So, what Star Trek, stupid terminals, voice recognition, cloud computing, Windows Server 2008 R2, application virtualization, vhd files and green computing have in common? Well, first I have to explain Star Trek thing, and then everything will fall in place.
If you take a look at computer core (Enterprise NX-01 in this case), you will notice that it is the size of a large data canter room of today. Server core used on Voyager and Enterprise star ships is the size of a single door wardrobe. Yet it controls all aspects of a space ship, and most important of all it is controlled by voice recognition.
Microsoft was one of the companies that developed their own voice recognitions software, and tried to sell it as best way to control your operating system and applications, but as all other companies that tried the same, the project basically died for personal computers but continued to live on server products such as Exchange and OCS.
Today, server operating systems are becoming more and more stripped off. Windows Server Core comes with no GUI, and the only way to control it is command line or other servers that have GUI. Services and applications must be manually installed, so no unnecessary software is enlarging our security footprint. Operating systems can be booted from SAN, thus removing the need of having disks in servers. Operating system can stop processor cores and slow them down to preserve electric power and in that way save us money. There is only question of time when we will be able to choose our own set of services and applications and even maybe third party GUI to use with our Core Windows installation.
We as administrator have tools to install applications on servers and push them to clients (Terminal Services), we can even stream applications to clients so they are executed on client but not installed on them (App-V, ex. SoftGrid).
There are “clouds” of data (SkyDrive) and services (Microsoft Azure) flying around. One of them is Microsoft’s own SkyDrive. You get 25 GB of free space somewhere on MS server. 25 GB!!! How many users of SkyDrive are there? Where is it all stored? What about our privacy? Well, I keep lots of data on SkyDrive, but none of it is business critical or private data. I use it to store documents and PPTX files and to share them with my students. In a couple of years, who knows…
Now, when you add that all up what do you get?
You get, a computer that does not have its own disk but rather boots from “cloud”, after booting process finishes, all your applications are streamed to you also from the “cloud” and all your data is in the “cloud”. Of course, to make the new computer as mobile as possible, there will be no keyboard, all will be voice controlled, and solar powered.
And people will now say that I live in clouds? 🙂