In the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of perusing many different perspectives on the future of the IT industry, a topic I raised several issues ago when I introduced the New Data Center concept. This week, I want to share a really well-written, well-thought-out perspective from a longtime Vortician. I think you will enjoy, and profit from, his perspective."And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm,\u00a0 in the heart of the furnace roar;\u00a0 And he wore a smile you could see a mile,\u00a0 and he said: 'Please close that door.\u00a0 It's fine in here, but I greatly fear\u00a0 you'll let in the cold and storm --\u00a0 Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee,\u00a0 it's the first time I've been warm'."From The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert ServiceDear Vorticians,As I write, New England is enduring the icy ire of Old Man Winter. This morning, my car thermometer registered -8 degrees (and that's on the traditional Fahrenheit scale), a new personal record. On top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire - at over 6,000 feet, the highest spot east of the Mississippi - the temperature was -44 degrees, with a hurricane-class wind chill of -100 degrees. To think, last week I traipsed around Silicon Valley where it was 74 degrees and sunny. As one colleague asked today: "Tell me again, why do we live here?"Right now, it's tough to answer that question regarding my physical location. But I know why I live in this virtual world of VORTEX Digest - because I get to share the ether with all you smart people. (Sucking up is always a good strategy for a speaker or author. It builds rapport with the audience, no?)In the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of perusing many different perspectives on the future of the ITindustry, a topic I raised several issues ago when I introduced the New Data Center concept.This week, I want to share a really well-written, well-thought-out perspective from a longtime Vortician. I think you will enjoy, and profit from, his perspective. Also, I want to encourage you once again to a) let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org and b) let me know if you would like a copy of the New Data Center white paper - same address.For your consideration, I offer the views of Bill Baker, serial entrepreneur and founder of Beehive Wireless. Bill not only shows off hard-won insights here, but proves that he pays attention during my carefully constructed conferences."John, you are definitely asking the right question - what do we call the next era in IT? - but I respectfully disagree with the assumption that somehow the data center is at the core of this new computing epoch. In fact, the data center is the effect and not the cause."During his debate with John Patrick at Vortex '03, Vortician Peter Bernstein uttered two simple, yet brilliant, words, that in my opinion define the next era of computing (and the need for this evolving IT stuff): 'VIRTUAL ME.' This is not an updated Al Franken philosophy, but a real evolution in human-to-information interaction. Beehive has its own definition: Pervasive Broadband, but I like Peter's term; it is not technology-focused, its focus is the end user."To date, we (the end users) have existed only to serve computing; having to learn new operating system versions every year or so, new 'standard' interfaces, ever-evolving phy-layer technologies, 'revolutionary' next-generation marchitectures, not to mention the seemingly endless supply of protocol acronyms. And the data center has just blindly supported this 'enslaved computing' concept for a better part of two decades. Please note that I absolutely do appreciate the value of computing and its relationship to productivity, but it just has been too damn difficult. Thus, this quiet revolution is indeed a much-needed change. Why?"Because even after two decades, most end users still feel like visitors in a strange land, not speaking the language. As an immigrant, I can tell you that can be extremely frustrating. Ever notice that when MIS guys talk to end users they tend to raise their voices, just like well-meaning indigents trying to help a foreigner withdirections. No matter how smart, one just looks and feels stupid."That's why I believe the evolving data center and its underlying infrastructure is not and should not be the focus of our discussion; it plays a supporting role. As we say in Hollywood, the end user should get top billing, not the data center. In fact, there is a good analogy here; Just like the data center, the role of the studio has changed and evolved a great deal over the past few years with the introduction of digital cameras, special effects, 'virtual actors', etc. Not for the sake of change and evolution, but rather for the enriched viewing experience of its end-user market."Looking in retrospect, we have had 'The Year of the LAN,' 'The Year of the WAN,' 'The Year of the Router, 'The Year of the Switch,' 'The Year of the Application' (remember IBM's APPI), 'The Year of VoIP,' 'The Wireless Year' (or decade), The 'Year of the . . . ' and it seems we are now trying for 'The Year of the New Data Center.' To the best of my recollection we have never had 'The Year of the End User.'\u00a0"Which is why Peter's two little words hit a big nerve with me. It is what we have all been looking for; a computing infrastructure that serves ME and not the other way around. A computing infrastructure that knows who I am, where I am, the type of device(s) I use, what I need, and gets it to me. A self-healing, self-discovery network\/computing infrastructure that 'feels' what I need and provides it: services, information, entertainment, whatever I need - it provides, INSTANTLY!!! At work, at home, on the airplane, at Starbucks, anywhere and EVERYWHERE.\u00a0 And if the data center needs to evolve to support this, so be it, but that's more information than I need to know. As the slogan goes, just do it!"One look at the Youth Market and how quickly it adopts new applications should dispel any trepidation on the part of IT managers struggling with this evolution. EVOLVE or DIE!!! should be the new data center mantra. Support new and compelling services and applications and the money will flow to data centers, studios, vendors, etc., and whatever else support the value chain, but the originating point is still the end user, hence my argument.Having said that, perhaps it's time for David Isenberg, yet another smart and insightful Vortician, to update his write-up to: 'The Fall of the Stupid Network and the Subsequent Rise of the Touchy-Feely Network.' Ahhh, the real benefits of IT servitude and the elimination of computing bondage. Now that's exciting!"Bill, thanks.That's it for now. Please weigh in at email@example.com.Bye.