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Ask Slashdot: What Will IT Look Like In 10 Years? 444

Posted by Soulskill
from the reply-cloudy-ask-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The IT industry is a lot different than it was 10 years ago; it underwent a huge boom in terms of labor and services required to keep up with the times. Now, we are entering a consolidation phase. The cloud makes it easier for companies to host e-mail, so now instead of organizations having their own Exchange guy, they will outsource it to the cloud. Instead of having a bunch of network engineers, they will deploy wireless and no longer need cabling or current levels of network engineering services. What do you think the long-term consequences of this will be? What skills do you think will be useful in 10 years? Is IT going to put its own out of work, like we did with the post office and libraries?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Will IT Look Like In 10 Years?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've yet to see a corporate wi-fi deployment that required less work on behalf of the network guy/gal(s) than a similar wired user base.. maybe I'm just naive?

    • by sjames (1099) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @05:48AM (#37159748) Homepage

      Going to all wireless will require at least as many engineers as now, but they'll have to be even better at it. They'll trade in their cat-5 testers for radio analysers to help them track down leaky ovens, malfunctioning wifi cards, and rogue devices. They'll enter new depths of hell trying to explain to an administrative assistant that the new potted plant in the foil wrapped pot is blocking her network connectivity.

      Meanwhile, IT will end up buying a golf cart to help hunt down freeloaders in the parking lot.

      • by flappinbooger (574405) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:51AM (#37160354) Homepage
        How much does the average hotel spend troubleshooting their wireless? I'd say close to zero.

        Hate to say it, but I have a hunch that as far as actual IT goes, if stuff goes more and more to a) wireless infrastructure and b) cloud computing - then the role of "IT department" will come down to not much more than TSA agents - underqualified boobs who get ultimate authority.

        IT will troubleshoot the desktop systems by rebooting, then if that doesn't work replace it with an identical disposable appliance and send back the "defective" unit for recycling.

        Since everything is on the cloud, the only other task for "IT" is to make sure the internet connection stays up and - here's the TSA part - police internet usage to ensure compliance with corporate internet and computer use policy. IT Tools will be comprised of keylogging, remote screen viewing and internet access logs. Noncompliance will be dealt with by more ... invasive .... searches.

        IT will be staffed by pimply faced youths who are susceptible to power trips and a mean streak.

        The IT director will herd the thugs and needs no qualification other than being able to negotiate the company needs with cloud service vendors who - generally - are good at telling companies what they need.

        Computing will become not much more than another utility dealt with by the maintenance department.

        Bleak? Too pessimistic? Inaccurate? Get back to me in ten years.
        • IT will be staffed by pimply faced youths who are susceptible to power trips and a mean streak.

          That's more or less how it is known today. And I think that's exactly how it will change in ten years: not at all. It will be the same thing, only with more professionals (and "professionals") and flying computers, which will probably be very annoying to operate and repair.

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          IT will troubleshoot the desktop systems by rebooting,

          Just automate it:
          * * * * * /usr/bin/reboot
          There. Now I can get back to reading slashdot.

        • The average corporate IT department has ALREADY degraded to the level of TSA; more interested in "compliance" than business success. At some point, the pendulum has to swing back the other way -- cutting the costs imposed by all of these policies and self-important police. By that time, I think we will have a "bring your own" mentality towards desktop hardware, just as mechanics are expected to supply their own tools. Instead of buying servers (or even cloud-based virtual servers), corporate IT will buy

          • by hawguy (1600213)

            The average corporate IT department has ALREADY degraded to the level of TSA; more interested in "compliance" than business success. At some point, the pendulum has to swing back the other way -- cutting the costs imposed by all of these policies and self-important police. By that time, I think we will have a "bring your own" mentality towards desktop hardware, just as mechanics are expected to supply their own tools. Instead of buying servers (or even cloud-based virtual servers), corporate IT will buy complete applications whose server-side infrastructure is vendor-supplied. Mandatory stupidity and shortsighted cost control have pretty much killed off the ability to handle IT any other way.

