It’s an exciting time for those of us in IT as the business and technology news is dominated by stories of innovation and disruption in industries that seemed to be succeeding in a closed business ecosystem with a sensible and securely controlled computing environment. Think of apps that completely disrupted industries (WAZE, Paylah!, Spotify) not to mention the new niche players overtaking markets with new ways to use technology as their unique value proposition.
In PwC’s 2015 CEO Survey, 61% of CEOs worldwide said they think the increase in the number of their significant direct and indirect competitors threatens to disrupt their industries to some extent during the next five years.
A Wake-up Call
At the center of disruption is a laser focus on customer experience, personalization, mobile first, financial profitability and the need to differentiate. Then layer on the operational considerations of who controls the budget, improves efficiency, increases productivity and leads the agile methodology, viva la scrum! Any of that sound familiar? If so, then welcome to the vortex of hyper-distributed computing! If it does not sound familiar, then hopefully this is a wake-up call to the reality going on in the modern era of data processing and computing, otherwise known as digital business. In either case, don’t panic, don’t brush it off as a fad and above all else, please don’t think “we have been here before.” Because, we have not!
Understanding Distributed vs Hyper-Distributed Computing
While singularity is the domain of distributed computing, multiplicity is the domain of hyper-distributed computing. In distributed computing, the network connections are defined and well known, while in hyper-distributed computing connections can be virtual and require a step of discovery and then trust. Hyper-distributed computing involves multiple independent processes occurring concurrently across an ecosystem.
|Distributed Computing||Hyper-distributed Computing|
|Focused on the problem or function. For example, a single problem is divided into multiple parts, and each part is solved by a different computer. The idea is that computers are networked together so they can communicate and jointly solve a single problem or function by distributing the tasks.
||Focused on context and entities. Context relates to the ability to sense and react to situations based on the environment in which the entity is operating. Entities are a general classification for physical real items that are interacting within an environment; this could be a device, a machine a person or some combination of device, machine, and people.
The combination of context and entities being orchestrated within a value network to achieve multiple business outcomes in an automated fashion is the promise and value proposition of hyper-distributed computing. This is what makes hyper-distributed computing different from anything that has been seen before. It makes the vision of interoperability between business systems, IT systems, and operational systems feasible and attainable.
The Power Enabled by Hyper-distribution
I recognize that for many to truly embrace hyper-distributed computing there must be at least one compelling reason to care. Lucky for you, there are many personal, business, and technological reasons why everyone should care. And there are at least four reasons any technology or business architect with the responsibility of capturing and translating requirements into viable and deployable corporate architectures needs to put hyper-distribution at the core of their ever evolving computing environment.
- The core components and tenants of hyper-distributed computing will change the way people work, live and play in ways not previously possible.
- The defense or offense against corporations becoming disrupted, disintermediated or just plain irrelevant depends upon successfully adopting appropriate aspects of hyper-distributed computing.
- Financial pressures and constraints to get more out of technology investments can be achieved more readily through appropriate utilization of what hyper-distributed computing has to offer.
- Those passionate about technology and constantly learning will find no end to the possibilities of creative combinations and permutations that can be done to achieve new capabilities and outcomes.
These four reasons accomplish two goals:
- First they provide the founding principles that help architects guide their organizations into environments that will truly have a business impact and avoid the label of “technology for technology sake.”
- Second they strike at the core of what it takes to remain a relevant and trusted technology professional.