@CloudExpo Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Article

Ken Olsen Presaged Cloud Computing

His Passing Hits the OG Hard, As We Remember Everything He Set Into Motion

Ken Olsen's recent passing is hitting the OG hard. I've read dozens of heartfelt tributes to Ken Olsen over the past 24 hours, many from people who worked for him, others from people he simply influenced.

Every generation remembers its youth and early adulthood as the best of times. Ken and a few other titans of my father's generation were the ones who influenced and inspired our good old days. His mention brings back into many of our minds a bygone era, but one which was no less exciting than the times today.

We were inventing today back then, and nobody really knew where it was all headed.

The company Ken founded, Digital Equipment Corp., successfully freed business from IBM's batch-oriented mainframes, which commanded more than 80 percent of the entire IT market before Digital came along.

In breaking up the original borg, Digital set into motion everything that we continue to work on today.

The company made networking popular. It brought computing power to the desktop, along with email, the original social networking. It encouraged a generation of software engineers to try to keep up with the hardware, a competition that thrust programming languages and hardware architectures into the industry spotlight. Engineers were the New Cool.

Most important, for the first time computers were seen as communications devices rather than mere calculators. Collaboration was possible, worldwide. The computer was still the computer, but the network became mighty important.

In spawning a new industry-minicomputers--Ken's company drew some of the greatest minds in the world. Digital's success resulted in the liftoff of the IT industry in New England, had a rippling effect through IBM, and pushed Hewlett Packard to think harder about IT as it created Silicon Valley.

Several new companies emerged as well. A famous book, The Soul of a New Machine (by Tracy Kidder) described one of them, Data General, in particular, while simultaneously capturing the industry zeitgeist in agonizing detail.

At its peak in the 80s, the Digital market was strong enough to support not one, but three major newspapers devoted to its customers and technology. It's hard to imagine anything like this today.

The influence of Ken's company on the early days of Microsoft has been well-documented. This influence continued when Redmond tried to replicate Digital's approach to operating systems when it wrote Windows NT.

Ken's vision also presaged today's Cloud Computing era, as others have already noted. He didn't see the point of turning everybody into system administrators.

Decades later, as computers are morphing into gadgets and ensuring that the software works is the providers' problem, his intuition is playing out.

Ken left the company he created in the early 90s, retiring around the traditional age of 65. He spent the rest of his years quietly practicing his faith and working to influence the world in a positive way.

He didn't seek the spotlight, but one hopes that his life and career are long remembered and appreciated.

He now sits at the same table as Tom Watson Sr. and Jr., Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, Bill Hewlett and David Packard.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

CloudEXPO Stories
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one bottle of the oil for commercial purpose. But from its medical properties to its culinary importance, skin lightening, moisturizing, and protection abilities, down to its extraordinary hair care properties, prickly seed oil has got lots of excellent rewards for anyone who pays the price.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected path for IoT innovators to scale globally, and the smartest path to cross-device synergy in an instrumented, connected world.
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of the world’s largest data centers. Click here to schedule a meeting with our experts and executives.
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understanding as the environment changes.