The Miniaturisation of IT and Data Centres


Today we all hear about the consumerisation of IT, but the one subject most vendors and data centres do not wish to face is what I define as the miniaturisation of IT.

I am a proud iPhone 6s + owner (and an Apple watch, iPad Pro, MacBook Air, iPad Mini 4 all of these in Gold), when I hold my iPhone up I wonder how…

The ‘how’ I wonder is how does this one small device have more processing power than all the Allied and Axis powers combined during World War II. It is amazing when you look at the original Turing bombes or the later colossus machine and wonder how far forward the human race has come.

But as with any device, it is subject to reform, refinement, resizing or adapting to a new format altogether. An example of this is the number of functions my iPhone performs that required other devices previously;

  • Email – this required a desktop or laptop
  • Music – this required a C90 cassette or record player
  • Music store – I have iTunes which is digital delivery of services rather than the traditional vinyl record or cassette
  • iBook’s – I read my books based on a digital download rather than traditional book manufacturer or consumption

The above are just a few examples where functions and form are realised into a more compact function.

Let’s do a bit of future gazing, one of my personal hobbies looking at current devices and services and predicting future form and function:

Data centres / Servers / Storage

Future Form: Do we need such huge properties and devices guzzling power, spinning up out of date components. My view is the power of the large providers such as Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer, Amazon AWS will all fit onto a single form factor of today’s single server within 20 years. As I predicted many years ago on this blog, we are beginning to see the fusion of biomechanics with computing. As Quantum computing and synthetic DNA storage become mainstream today’s devices will become more and more obsolete. I hear with interest many networking and storage companies moving towards being ‘software only’ companies we will see more of these announcements in the next few years.

Hybrid, Hybrid, Hybrid, before we see what I term as ‘the great leap’ towards cloud-based technologies, we will first see a gradual migration, using hybrid technologies which resemble current architectures. These Hybrid technologies such as those used within the car industry will allow familiarisation with future enhancements whilst retaining the current look and feel of IT hardware. The hybrid transition will move into the laggard space by 2018.

Future Function: Those that invest in data centres should now move onto another website here’s a great link In my view data centres that do not modernise and open up their doors, embracing local and national communities will die. Like the much-maligned 1960’s tower blocks being pulled down around the UK, the data centres that do not offer more than technical real estate will be akin to lemmings walking towards a cliff. The function of the future data centre will be in my view very different today and based upon biotech and be more technical hubs for those that need premises.

My view is that within 10 years most mega-cloud providers would have built their own data centres so they control the full stack, whilst regional data centres will lose 80% of capacity, which will need to be replaced by other revenue streams. Servers/storage and other hardware functions will be software controlled and take 99% less footprint that today’s technical architectures. My final thoughts modernise now or you will be extinct like a dodo.

Laptops and mobile devices

Future Form: We could make this as small as an atom if needs be, the issue is whether the artificial intelligence community can allow for the form to be made into a chip. The reason I say this, voice dictation and thought control will be essential to miniaturise these devices. The keyboard layout is crucial to many familiar with creating spread-sheets and word processing functions. My prediction: the laptop and mobile will be chip sized with embedded virtual reality functions that will pop out a virtual keyboard for those who wish to type using QWERTY.

Future Function: IoT, M2M and any other acronym I can throw out there will be controlled consumed and executed by a biochip. We are already starting to see home automation and personal health embedded via apps onto these devices. My view is long term everything from our passports to movies will be embedded onto every human as a biochip with artificial intelligence functions interacting with our thoughts.


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