Page Two

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-07-11 Print this article Print

Kevin Wilson, what does 2010 look like from your perspective?

Wilson: I did two things when thinking about 2010. The first thing I did was look back five years, just to see how far we had come. That puts you back into Y2K, and the world is still spinning around.

Since then, spam has cropped up and created work for us, viruses have propagated and deepened through different avenues that we didnt anticipate.

In looking back, I saw a lot of external forces that influenced what we were doing, as opposed to going into directions of our own choosing. So, I have to think that, by 2010, well probably be pushed into places that were not even aware of.

Do you think its almost unforgivable hubris to think we can plan for another five years, because look at all the things that happened in the last five years that we could not have anticipated?

Wilson: Its that the world computing infrastructure changed as a whole, not just our internal corporate structure.

When you think about world infrastructure, do you find yourself thinking about any possibilities, if not probabilities, over the next five years as things that might affect you?

Wilson: I see that there may be more isolation. Were open now, but I see a lot of companies really controlling how information comes in and goes out. If it gets too chaotic out there, we may lock ourselves back more.

You think there might be more interest in ways of not being on the public Internet after weve spent the last five years aggressively getting onto it?

Wilson: Thats possible. Instead of opening up for everybody, you open it up for the authorized people, your established partners. Maybe the world is a big spider web of virtual networks instead of a big, open highway.

How are you preparing for that now? For example, are you increasing your use of VPN technologies so that you can have more control over who can connect to what?

Wilson: Were starting to look at network access controls that now just control what devices get on our network. ... It could be that you have to have access to get outside the company.

Kevin Baradet, does the academic environment recycle every four years, or does it evolve in a more continuous way than that?

Baradet: Were operating here more like the e-business world. The university has decided to abide by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, even though as a private entity it doesnt have to, and thats starting to drive the way we look at things. Were also starting to pull systems off the "big I" Internet wherever possible ... especially if systems have student or employee information on them that really has no need to be exposed to the outside world.

Taking advantage of Kevin Wilsons idea of looking back five years to see how much hes been surprised, do any things come to mind in terms of thinking out of the box when you look ahead at the next five years?

Baradet: Not too much at the moment. I see a lot of whats old becoming new again—the rise of the virtual machine and the fact that were looking at paring down the number of physical boxes by buying somewhat more powerful ones and then combining functions through [virtual server technology].

So the new mainframe is a big box pretending to be a lot of PCs?

Baradet: More large servers. Were also looking at virtualizing some of the PCs for some of our teaching laboratories, which are physically constrained by the number of seats in them, and especially as we expand programs to students who are not physically on campus for probably 90 percent of their teaching time.

Next page: The government standpoint.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel