this December mood about trends and prognoses of IT related matters, because most of them are nothing more than transient Christmas tree ornaments reflecting already existing phenomena.