Moving from N Scale to M Scale: Compute On Demand in 2020

techabstract188054508Developing a vision of what information technology will look like in 2020 requires a bit of knowledge, speculation, luck, and the willingness to extend current integration trends. Connecting Internet of Things (IoT), Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI) and cloud integration to move from the current N Scale (aNy Scale) computing evolution toward a more consumer friendly M Scale (My Scale), creates one vision of IT in 2020.

The utopian outcome of IoT is that everything is connected to everything else and the data provided by things becomes meaningful to information consumers. Our ability to know, control and interact with devices will grow by an order of magnitude as IoT continues to evolve and interaction with things becomes a designed-in feature rather than a bolt on afterthought. The value of IoT data will emerge from yet another management interface or dashboard for consumers to select, filter and format data that matters to them based on location, time, temperature or a host of other personalized options.

To manage this data growth, the systems that collect, store and filter the data will require N Scale architecture to run with varying levels of efficiency across a multitude of platforms. Today, we might think of this when we consider SDI which includes the flexibility to turn up or down computing resources based on API calls or monitoring system commands. Moreover, these first steps into N Scale computing are demonstrating flexibility unimagined a decade ago when the future forecasters envisioned a world of virtual machines (VMs), one forecast that is coming true.

The next evolution of computing will transform N Scale into M Scale. Today, connecting IoT, personal filters and dynamic computing requires specialized knowledge, programming ability and access to proprietary systems. However, by 2020 the application programming interface (API) calls or management systems required to spin up a new database server that will filter all of the information you consider important about your new car, your next phone, or the seven frozen lasagnas inside the supermarket where you are shopping right now, will be built into the software running on your personal M Scale device. That device might be your phone, watch, glasses, or something yet to be created. Unlike the power-hungry devices we carry today, an M Scale device will need only a network connection — enough compute power to send commands — and a way to convey information to you through sight or sound. All of the compute work will be done in the infrastructure that the device commands, not on the device itself.

Today, information technologies have created a world of data personalization where you can find nearly anything about anything if you devote enough time, energy and compute resources to the effort. In 2020, the effort will be automated and scalable to create information from data when and where the information is most relevant, as defined by your M Scale preferences. In 2020, the world of data will come to you without any awareness of the effort required.

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