            You say that is if IT asked for SOX, HIPAA, PCI, etc along with all of the script-kiddies (and professional hacker networks) that are actively looking for vulnerabilities. IT engineers a network that meets compliance regulations because they *have* to, not because they thought it might be a fun thing to do. After a few SaaS providers are hacked, it will be interesting to see what kind of responsibility the customer has for the hack even if they made sure that the provider had all of the right certifications

    • by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:52AM (#37159956) Homepage

      And another factor with wireless is the limited bandwidth. When too many are using wireless at the same time in the same location things slows down considerably.

      Even if you have 100Mbps but you share it with 20 people you may end up with 5Mbps. Wireless is also sensitive to electric noise, which makes things worse.

      So wired networking will be the primary alternative even in the future. Especially considering that the applications we run today require more and more bandwidth.

    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      Wireless + cloud = a much greater need for security engineering.

      • Absolutely. Think mobile and porous. Forget what's where. Things constantly change. The future of IT isn't going to put IT out of business any more than the present put IT out of business, it will just change... And grow.
    • by iamhassi (659463)

      I've yet to see a corporate wi-fi deployment that required less work on behalf of the network guy/gal(s) than a similar wired user base.. maybe I'm just naive?

      Agreed.

      "....they will deploy wireless and no longer need cabling or current levels of network engineering services."

      Extremely wrong. Cable is plug-n-play, you plug it in and you're on the network, no issues. Wireless will always need to be password protected so there will always be at least password problems. I worked tech support at a 7,000 employee company where many of them had laptops and almost half our calls were wifi password questions which means about 6 people had jobs just for wireless ne

  • Flawed premise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The rumors of the death of "in house mail" is greatly exaggerated!
    Though I agree the "Exchange guy" may become a dinosaur with the continue rise of the "Linux guy".

    • by alphatel (1450715) *
      It's a relative proposal. The need for a guy and a server has waned as cloud computing becomes the viable option for a small company. Sure you can drop in a NAS if you know even the smallest thing about computers and setup email with any of many cloud providers. But is that going to work when the office is 10 executives instead of 10 social media marketers?

      The life of the cloud I think is what is exaggerated. The massive cost reduction the providers are seeing in providing the distributed data are due in
      • Having 200 people from a city I never heard of in a country I've never visited be in charge of all my material assets is a problem.

        True, but only if you remain in business long term. The before and after of outsourcing can also look like this:

        Before, you have 200 local people in charge of your material, and no serious competition abroad. After, you have 200 people from a city you never heard of in charge of your assets, and then a foreign competitor who employs 200 local people to compete with your

      • Re:Flawed premise (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:54AM (#37159964) Homepage

        However the cloud won't be able to compensate for the network latency when accessing data. This can be a major issue. Just going cloud-based isn't the perfect solution for everything.

        • One of my clients has gone to an in-house cloud to support international email on an Exchange server located in Southern California and supporting subsidiaries spread from Asia through the USA and into Europe. It's a frigging mess with latency problems frustrating everyone. Between the VPN and the distances involved plus the inevitable mis-configuration of desktops, everyone is frustrated. Luckily, I can lay the blame off on the guys who run the centralized shop they hired to implement this. :)

          For another c

          • by sgt scrub (869860)

            So instead of setting up Postfix email servers with IMAP (to get rid of your "latency") and OpenVPN (to simplify VPN access) your paying a company to provide Postfix email proxy+cache? That is actually brilliant. You can say Exchange instead of Email so the suits are comfortable and have multiple directions to point the finger when something goes down.

  • by biodata (1981610) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @05:26AM (#37159664)
    What will be the effect of organisations outsourcing everything and not employing engineers? Things will be poorly engineered and insecure. Everything will work a bit less well and take longer to get fixed. China will run things.
    • Also, learning Chinese will be essential in an engineering career.

