Computing to move from apps to information

"Information-centric computing" - a complete overhaul of how information is used and stored - is moving to the top of the storage agenda, according to speakers at EMC World in Las Vegas this week.

Joe Tucci, EMC chairman, president and chief executive, said that the EMC saw a major part of its future in cloud computing and infrastructure services business, which it called "information-centric computing". He said in the company's opinion, this was going to be what the next wave in IT would be.

Information-centric computing is a change from the present where information was trapped in individual devices or applications. In the future, it would be consolidated across a whole range of applications in an environment. In EMC's case, this would mean cross leveraging across its product lines and divisions which include RSA and recently spun-off VMware.

"You very often have fragmented views of information. Tomorrow you will get consolidated views of information which will be much easier to get to," said Tucci.

"Today, policies, if applied at all, are applied haphazardly, for some of the data or information, some of the time. Tomorrow systems will be driven through common policy and common safeguards, followed everywhere."

Tucci was followed by Howard Elias, president of EMC Global Services and Resource Management Software, who went on further to talk about what they thought was this "friction" in IT. He said although computing had made big strides, there was too much friction in the information being created and the users that wanted to consume it.

He said that the change to information centric computing would be a complete change from the application centric computing that still dominated today.

"Virtualisation, SOA, Web 2.0 type services, this type of application and infrastructure breaks our information management tools we have today," said Elias.

"But it does give us a tremendous opportunity to think about ways of doing this that our much more productive."

Elias looked at a simple everyday example of a mash-up combining different information sources. It was of the popular online community Craigslist, with its list of flats and houses advertised, overlaid on Google Maps.

"The designers of the Google Maps didn't know that some user down the road was going to put apartment spaces on this map. The designers of Craigslist didn't know that somebody would want to do this," Elias said.

"But the fact is, we do this every single day. It's a very small and powerful example of how we want to utilise, consume, collaborate and bring together disparate information resources for a particular purpose at a particular time."

Tucci and Elias also talked about the automation of the data centre, where managers would understand every single part of the IT service process, such as the design of a particular section of the infrastructure and the service you wanted the infrastructure to deliver. To automate the data centre these would be mapped out, connecting people, processes and technology.