Tug of war
Its a tug of war
What with one thing and another
Its a tug of war
McCartney wrote Tug of War he was referring to the creative give and
take that characterised the most successful songwriting partnership in the history
of popular music Lennon/McCartney. He could very well have been writing about
the relationship of standards and innovation.
Innovation by its very nature is unpredictable and is widely regarded as the
spur for economic growth. Then you have standards that bring to mind years of
committee meetings that end up with agreement on what usually ends up being
a minimal subset rather than a superset of competing innovations.
Yet, without standards enterprise computing wouldnt exist in the form
that we know it. So how is corporate IT to rationalise this dichotomy between
standards and innovation?
Most CIOs elect to be pragmatic. They prefer to play it safe and wait till the
genie of innovation is bottled and standardised for mass consumption. That said,
many a time demand for a particular feature is so strong that even before it
becomes a standard, adoption is widespread.
Take the case of the 4 GB memory barrier on 32-bit x86 hardware. Long before
AMD came up with the Opteron and launched the x86-64 era, server vendors like
Compaq and Dell were using ServerWorks chipsets to breach the 4 GB limit. So
its not the fact that x86-64 can access 64 GB of memory thats worth
mentioning. What is significant is the fact that the extra memory addressability
is done in a standardised manner.
Standardisation can spell the difference between success and
failure. Take the case of iSCSI which languished initially till the standard
was ratified. Once version two of iSCSI was approved, IP SANs based on this
technology began to mushroom. In the case of Cat 7, delays in standardisation
have led to Cat 6e emerging and now it seems doubtful if Cat 7 will take off
any time in the near future. Then there is 802.11n, a technology with the potential
to change the rules of the game.Once it gets ratified, it promises Wi-Fi speeds
as high as 600 Mbps. One of the biggest deterrents to Wi-Fi adoption (other
than security which the technology aims to address) is speed, or lack thereof.
These are just three of the technologies that we have profiled in this issue
most of which are standards with the rest getting there in 2006. I leave you
with in-depth features on ten technologies that cover everything from storage
to networking, hardware to enterprise softwareits all there in the
latest edition of TechScope.
Prashant L Rao
Head of Editorial Operations