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Wozniak's Predictions For 2013: the Data Center, Mobility and Beyond

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the future-is-now dept.

Cloud 70

Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech icon Steve Wozniak has come forward with several predictions for 2013, with data center technologies an important part of the list. Wozniak's predictions are based on a series of conversations he had recently with Brett Shockley, senior vice president and general manager of applications and emerging technologies at Avaya. They trace an arc from the consumer space up through the enterprise, with an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon: Woz believes that mobile devices will eventually become the 'remote controls,' so to speak, of the world. Although he's most famous as the co-founder of Apple, Wozniak currently serves as chief scientist at Fusion-io, a manufacturer of enterprise flash storage for data centers and other devices."

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70 comments

Are we a little early? (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317379)

First IBM's predictions, now Woz's. Arent you suppost to get the crysal balls out after Christmas?

BTW, there's little if any in TFA that isn't in TFS. Very short FA that can be boiled down to "data center."

Re:Are we a little early? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317455)

It's never too early to make wild-assed guesses which may or may not come true. :-P

Re:Are we a little early? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317659)

They should move this dumb tradition to the beginning of April. And speaking of dumb predictions, all of my dumb predictions last year [slashdot.org] came out to be true, even if there was a brain-fart of a typo; I meant Pirate Party, not Pirate Bay.

Re:Are we a little early? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42320991)

It's never too early to make wild-assed guesses which may or may not come true

Companies having increased friction with workers using their own devices in lieu of IT's take-it-or-leave it options? This isn't much of a wild-ass guess. If you want to see how it will pan out, read about the mainframe vs desktop PC battle of the 1980s. It's just history repeating itself.

Re:Are we a little early? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42317475)

Nothing about taste and smell? WTF, Woz!?

Re:Are we a little early? (1, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317553)

A guess can be pulled out of your ass at any time.

Re:Are we a little early? (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318379)

The world is ending Thursday night/Friday morning, so they can trot out the predictions early this year.

Re:Later is better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318701)

Prediction is very hard, especially about the future/quote?

Yogi Berra

Re:Are we a little early? (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318731)

I decorated the tree with crystal balls

One thing for sure (4, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317441)

More Law Suits ahead. That's my prediction.

Re:One thing for sure (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317593)

I'm calling it right now ... more cowbell!

Re:One thing for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42317655)

Moore's Law Suits?

Re:One thing for sure (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317911)

More Law Suits ahead...

Pinstriped Armani or Brooks Brothers?

Oh, you mean... Lawsuit.

But yes, you are correct. I think that patent lawsuits will eventually paralyze "innovation" and all that will be left are a dozen or so mega-corporations with huge patent portfolios and incetuous relationships with the other mega-corps.

Re:One thing for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318409)

ObKITH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLWiWEnOtwE

Re:One thing for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318635)

I'm taking it to be a pun on Moore's Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law
And i shall downvote accordingly.

Anonymous Coward's Top Five Predictions For 2013 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42317459)

1. Apple will release a slightly updated version of the iPad and iPhone and they're consumers will eat it up, though to a lesser extent than in the past.

2. Rumors of Microsoft releasing Windows 9 ahead of expected schedule, due to tepid Windows 8 take up.

3. Facebook will further adjust their usury policies to increase revenues from the product of its users.

4. A new website/service will be announced and people will react like it is the second coming, for about two months before it fades to black.

5. U.S. taxes will increase significantly for all and the government will begin issuing near abusive regulatory edits.

Re:Anonymous Coward's Top Five Predictions For 201 (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318087)

I was with you when I read #1.. then you went out on a limb and started guessing with 2-5. Here's a real prediction: at the end of 2013, things will be mostly the same as they are now. Yes, there will be some minor changes to the world -- but lets get real: it's 12 months.

Re:Anonymous Coward's Top Five Predictions For 201 (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318279)

6. People will continuously make the same annoying mistakes with their words using "they're" when they clearly should have used "their".

Re:Anonymous Coward's Top Five Predictions For 201 (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42323207)

At Gamedev.net someone also just started a discussion Predictions About the Future of Gaming [gamedev.net] .

Re:Anonymous Coward's Top Five Predictions For 201 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42326845)

2. Rumors of Microsoft releasing Windows 9 ahead of expected schedule, due to tepid Windows 8 take up.

It will implement an innovative new Start button!

Breaking News (5, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317559)

Chief scientist at company that supplies data centres predicts rise in data centres.

Re:Breaking News (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317701)

Froggy voice: Lord Datacenter, RISE!
Lord Datacenter: What...about...Corporate computers?
Groggy voice: I'm afraid you and BYOD killed them.
Lord Datacenter: NOOOOOooooooooo.........

Re:Breaking News (1)

QuincyDurant (943157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318163)

If Wozniak's new job has turned his mind to data centers, that should surprise no one. But it's fatuous to think that he's acting as some sort of corporate flack.

Re:Breaking News (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42319101)

It may be silly, but the modders think its +5 Funny

I predict (4, Insightful)

ozduo (2043408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317625)

That in the next two weeks there will be hundreds of inept predictions, wishful thinking, and a couple of accurate predictions.

Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42317683)

I think Woz did more for Apple than Jobs. Yes, Jobs could code and such but he generally was better at making things pretty and usable in terms of vision...Woz did the heavy lifting.

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318127)

No, Jobs couldn't code. He wasn't very technical at all.

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42323231)

Confirmed, I've seen in a keynote Jobs to type in some code and says "I don't know what I'm doing". In other one, he jokes about improved CPU branch prediction as "I don't know what that does -- predicts branches?"

Maybe some Apple geek can point to the particular clips in YouTube. :)

Woz said Jobs did not code: (3, Informative)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318585)

From Woz's blog: "Steve didn't ever code [woz.org] . He wasn't an engineer and he didn't do any original design, but he was technical enough to alter and change and add to other designs. I did all of the Apple I and Apple ][ myself, including the feature choices. I did all of the BASIC myself (it's in handwriting as I couldn't afford an assembler). The only person who helped write some of the Apple ][ code was Allen Baum, who helped with the 'monitor' program."

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42319523)

I think Woz did more for Apple than Jobs. Yes, Jobs could code and such but he generally was better at making things pretty and usable in terms of vision...Woz did the heavy lifting.

Depends what you value more - being able to see raw talent and nurture it (Jobs) or having talent (Woz).

Woz is a great engineer. However, he wasn't very social and more than likely, had it not been for Jobs, he would've been working away at HP's calculator division through and through. Woz loved HP and didn't consider leaving (in fact, it was the hardest single decision he made to resign from HP).

Jobs could talk the walk - he was the one who could talk to customers and suppliers and get orders in for the Apple I. Heck, he was the one who got Woz the DRAMs necessary for the Apple I (even sweet-talking Intel into sampling some). Woz at the time was incredibly shy - he wouldn't dare pick up the phone, call a component supplier and ask for parts he couldn't afford to buy. Jobs could.

Jobs and Woz like the yin and yang - complete opposites, yet completely complementary. What Woz lacked, Jobs had. What Jobs lacked, Woz had.

Engineers favor Woz naturally because he was the technical guy behind it all - without Woz, Apple wouldn't have existed. On the flip side, it was Jobs who managed to make it a business - Woz was happy to sell circuit boards and everything to hobbyists, while Jobs was the one who wanted to sell complete assemblies to everyone. Without Jobs' social talent, Woz would have continued designing calculators for HP, the Apple I board being just a mere curiosity and probably just a footnote in the history of computers. Had the two not get together it's likely the technology field as we know it would be completely different. The only thing I can't tell you is if we would be better or worse off, though. Woz and Jobs would've just been regular no-names in the field, though

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42322063)

re: "the technology field as we know it would be completely different"
.
Yes and no. There would be a different balance of powers. But I'm willing to bet that there would have been some other one or two or three person company that would instead have become the leader in supplying personal computers. And that other company would also probably have had a mix of creative talent and marketing/sales talent.
.
The converse of your specific example is also true. If Jobs hadn't teamed with Wozniak, perhaps Jobs might not have gotten as far in his life either. Or perhaps he would have found another partner to work with. Perhaps even Woz might have talked to someone else at HP who could have seen his talents and his electronic creations and a different company might have arisen near Sand Hill Drive.
.
As the song says, "Perhaps... Perhaps... Perhaps!"

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42326193)

re: "the technology field as we know it would be completely different"
.
  Yes and no. There would be a different balance of powers. But I'm willing to bet that there would have been some other one or two or three person company that would instead have become the leader in supplying personal computers. And that other company would also probably have had a mix of creative talent and marketing/sales talent.
.
The converse of your specific example is also true. If Jobs hadn't teamed with Wozniak, perhaps Jobs might not have gotten as far in his life either. Or perhaps he would have found another partner to work with. Perhaps even Woz might have talked to someone else at HP who could have seen his talents and his electronic creations and a different company might have arisen near Sand Hill Drive.

Well, one of Woz's claim to fame was the computer that had a local console and display. He built a terminal that cleverly used timing tricks to generate an ordinary NTSC signal so you could use a keyboard and a regular TV. The Apple I was then built to interface to this terminal. Add to that the necessary ROMs so you could interact instantly with the processor. Prior to this, the traditional form of computer interaction was to boot it using switches and punched tape to load the program into memory, then kick the processor into action. All Woz did was add a ROM chip and got the processor into a mode where you could type the code into memory - so what used to take an hour took 10 minutes.

And the Apple II continued the tradition - and ever since the Apple I, personal computers became even friendlier with built in displays and keyboards.

And yes, things will be different. Remember around this time Bill Gates - who was used to loading his BASIC interpreter into MIPS Altair via punched tape.

Of course, if computers remained hard to use, perhaps IBM wouldn't have entered the PC market, which means Microsoft wouldn't have been created and Gates would still be selling BASIC around.