      • by zlogic (892404)

        Chinese engineers know English pretty well. After all, they have to communicate with customers and do onsite work. Some Chinese engineers may choose to immigrate to America.
        Chinese will only be needed in case you're supervising assembly line workers.

        • by vtcodger (957785)

          Not that it's relevant, but there seem to be a lot of dialects of Chinese and apparently not all are mutually comprehensible. I assume that all the dialects can be expressed in the same written language -- which isn't phonetic in the way European languages are anyway. But I've more than once seen Chinese here in the US give up on trying to communicate in Chinese and switch to English even though neither spoke English all that well.

          • by Cato (8296)

            There are many dialects and most are mutually unintelligible, but the writing system is standard. In China, most people seem to speak Mandarin Chinese (putonghua) in addition to any local dialects.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            But I've more than once seen Chinese here in the US give up on trying to communicate in Chinese and switch to English even though neither spoke English all that well.

            That sounds like the math department at my institution. I'd see that and think, wow, those two Chinese guys are really trying hard to improve their English, and it turned out that they spoke completely different dialects.

        • by Genda (560240)

          Sorry but this is incredibly naive. In ten years China will be the worlds largest economy and as hard as they are trying to grow IT professionals they will terribly short and American engineers who saw the curve early and capitalized on it will do very well indeed. Absolutely, learn Mandarin, it will serve you well the rest of this century.

          Advances in swarm technology, adaptive intelligent systems, self optimizing technologies with move most engineers to position of working on IT metastructures at least on

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            China runs into the inevitable problem of a more educated "production line" will want more equitable access to the countries productivity. The current principle of working people to exhaustion, paying the bugger all and, housing them crappy barracks, all because it is cheaper than automation, well come to a bitter end. Greed will force that bitter as China is no more free of psychopaths and narcissists than the rest of the world.

            So the real question is will we run full greed ahead into a new dark ages, n

          • This is an automated warning that the parent post contains a higher than healthy proportion of marketing and/or enthusiastic investor speak and/or doomsayer speak. The following phrases were identified to make this decision.

            Vague, bold claims:

            • will be the worlds largest economy
            • they will be terribly short
            • will do very well indeed
            • serve you well the rest of this century
            • will improve dramatically
            • will become critically important
            • will result in massive failures
            • in the not too distant future
            • outrageously high
            • possibly gr
          • by InterGuru (50986)

            We are all heirs to the industrial revolution and grateful for its advances, such as better living conditions and a longer healthier life, but the revolution was pure hell for the working class that lived through it.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            they will terribly short

            That's kind of racist, don't you think? What does their size have to do with anything? I suppose you think they have small dicks, too.

      • In foreign affairs, it used to be "the optimists learned Russian, the pessimists learned Chinese". Now, it's "the optimists learn Chinese, the pessimists learn Arabic".

    • As opposed to the excellent engineering and high security we have today ?

      Maybe is companies spend a little less time running cables, configuring SANs, and patching OSes, they'll be able to focus on stuff like features, reliability security ?

      • Maybe is companies spend a little less time running cables, configuring SANs, and patching OSes, they'll be able to focus on stuff like features, reliability security ?

        Exactly. We're a software shop that has a pile of UNIX geeks and plenty of mail expertise. We outsourced mail and calendaring to Google a few years ago and couldn't be happier.

        Why did we do this? The first clue was that *everybody* was forwarding their mail to gmail.com accounts because the search was so damn fast, and we knew what kind

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          what happens when Google shuts down your account on a whim ?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vlm (69642)

          I mean, really -- other than Larry and Sergei reading our mail, there really isn't much of a downside.

          LOL how about this

          Now we don't have that mystery missing-man-day every month when something inevitably goes wrong

          No no no. What you mean is now you CAN NOT spend a man-day when something inevitably goes wrong. Just toss your hands up in the air, shrug the shoulders, and go home. Don't confuse lack of ability to control with lack of need to control.

