Recently released to great acclaim, the film “The Imitation Game” celebrates the victory of ingenuity over brutality and, of course, the birth of the computer age under the guidance of Alan Turing. Some 30 years after those events at Bletchley Park, Tracy Kidder penned “The Soul of a New Machine”. This Pulitzer Prize winner charts the trials, tribulations and ultimate triumph of a team of engineers racing to build a new class of minicomputer that would challenge the IT industry hegemony of the mainframe.
Over the subsequent 34 years to the present day, Moore’s Law (that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years) has been proven – and then some. Back in the Kidder-era, the UK government saw fit to inspect and register the use of the computing behemoths made by the US firm Cray. So powerful were these machines that the government felt obliged to keep tabs on them as matter of national security. Today we all carry around the equivalent computing capability. They’re called tablets and smartphones.
But the iPad and its Android driven competitors are so much more than portable computing power. They are part of a platform. This platform lets us humans make simple and practical use of the flow of electricity through dense transistors. We download apps that can do things from the most trivial to life preserving. We connect to the Internet and to each other easily – almost without thinking. We don’t need to worry about how the computer is helping us live a better life. We just keep focussed on living.
Meanwhile, there are businesses the world over that have to put a great deal of thought into their computing. They too need to download apps from the cloud that perform predictably and so help their employees be more efficient and their business processes run better. They use the internet for doing business. They must have quality, rich communications between employees, suppliers and customers. When all this comes together securely, efficiently and globally, then they can get focused on growth.
But no one has come up with the smartphone/tablet equivalent platform for business – one that lets them deploy apps from the cloud across the business, almost without thinking.
And no single entity ever will. The smartphone/tablet experience is created by an ecosystem of firms who all contribute to the platform to make it work. And so for a similar experience in business a similar ecosystem is required. However, the smartphone/tablet experience is underpinned by the “best efforts” public Internet and that presents two problems for business users: security and predictability.
If an equivalent ecosystem for business can address these issues then we are getting close to “computing without thinking.” It makes sense, therefore, that while the smartphone/tablet ecosystem is focussed on the device (iPad or Android), the business equivalent will have the network at its epicentre.
This is the thinking behind IZO a new network platform for the cloud era. IZO is an ecosystem of Internet Service Providers, cloud service providers and Tata Communications’ intercontinental Internet backbone infrastructure. Today, this infrastructure carries over a quarter of the world’s internet traffic.
By agreeing to encrypt and pre-determine the route of their mutual customers’ traffic, this ecosystem can offer their business customers the secure, predictable performance of virtual private networks provisioned on the public internet as well as cloud services delivered over it. For example, IZO customers can enjoy network performance “round trip” SLAs to, from and within China at just 20 milliseconds.
Until someone makes a movie or writes an award winning book about it, you can find out more about IZO at: www.tatacommunications.com/izo.
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