There will likely be an assortment of meshes

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-03-10 Print this article Print

The mesh as I see it (and as backed up by some of my smarter friends) is basically the notion that there exists a vast group of devices that are somehow connected, sharing information and applications. The information is stored in many places, synchronized and shared through the network. Processing occurs both locally and remotely or "in the cloud." The information can pass from device to device without passing back through the hub, or Web. And this is why it's called a mesh and not the standard hub-and-spoke system that most computing, including software-as-a-service, is built on today, said a friend of mine.

Moreover, in a true mesh, data is just data, and processing occurs where it needs to occur, be it remotely, locally or both.

And while Ozzie speaks broadly of a device mesh in a Microsoft-sponsored world, there will likely be an assortment of meshes, both proprietary and "open," if you will.

As an example: The protocol from a user's iPhone to his PC is through iTunes-a proprietary protocol. And the applications are written to a proprietary API set and iTunes itself is a proprietary network. But the device can still send data that an application on the user's Windows Mobile device can work with, which will come through their Exchange/ActiveSync connection. As long as there are gateways, it doesn't matter. That is the device mesh at work.

And while it is still very early days for this concept and pioneers are taking the lead, it is likely that a lot of fuss will be made over the proprietary nature of this or that network or device. As long as the protocols and file formats can be converted, that is about as relevant as what weight paper you type your resume on.

Jeremy Burton, CEO of Serena Software, said the platform shift to SOAs (service-oriented architectures) and Web services "allows you to have a standard way to interoperate and also it allows the location of an application (or services) to be irrelevant-on-premise, in the cloud, who cares? I think Microsoft realizes that for it to own the new world, it has to be in control of the standards that link [or mesh] this new world together. If these standards are all open, and everyone can write to them, then that would be bad for Microsoft. ... They potentially could be marginalized and their services swapped out for something else."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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