When you combine a Xeon with a DC SSD you end up with a different machine. As mentioned elsewhere, Intel is shifting towards making their Xeon line of processors more available in laptops. That will greatly improve certain activities on a computer. Continued miniaturization of data center class SSD could deliver yet another speed up. Intel’s Ultrabook design may be the dominant form factor for most machines for office level and moderately intense workloads. Future versions may approach thickness no higher than a slice of cheese. More intense workloads will still need a higher end machine such as the HP ZBook but with a Xeon processor. As 2016 approaches, work on 3D XPoint will see a new storage technology that make even more of a difference in high-speed machines.
A reminder that the world of hardware is not just Intel, AMD, or ARM. Sometimes we forget. IBM has an outstanding solution in the form of ultra powerful, super secure hardware. An article on Ars Technica explains the new hardware offering from IBM and the press release from IBM has plenty of substantive details. You may also note in the comments to the Ars Technica article some interesting comparisons between IBM and standard servers. Overall, a good introduction to the possibilities.
Part of IBM’s plan with this technology seems to be to unleash Linux in corporate data centers. A case can be made that their solution could cost less, be more secure, and offer far greater capacity to conduct business intelligence, reporting, financial transaction processing, and detailed but time sensitive calculations. On the side, you can run standard web applications, websites, and data feeds to mobile. All in a much smaller physical space compared to legions of interlinked standalone servers.
An approach to computer security exists where you have two machines. Machine #1 is your main machine, #2 is your Internet machine. The problem has been affordability and desk space. Is it convenient having two machines on your desk? Can you live with a sneakernet approach to file transfer? I talk about both of these issues and the general topic in more detail in a blog post from a few days ago.
What I did not expect was the announcement of the Dell Chromebook. Although I have not seen one in person, the description of the machine reveals a solid specification. The machine is designed for those who use the Web for all their tools. Streaming video, email, writing documents in Google Docs, news, chatting, social networks, online games, and touching up photos using specialized websites.
Amazon may have their own service that seems to compete with Netflix but their AWS service exposes something more fundamental. When it comes to video delivery, the product isn’t the technology, it is the access and the experience. Rather, the concrete definition of a technology company is shown to be more elusive than at first realized. This is made more clear in the news that Netflix is closing their last in-house data center. The video streaming business is about access and experience. Meanwhile, Amazon’s infrastructure business continues to add to the practice of IT where use of technology may evolve into the proper utilization of a Google Chromebook.
I have thought about solid ways to operate safe online. Changes in the computer market will greatly expand on an existing option to produce an opportunity to get more secure. It started with advice I heard about involving two separate laptops. I probably read it on an internet forum. I thought the idea was attributed to Bruce Schneier but a search on the Web did not reveal such statements from him. However, a write-up on this approach is on CNet from 2011 and basically gives an overview of the idea.
Here’s the problem. A few years ago, this approach was too expensive for most of us. Things have changed.
You have a laptop or desktop. You do things on it. Even if those things are simple, boring things, the idea of even a casual breach of your environment isn’t the most inspiring idea in the world. When you are conducting activity online, you tend to want to contain any spill over effect from the reset of your computer.
Netbooks, Chromebooks, and CloudBooks
It starts with Google Chromebook. This is an Internet computer you can use to surf the Web. The environment is more locked down so it has the least amount of unintentional spill over from a breach. Before Chromebook, you had what was called netbooks. Offered the same opportunity. Today, there are many 11″ machines at a low-cost that offer you the ability to use them in a way similar to a Chromebook. A dedicated Web computer.
Around the corner are CloudBooks. Whatever they are called, these machines offer people an opportunity to have two computers. Your main computer is you do a lot of things offline. The second computer is where the data you choose meets the Internet.
Whatever IBM sold to Lenovo 5 years ago has apparently given the company considerable momentum in the design of their machines. Sometimes the terms workstation, computer, and PC are used to mean the same thing. Workstation is a specific term for a specific kind of computer. A workstation is a high professional class computer at the furthest end of the personal computing classification. As far as hardware, workstations are the best class of computer for an individual. A market will exist for these machines for the foreseeable future.
Intel chips provide a very good solution for laptop, desktop, and server technology. The desktop version of the 6th generation Intel reviewed on Ars Technica comes with great screenshots of nice ASUS motherboards and M.2 Samsung SSD storage. The article discusses many favorable things regarding the 6th generation Intel processors and is a good starting point to see the continued advances in a certain area of technology.
I think consumer and corporate level information technology may take a turn because of the way hardware is evolving.