The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

The Industrial Cloud Revolution

Posted by riverbedtest on August 12, 2011

Does anyone else miss writing those high school history papers? You know, the ones that all start “With the Industrial Revolution came widespread change across the economic, political and social fabric of western civilization…” Blah, blah, blah. Anyone? Anyone?

Not so much, eh? Okay, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve flown solo in the history-nerd department.

But the reason the Industrial Revolution was such a great opener for many a high-school history paper was that it really did transform the economics of production, which had wide-reaching implications for modern civilization. Production went from small-scale, localized, cottage-industry to large-scale, concentrated production centers benefiting from economies of scale and scope. Various innovations, from the flying shuttle to the assembly line, were instrumental in creating the efficiencies of industrial revolution factories, but at the end of the day, creating more products, more quickly wasn’t worth much unless you had exposure to enough customers to buy them. In other words, you had to get all those products to market.

Enter the steam engine. With a steam-powered railway infrastructure, industrialized manufacturers could get their products to more markets, faster.  Which is a good thing when you just churned out more pairs of pants in a year than everyone in a hundred mile radius could wear in their combined lifetimes.

So, why am I going off about steam engines and the Industrial Revolution? Well, here in IT land, we’re having a bit of an Industrial Revolution redux. Virtualization has enabled IT administrators to consolidate servers and gain economies of scale, and companies like Amazon, Rackspace and AT&T are beginning to offer basic IT services on-demand, passing on even GREATER economies of scale. But all the cheaper, on-demand compute and storage in the world isn’t worth much if you can’t get the product (applications) to market (users).

We need a steam engine for the cloud revolution. Oh, wait! WAN optimization has proven to accelerate network-based applications by reducing bandwidth consumption and the impact of latency. Choo-choo!! Layer on network performance monitoring (who’s keeping track of all these trains?), web content optimization (how are we loading these products on the trains?), and application delivery controllers (what train is going where, when?) and you have yourself the speed and intelligence for a high-performance cloud delivery system.

All aboard!

Extra credit: Join Amazon Web Services Senior Evangelist, Jeff Barr, and me on August 17 for a webinar on how to optimize your cloud server deployments. Register here!

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