          I've been involved on the service provider side of what is now called "cloud computing" for about two decades. You, as a customer, are worth exactly what you pay us, adjusted somewhat by cost of new sales. Not a penny more, not a penny less. Lets say,

          • Sounds like you either had the wrong customers, or the wrong employer.

            Let's break down your rant: there are three things which are likely to go wrong:

            1. The entire system goes down for a non-trivial period of time
            2. An important piece of e-mail from a customer goes missing
            3. The service is terminated

            #1 hasn't happened in five years, and I doubt Google will drop the ball that badly. If they ever do, I'll throw a team at the problem and have a working (but inelegant) mail service back online the same day. O

  • Computers become phones, phones are disposable and aren't serviced or repaired. Home computers become more expensive to build as demand lessens.

    Internet anonymity nearly gone and illegal in many countries. You history tracked and everything taxed. A two tier rich man / poor man internet.

    A fee for everything. Network priority fee, cloud access fee, music playback license, tv viewing fee.
  • http://www.theconfidentmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/easy-button-resized-600.jpg [theconfidentmom.com]

    except it will result in the pulling of your heart plug in you don't respond in time.

  • The dino pen will become know as the bikeshed, since a heterogeneous virtualized cluster together with the web being the most common UI everyone will know how to build IT solutions and IT depts will fight tooth and nail for their idea to win.

    IT depts will be more gender-neutral since the hardcore geeks will migrate towards vendors and labs, and people-skills will be even more important.

    Cheap high-speed interconnects, better electrical efficiency, and ongoing miniaturization means you can build a supercomput

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      Cheap high-speed interconnects, better electrical efficiency, and ongoing miniaturization means you can build a supercomputer in your closet and become a local service provider.

      Not to rain on your parade but... Your forgetting that the quality of connectivity for 3rd level ISPs is shit in order to kill off the small guy. Also. The cost of mandatory content filtering ISP's are about to have to implement at their own expense will not be cheap.

  • To build a good wireless you need a significant amount of cable and skill. And since Ethernet still is the best for a installation with a high density of systems (offices) and power over Ethernet makes attaching thin clients on the table very easy i don't see how Ethernet would vanish soon.

    Email services have been extremely cumulated since some time. What will reduce are the people installing software (but this trend also exists already for some time) and searching for mistakes.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:04AM (#37159810) Homepage Journal

    Almost every company depends on networked computers to perform critical daily tasks. IT's function is to provide and maintain the computing infrastructure.

    Unfortunately, there's MBA types counting beans and looking for places to save money. They look at IT and see a cost center; IT adds nothing to the bottom line.

    So let's start with a company with a healthy IT department; since they do their jobs, all the computing resources are up and running, problems are few and far between and quickly resolved.

    The bean counters look at the situation and how much they're paying IT - and see that everything is working fine. What are we paying these folks for? Lay them off to save money.

    Things keep running for months but start to fall apart around the edges; the users fix some of their PC problems and work around others. At about 18 months or so something critical goes down; the Exchange server takes a crap or something similar. Now they're in a panic; we need qualified IT staff, pronto. So they start hiring again (at a higher pay scale) and the cycle repeats.

    Try not to confuse this cycle with the longer cycle that moves computing power from the server to the desktop, then back to the server, back to the desktop and now back to the server. "Cloud" is just BS talk; it's dumb terminals on the desk and everything on the servers (again).

    Working in IT is like being in a big game of musical chairs. The pay is good when you're getting paid, but there are gaps between the jobs. Right now isn't good for IT people, but in a year or two...

    • by houghi (78078)

      IT's function is to provide and maintain the computing infrastructure.

      People from IT, please re-read this. At some companies it was as if the company is there to give IT something to do. At least that was the attitude of the IT department. Luckily not all are like that.

      Each department think that without them they company would not exist. In reality each and every department has its function. If they don't, then they will be cut off.

