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The 3rd. Platform, Big Data, and the Internet of Things

What is the “3rd Platform” of IT? It comprises of the cloud, mobile, social, and big data products. According to IDC, “3rd Platform technologies and solutions will drive 29 percent of 2014 IT spending and 89 percent of all IT spending growth”. Much of that growth will come from the “cannibalization” of traditional IT markets. Here are some interesting quotes and statements I read recently.

  • Adding terabytes to a Hadoop cluster is much less costly than adding terabytes to an enterprise data warehouse (EDW).
  • IDG Enterprise’s 2014 Big Data survey: more than half of the IT leaders polled believe they will have to re-architect the data center network to some extent to accommodate big data services.
  • “Big data has the same sort of disruptive potential as the client-server revolution of 30 years ago, which changed the whole way that IT infrastructure evolved. For some people the disruption will be exciting and for others, it will be threatening.” – Marshall Presser, CTO at Pivotal
  • The traditional IT infrastructure was designed to help the CFO close the company’s books faster than the manual accounting systems that preceded IT. A surprising number of those original systems are still kicking around, adding to the pile of “legacy spaghetti” that CIOs love to complain about.
  • We are seeing a bumpy transition from the old kind of IT that faced mostly inward, to a new kind of IT that mostly faces outward.
  • After years of resistance, IT is following the nearly universal business trend of replacing “product-centricity” with “customer-centricity”.
  • One key challenge is rapidly scaling systems to meet unexpected levels of demand. “I call it the ‘curse of success’ because if the market suddenly loves your product, you have to scale up very quickly. Those kinds of scaling problems are difficult to solve, and there isn’t a universal toolkit for achieving scalability on the Internet of Things. When Henry Ford needed to scale up production, he could add another assembly line.” (Jordan Husney, Strategy Director, Undercurrent)
  • “HDFS is a complete replacement for not just one, but four different layers of the traditional IT stack. The HDFS ecosystem does storage, processing, analytics, and BI/visualization, all without moving the data back and forth from one system to another. It is a complete cannibalization of the existing stack.” (Abhisek Mehta, Founder, CEO of Tresata). My view is that this only applies to the analytics side, not the transaction-processing aspect of business.
  • API-ification of the Enterprise – “Not only we have to change the infrastructure, we have to fundamentally change the way we build applications. Hundreds of millions of new applications will be built. Some of them will be very small, and very transient. Traditional IT organizations – along with their tooling, approaches, and processes – will have to change. For IT, it’s going to be a different world. We’re seeing the ‘API-ification’ of the enterprise.” (Rick Bullota, Cofounder and CTO, ThingWorx

All these observations are interesting, but must be taken with the proper scope in mind. There is a tendency to sensationalize and generalize too quickly. The 3rd Platform is real and Big data is certainly changing the IT landscape. The only question is on the velocity of change!


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More Stories By Jnan Dash

Jnan Dash is Senior Advisor at EZShield Inc., Advisor at ScaleDB and Board Member at Compassites Software Solutions. He has lived in Silicon Valley since 1979. Formerly he was the Chief Strategy Officer (Consulting) at Curl Inc., before which he spent ten years at Oracle Corporation and was the Group Vice President, Systems Architecture and Technology till 2002. He was responsible for setting Oracle's core database and application server product directions and interacted with customers worldwide in translating future needs to product plans. Before that he spent 16 years at IBM. He blogs at http://jnandash.ulitzer.com.

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