The Road Ahead?

April 24, 2008

I recently found a copy of the CD from Bill Gates’ book “The Road Ahead” laying around. I’m still looking for the book itself.

The book was published about 1995. The CD has a multimedia presentation that, as far as I can tell, was targeted to DOS, Win3.1, and maybe Win95. So far, I cannot get it to run it on Win XP.

Which means, of course, that Bill’s “The Road Ahead” does not run on Microsoft’s own road ahead.

Elastra Database on AWS

April 13, 2008

Oh I really like this. Elastra promises to give us an application stack with a fully functioning database instance running on Amazon Web Services. It is in beta now but if this works and scales well this could be the best thing since client server.

Imagine setting up a database driven application stack with just an AWS account and a few mouse clicks. Instead of installing  servers, licenses, database software, configuring backups, networks, firewalls, etc, etc. What a relief!

Elastra only supports open source MySQL and PostreSQL, to avoid the obvious license headache. I wonder how long before Sun decides it wants the Java/MySQL piece of this pie and takes it for itself. Expect MS to follow on quickly with a WindowsLive service version of .Net/SQLserver, if it doesn’t do that already. After all, MS has that big new Northlake datacenter to keep busy.

Regardless how well this beta works out, it certainly points to the future. Right now this looks new and strange but soon this will be the normal way to provision applications. In a few years we will look back and be amazed at the hassle we work through now to provision IT.

I can see how the IT department disappears in this scenario. If the apps come from a third party, that party provides the app support and Amazon supports the whole rest of the infrastructure. There is nothing for an IT department to do essentially. Given the potential cost savings, this should grow pretty qucikly.

Some DBAs may think this will put them out of a job. If you think your job is installing databases, I suppose it will, but do you really want to be doing that?
In my expreence nothing creates work for DBAs faster than letting end users loose with data and apps. Now armed with just a credit card and a webbrowser any end user can have their own highly scalable database driven app stack. This should quickly create nearly unlimited work for DBAs. It won’t be IT department work though, more likely consulting work directly for the business.