      Each department will go trough the same cycle. There is no reason why IT sho

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Right now isn't good for IT people, but in a year or two...

      ...the economy will really be in the toilet, and the only IT work will be outsourced, to India.

    • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintiumNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday August 21, 2011 @10:30AM (#37160734)

      The bean counters look at the situation and how much they're paying IT - and see that everything is working fine. What are we paying these folks for? Lay them off to save money.

      It sucks to be the "Maytag man". I don't understand why it is so hard to convince people the success of NT in organizations over Unix was due to the fact Unix didn't need constant attention but talented (more expensive) administration. When they are paying a Unix administrator $150k and see him/her sitting on their ass 90% of the time they decide to keep the "hard working" $65k person on staff because they are constantly doing "technology stuff". Oh. And the 65k person knows Excel short cuts.

  • When talking about IT work and IT at work, there are a few practical things that will not happen:

    We will not get get rid of physical keyboard, until we have a brain interface that can match typing speed on keyboard.

    We will not get rid of 20+" displays with FullHD+ resolutions either, because doing actual work on some postage stamp sized display is much less efficient, much more pain.

    These two things set pretty hard limits on what will happen.

  • Mostly Agile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:13AM (#37159850) Homepage

    There will be a lot more agile shops, most of them implementing extreme programming, and making the developer feel even more like they're just part of a production line.

    Don't get me wrong, I think parts of Agile are OK, but I've been to far too many interviews in the past where the interviewer thinks that Agile is the be all and end all of programming.

    • "There will be a lot more agile shops, most of them implementing extreme programming, and making the developer feel even more like they're just part of a production line."

      Clever managers will do it exactly the opposite way.

      From my own experience, agile (esp. scrum) is not a project management methodology but a motivational methodology (both for developers and customers) so clever managers use agile in order for the programmers to be *in fact* part of production line while, at the same time, making them feel

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:19AM (#37159872)

    Steve Jobs in his last single interview with Walt Mossberg had a very good example of what is happening with IT right now. It basically goes like this:

    The very first cars were trucks. The very first chariots humans built were to hawl food from A to B. They were utility vehicles. Only later, when the vehicles of each age became a commodity, did they turn into everyday passenger vehicles that had a certain mass-availability.

    The computer now is doing the same thing, moving from being a tool for workers to being a commodity for everyday use by everyone, not just experts. Experts like us don't like that very much right now, but that's the way it goes. Bizarre IBM age keyboard layouts are finally becoming a thing of the past, UIs are becoming more task focused and the need for abstraction whilst using a 'Post-PC Device' is demising quickly. Even the mouse and the file-system is quickly fading into a specialist tool.

    Everyday commodity computing is basically going the way of the iPad.

    IT will move to a stronger separation of end-user and expert computing. Workstation-Laptops will become more rare and expensive, purpose built for programmers and admins to use them whilst tablet and netback devices will become a dime a dozen in all kinds of varieties. People won't look for actually performance but for brands of services. Sales talks like this: 'Can my device Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Netflix?' 'No, it can only Twitter and Facebook, you need an upgrade to Netflix with it.' will become normal at the HiFi-Store or carrier outlet.

    Some vendors like Apple, Nintendo or Sony will have a strong vertical lock-in with cushy comfort solutions that require upgrading every 3rd year, others will be more open and more utility focused.

    Carriers will get into bed with hardware, software and service brands more often. I expect branding and mindshare to become even more important than today in many places. To emphasize: I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft moved to the Linux kernel in a few years time and nobody would really care or even notice.

    Our kind will specialize more and the rich-client web will get a new boost - as it is happening right now - because the platform diversity mess will be very much 1980ies style also like it is right now again.

    All in all I'm not to scared about the way of IT, crazy DRM & patents, Human Rights and eavesdropping laws aside.
    It's going to be just as interesting then as it is today.

    My 2 cents.

