IBM and Cisco have collaborated on a range of projects. One interesting result of this meeting of minds is a new router from Cisco called the CRS-1. This is a big device that encompasses autonomic capabilities.
One possible weakness in the ODC project is that it is driven by a vendor. This means that it might possibly be negatively affected by that vendor's desire to "shift product." My own view is that the future of computing is more driven by consideration of networking and access to networking rather than processing power. However, these comments must be viewed in the context of history, where vendors have driven hugely successful technologies. Examples of this include: Sun Microsystems and Java, Cisco and IP routing, Microsoft and Windows, etc. So maybe the fact that just one company is pushing ODC isn't such a bad thing. On the other hand, ODC is a new way of producing and using software. This might well require buy-in from many other vendors, and this is not guaranteed to occur.
We've briefly reviewed a range of potentially powerful new technologies. The integrative aspect of ODC is compelling--it takes existing technologies, standards, and specifications and merges these into a wholly new way of running IT. In conjunction with grid computing, it can be seen that ODC is conceptually similar to the global outsourcing phenomenon. The telecom world offers historical precedent for the power of outsourcing such arcane areas as MPLS an VPN management. Organizations can save cash and focus on core activities by offloading these complex technologies from the LAN and into the hands of highly trained and increasingly cash-strapped service providers.
Whether or not ODC takes off as per IBM's vision, other vendors are attempting similar initiatives; Oracle has added grid capability to its Oracle 10g product. Again, history teaches that out of the technology wars there is generally a clear winner to lead the next revolution--Microsoft won the desktop war. It's likely that we will see an ODC winner emerge. What's interesting about this is that no single company has led two consecutive waves of revolution--Microsoft is now no longer seen as the innovation leader (its stock even pays dividends now as it accepts its position as an established brand holder!) and its forays into telecom and gaming could even be seen as solutions looking for a problem.
My own take on ODC is that it is very necessary. One benefit I'd like to see it deliver is simpler systems. This is no longer a matter of choice given the risk-related volatility of this first decade of the twenty-first century. The world may well have a sufficient amount of programmers engaged in producing the thousands of packages that feed the global market for technology. Perhaps a fresh approach is needed for the form and function of much of this software? It's possible that ODC can deliver this.
Stephen B. Morris is an independent writer/consultant based in Ireland.
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