A Look Back Before Moving Forward and the Phenomenon of “_aaS”Posted by George Karidis in Executive Blog, Introductions, Technology
Hi! I’m George, one of the newest additions to the SoftLayer team. I joined the company for a few reasons:
- The People – one of the best teams that I have ever met, and now, have the pleasure of working with
- Vision – as someone recently said, how often do you get a chance for a “do over” without being Bill Murray in Groundhog Day?
- Industry – how cool is it to be able to play with new technology and help shape the way people will do business
- Acronyms and Buzzwords – as anyone that has worked in the telecom or technology industries can attest, this is the best place to be if you want to assemble new words based simply on the first letter of each.
Even before the Internet, (did that time really exist?), telecom hardware vendors, service providers and others in this little universe loved to create acronyms to make technology sound complicated. And of course, it created employment for thousands of people, which according to many of those techies, offered no real value, to help translate all of this into something that the consumer and investment community would buy… Welcome to the world of marketing in the Internet Age!
One thing that all of these people that came to be known as “Gurus” or an even buzzier buzzword – Evangelists – learned was to standardize on at least part of the acronym. Out of this concept was born:
- _AN (G, L, M, S, W)
- _EO (G, L, VL, S)
- _DSL (H, A, S, V)
- _SP (A, M, S)
- _2_ (B2B, B2C, P2P, M2M)
And each of these led to spin-off acronyms, like DSLAM, FRAD, ATM (the network not the cash machine), and my favorite – BE – which said a lot about what we were all doing back then. Acronyms became the patents of the original dot.com era (which we did not actually call Web 1.0, but more on that later). Of course, we also learned different naming systems and adjusted the English language to suit this purpose. Capitalization rules were thrown out along with the baby and bathwater. Capitals now appeared in the middle of all company names (yes, we even did it here…) and products thanks to another phenomenon of the era – the mandatory use of compound words.
Best of all, the digital age gave birth to an industry designed to make all of us look like techies – the acronym dictionary. Many of the generation that graduated into the telecom and Internet revolution of the early 1990s (including yours truly) built careers on the ability to string acronyms together to define the future of networking and ultimately, life. The common toolkit for all of us: Newton’s Telecom Dictionary and a fluffy cloud graphic from the MS Office clip art files – that was generally used by “advanced” gurus and not something to be thrown around by anyone with less than 12 months of experience in the dot.com trenches.
The web generation also taught the masses about versions and a fundamental rule in software: avoid buying version 1.0 and never launch a product called version 0. Even the web generation of telecom -mobile carriers – figured this one out. 3G has long been touted as the utopia of communications, but we had to get through 2.5G first. Never mind that v1 and v2 seemed to actually work. Thus, versioning took its rightful place at the left-hand of acronyms.
Jumping ahead a decade or so, we are now firmly in the grips of Web 2.0 and a new set of buzzwords and acronyms. If you don’t have an avatar living on a virtual street in a virtual world that spends virtual time stuck in virtual traffic driving to a virtual job, you probably are like me – part of the 1.0 generation. I too used an Apple IIe in school, but for me it was grade 10, not grade 1! And then there was the Newton which did not exactly fit into a palm, but that story will have to wait…
Like all things, buzzwords and acronyms have evolved as well. We are now using words like “grid”, “utility” and “always on” to reflect the way we are connected and work. And of course we all need to be Irish for more than 1 day per year. Don’t get me wrong. SoftLayer agrees that green is good. We have turned our facilities green in search of the “green”. Basically, we believe the best way to help our customers with access to technology on a real-time basis is by being as operationally efficient as possible. So, we have forced ourselves to be “green” in everything that we do. But, I digress…
My favorite current acronym root is “_aaS”. We can thank the failure of ASP (part of Web 1.5) and its lesser known cousin – AIP – to catch on for this latest iteration. The good news is that almost everything that we can think of can be called an “X as a Service”. Our internal top 10 list includes:
- Architecture as a Service
- Communication as a Service
- Data Center as a Service
- Hardware as a Service
- Network as a Service
- Platform as a Service
- Software as a Service
- Storage as a Service
- Virtualization as a Service
- Widgets as a Service (the favorite of our Starbucks fan)
I know we would all like to see Service as a Service, but that may need to wait until Web 4.0 when we have all been virtualized. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes next. Given our place in the universe, I think that SoftLayer will have some influence and that’s why I’m here…