    • Just to nitpick for the sake of it - the very first cars were personal transport - Bozek, Boleé, Hancock, Benz - all built for passenger transport. Trucks came up later.
    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      seeing as apple is abandoning the pro /business for the consumer why should we take account of what steve or apple thinks - apple is welcome to the cmoditized low margin business.
  • ... those of us building real networks and corporate infrastructure today will be re-hired at great expense to migrate company data AWAY from "the cloud" and back under corporate control.

    Between now and then might be a little bit interesting.

  • ...except for less money.

  • He who gives up security for convenience deserves neither... or something like that.

    The cloud is just a bad idea for companies who rely on their data. There's just no way around it. And wireless over wired? Perhaps if they painted all the walls with that special paint to block wifi from passing through... but then you might not get any phone calls either.

  • It won't smell too good, thats for sure.

  • The future of IT will be one guy, sitting in a closet, making minimum wage to push a button when someone's cupholder is broken. ...because management is afraid of automation.
  • "Now, we are entering a consolidation phase"?! No!

    There are no indications that we are entering a consolidation phase.

    640k... http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bill_Gates [wikiquote.org]: "I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough. There's never a citation; the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @07:01AM (#37159982) Journal

    The anon who wrote this question really should stop eating buzzwords like they are candy, they are rotting what little brain he had to begin with.

    Wireless to replace the networking guy? Because wireless is just plug and play right? You just setup one of those magic boxes and voila, the entire office building has zero-config access. That is the level this guy is thinking at, it shows he just hasn't got a clue. Just because you used wireless on your home router doesn't mean you are a networking expert, wireless or otherwise. Setting up wireless access is in fact harder for a big building then wired. Wired is simple, you got a cable, you draw it, you test it, it works. Cable doesn't get interference from a microwave or a factory nearby that runs something every monday. It has no dark spots, no interference. And you know what cable you plugged into which PC. I worked in offices where the visitors wifi was only working in the offices, not in the reception or meeting areas. That is helpful.

    He also proposes to move your email into the cloud. Clearly he never worked with regulators who would throw such a fit at handing all your confidential data over to a third party.

    This is just another post by some kiddy who heard some buzzwords and thinks his massive experience setting up his mom's computer gives him an insight into what IT support for even a medium sized company is all about.

    The future is always just the same. Why? Because things don't change all that much. Take flying cars, do you think they are going to solve grid-lock magically? Right, because the entire skies will be open to them right? Do you want flying cars buzzing over YOUR house? No? Then they will be confined to corridors, highways in the sky, just as congested as roads. Proof? Airliners are already having trouble fitting enough planes into busy areas. Now imagine every jumbojet replaced by 300 individuals in the skies.

    IT hasn't changed all that much. Even if you go wireless and into the cloud it will STILL require an admin on the ground to deal with it all. Just look at how often Amazon's cloud has been down. If you been in IT a little bit longer then this baby anon, you will know that IT is always changing and changing back again. From mainframe to PC's to the network to the cloud... it is just the latest craze. So the cable puller now pulls a cable to the wireless box and spends his time not checking cable but reception. Big whoop.

    • "The anon who wrote this question really should stop eating buzzwords like they are candy, they are rotting what little brain he had to begin with."

      The problem is that as long as enough rotten brain people eat the buzzwords they'll make it a self-fulfilled profecy.

      "Wireless to replace the networking guy? Because wireless is just plug and play right?"

      Quite a good example. In the last six months I've been in three SMBs that went to "all wireless" and deployed by amateurs too. No wonder one morning out of th

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @07:58AM (#37160144)

    Some time in the next 10 years somebody will crack the "problem" of micropayments: fractions of a penny. Once that happens then pretty much every website will cost something to visit - the commercial imperatives are too high for it to be otherwise. Apps will also charge on a per-use basis, rather than a buy once and use forever principle.

    Once sites can charge 0.05p for a visitor to view a page, both the need for advertisers and the attraction they offer will become obsolete. Websites will make their money directly, and the iron grip around their testicles will pass from the search engines that pass them advertising eyeballs, to the brokers that process their micropayments - though there will be huge battles between the old regime: of Google and it's friends and the newcomers, from wherever they come.

    I would expect the transition to be particularly painful, especially during the time when there are two iron-grips (one on each 'nad?) pulling in different directions. The resolution will come when part of the micropayment can be passed on to the referrer - whether search engine or linking site, in lieu of their lost advertising revenue - though we can expect the landscape of the 202x's to be a lot different, in terms of which companies are dominant.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Please compare and contrast your assumptions with voice telephone service billing, which has steadily moved away from hyperdetailed billing, toward "all you can eat" for not just decades but multiple generations.

      The problem is commodity content. The first provider of commodity content to demand payment, will merely be the first to go out of business when competitors eat their lunch. Competitors are motivated because they'll pick the carcass clean of advertising revenue, however little that may be.

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        Please compare and contrast ...

        Nothing could be simpler: phone companies don't have the abilty to handle micropayments. It's too expensive for them to meter each call and to bill them individually, hence the flat rate billing.

        The first provider of commodity content to demand payment, will merely be the first to go out of business

        We already have paywalls around some newspapers. Sure, the number of hits they get is down a lot, but the revenue per paying customer is much higher. So far some have gone down the tubes, but a lot more advertising-funded ones are considering taking the plunge. When micropayments are viable, that trickle will become

  • I've been in cloud computing for about two decades. The marketing and buzzwords have changed, but not much else.

    The fundamental problems with "cloud services" is asymmetry, crime, contracts, and uniforms.

    Asymmetry is when you're losing $10K/day in revenue because emails from China are getting blocked, and your $19.95/month provider literally can't afford to fix it. Based on their projected profit, and cost of new sales, they're financially better off disposing of your account, complete with you paying an

  • by jht (5006) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:32AM (#37160286) Homepage Journal

    The trend in IT since day 1 has been to alternate waves of centralization (Mainframe, client-server, cloud) with waves of decentralization (PC, workstation). Really, it'll probably be like it is now, just more so. Firms with very simple needs will use cloud-based mail and sharing solutions, firms with more need for customization and/or performance will run their own servers. If they are large enough to justify the expense, they'll hire an IT staff, otherwise they will use companies like mine when needed. Computers themselves will still need support, even if all the data is in a server farm somewhere. Not to mention that cloud computing assumes Internet that's always there and always working.

    Wireless will become more important, but wired will still be used when viable because it's faster and more reliable (plus every wired computer is one less tapping shared spectrum). Windows will continue to suck less, Macs the same, and Linux will keep being just a couple of years away from desktop usage.

    The wildcard is the emergence of the iPad (not tablets in general yet - the market so far has decreed that no tablet other than the iPad matters thus far). iPads alone won't redefine the IT business, but if any other platform takes hold to even close to the degree the iPad has thus far then tablets may finally become a viable part of the IT environment - ant that has the potential to redefine how applications are used and support is provided.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:34AM (#37160296)
    In the downturn after the executive branch allowed (neocon agenda facilitating) sept 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. governemt allowed a massive wave of H1B immigrants to drive IT salaries downward. Then the IRS enacted rules to make it extraordinarily difficult for engineer or IT worker to be independent consultant, rather saying such a person was in most cases an "employee" and subject to such taxes and rules. Then certain consulting firms owned by those of a certain ethnic group were the preferred ones to get outsourced IT work as companies reduced internal IT staff. This is just one tiny piece of a larger picture, where a very small group of wealthy elite, with most of the world's governments in their pocket, are building their New World Order.
  • Pretty much like today only more so.
  • Wireless? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cforciea (1926392) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @11:13AM (#37160972)
    I nearly fell out of my chair laughing about wireless precluding the need for network engineers. Do you have even the slightest clue what your network engineers do? I'll give you a hint: not cable runs. You can get some guy making less than $15 an hour to pull cables through walls and climb in attics. Why would you need somebody with any technical inclination at all to do that?

    Your network engineers are there for ensuring cross-node connectivity and security. When I set up your routes, manage your IPSEC tunnels, and design your firewall rules, I don't give two shits about what you are using for physical connectivity. You could have some cups attached together with strings and it wouldn't change my network design.

    In fact, wireless gives me more work to do. Wireless setup, while easy, takes more configuration than plugging a wire into a port. And if your building is of any size and thick construction, I'm going to require a lot more networking nodes to service the whole thing adequately than I need when I can run 300 feet in any direction with a cable. Which means if your douchebag veeps want to be able to walk around the building with their iThingies, I have to make sure the pieces of junk can connect to any wifi hotspot in the building, which is its own set of headaches.

    And then there's security. Wireless is an external attack vendor. Yes, it's cute that you think that encrypting your radio signals makes it impossible to eavesdrop. It's even more awesome when somebody somewhere demands that I reduce encryption levels because some older device they have can't even handle WPA2/AES. But here's the thing: bad guys can now sit out in the parking lot and collect your encrypted traffic undetectably. If they use some directional antennas and some feed horns, they might even be able to get farther away. After that, they can sit back and try to brute force your wireless key using their GPUs from the comfort of their homes. After that, they could perform corporate espionage from the cafe next door and if they play their cards right, there is not a damn thing you can do to even tell they are doing it.

    I have never set up wireless that was directly attached to somebody's corporate network. When I set up a wifi hotspot at somebody's business, it gives them access to the internet and the internet only. They can securely VPN after that if they want to get to company data.

    Does this all still sound like you can just plug in some Linksys routers you got from Fry's and fire your networking guy?
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @09:32PM (#37164304) Journal

    I've been in I.T. long enough to have a few guesses.

    IMHO, the "cloud" push will largely turn out to be little more than a fad or phase. I'm not saying it will go away; rather, businesses will go through initiatives to move as much as possible into the cloud, only to discover some serious disadvantages over time which cause most of them to pull back. Eventually, I think you'll see it stabilize into a situation where many people have at least ONE application (Exchange being a really good candidate) in the cloud, while still maintaining local I.T. infrastructure and servers for other things.

    I know where I work now, for example, one of our issues is limited bandwidth. We can't get cable Internet without paying close to $15,000 in expenses to roll the cable out to our location first, and high speed DSL isn't an option either. We're stuck with T1 circuits, and currently, a 3mbit bonded T1 pair is around $700 per month (even higher if I didn't really shop around for the lowest price). Given that, it makes no sense to put our mission critical apps out in the cloud, where everyone would vie for that 3mbit of bandwidth to run them, AND still need it for regular Internet downloads and surfing.

    But even if you HAVE cheap broadband, there are always questions like data security. (Say your cloud provider goes out of business. What guarantee do you have they'll really wipe all the hard drives and backups holding your data when they liquidate all their equipment?) Furthermore, as the cloud gets more popular, I think you'll see more instances of outages/downtime to go with it. Whether it's really warranted or not, businesses are going to get nervous when the execs read about the latest outage someplace, and start asking what their I.T. departments are doing to ensure it doesn't impact them. The most cost-effective and practical answer is going to involve replication and running some local hardware, IMO -- again ensuring your I.T. staff has to be retained.

    But ultimately, I think the BIGGEST reasons most companies need to retain some I.T. staff is the user training and support/hand-holding that's expected. The vast majority of employees are NOT that computer-savvy, yet they're asked to spend a lot of time using a computer in their workplace. That demand comes with a hidden cost. Either they pay a premium up-front to only hire people with a high level of computer skills, or they pay by way of retaining I.T. "help desk" and "support specialist" staffers who come running when Lisa in accounting jams up the laser printer trying to run checks, or Joe needs to know how to sum several columns in an Excel spreadsheet. None of that is going to change if the apps are hosted off-site instead of on-site.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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