It would be much different, since so many things got spawned off the early Apple I. (Jobs getting that first 100-unit order from the computer shop took a lot of skillful negotiation between suppliers who didn't believe Jobs+Woz had money (they didn't - Jobs would pick up the finished computers (then just a PCB at the time - you supplied the keyboard, power supply and TV) and drive them to the store to pick up the money which he they used to pay the suppliers). And the computer store only bought them because they were the closest to a "finished computer" almost anyone could own (putting it all in a case so the user could just take it out of the box, plug it in and connect to their TV - another Woz innovation)

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42333705)

wow! Thanks for all of the info. Where can I read more details like this? {besides here on /. ;>) . . .}

Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a year and a half ago | (#42327955)

The technology field would have been completely different? Within months of the Apple II, both Radio Shack and Commodore were selling computers that you could just buy, take home, plug a few things in (the TRS-80, anyway, don't remember if you needed to plug anything on the Commodore Pet), and run. These weren't cases of "Gee, Apple made something new, we should copy"; they were cases of "Gee, you can actually make a small computer that people can use now".

If there were no Apple, small home computer technology would have been delayed by months, which would have essentially no effect by now.

What Apple did was popularize the WIMP interface (I think the MS-DOS-based ones were generally inspired by the Lisa), revolutionize on-line sales of music, and redefine several things (smart phones, tablets) into great successes that other people copied. I don't think Woz was involved in that.

Re: Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (2)

Rational (1990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42320095)

Sorry, but... What exactly has Woz done since the Apple I? Serious question. I mean, Jobs only resurrected Apple, upended the music industry, reinvented the smartphone and turned tablets from a joke into the future of consumer-oriented computing. I know all these achievements pale before the glory of Segway Polo alone, but I'm sure there are many other notable things Woz has gifted the world with over the last 30 years that I'm just completely ignorant of. I eagerly await enlightenment.

Re: Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42321121)

Sorry, but... What exactly has Woz done since the Apple I?

The Apple II.

What exactly has Woz done since the Apple I? (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42322545)

You should look at his latest adventure - Fusion-io. If you don't know them now, you will soon. They've been hiring the principle developers of BTRFS and the Linux Block-io head guru. Super-accelerated big-data flash storage is what they are into. Cutting edge stuff.

More complexity, less stability... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42317697)

nuff said...

RE: Remote controls (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42317717)

Just give me X11 on android with multitouch xinput support.

Re: Remote controls (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318033)

Here [rot13.org] you go, although he shuts down the Android stack on his device I believe you could use the same method while running linux on Android using this [google.com] package. I haven't tried running X yet but I do run Debian on my phone, I got tired of the crappy tools on the stock Android cli.

Re: Remote controls (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42321953)

Unfortunately I have a tegra not omap. Still some work to be done for a native install on my tablet. I would however much prefer a working X11 server under android with full acceleration and multi-touch, nothing quite there yet.

Re: Remote controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42323993)

Technically it's bad practice to use words like "here" and "this" as hyperlink texts. It makes the text harder to read and the user has to hover over the link to see what it is about. Even worse if the page is printed. Instead, please bake them to the normal text so that their context is understandable even without the hyperlinks.

I'm not reading TFA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42317945)

They trace an arc from the consumer space up through the enterprise,...

"Consumer Space"?

Marketing lingo du jour; which means it's a waste of time .

No one knows what's going to happen. It may be the same old same old in '13 or someone comes up with something that takes off that none of the "smart" guys saw coming.

an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318079)

an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon

I have noticed the death of the PBX. The desk phones are now nearly unused at the megacorp I work at. If you know someone you use their personal cell phone number, and if you don't know them you need the CYA audit trail that only email can provide. So the desk phones get dusty.

They have actually started ripping out the phones here. We'll probably always have them for queue, call center, help desk, help line type situations but the day of every drone having a phone are already over where I work.

Rather than being issued a laptop to work at home, my wife was issued rdesktop credentials to use as she saw fit, and had borrowing privileges at the travel laptop pool when she travels. Where I work they still use clunky as heck VPNs but I'm sure they'll catch up with the times and switch to a rdesktop/vnc solution sooner or later.

IT no longer creates new "client server apps" they create "intranet sites" and how you access them is pretty much seen as your responsibility.

Re:an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318913)

You have no fucking idea about which you speak. Really. Stop stating opinion as fact, you're embarrassing yourself.

-cm

Re:an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#42322405)

Then your users are rather stupid and don't know the value of NOT giving out their phone number to people who can call them at any time.

If you are a friend, you call my phone. If you are work related, you call my office, which probably gets directed to my phone but you never call my phone directly.

Companies who allow their employees to use their own personal numbers are allowing their employees to take customers with them out the door. Its a really retarded idea. I suspect those companies won't stay around for long since its unlikely to be their only retarded idea.

Re:an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42322773)

"Stealing the company Rolodex" has been a phrase since... long before the cellular telephone.

Re:an interesting take on the BYOD phenomenon (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42324787)

Companies who allow their employees to use their own personal numbers are allowing their employees to take customers with them out the door.

LOL I'm talking about a huge megacorp not a 3 person web startup. I don't even personally know salespeople much less work directly with them. I would not be surprised if they're lumped in with the call center as having special telecom rules for special people.

"Stealing the rolodex" only works for certain size companies with certain size customers when job hopping inside a oligarchical non-geographical monopoly industry.

I suspect GM marketing dept already has a perfectly good list of Ford owners, and if I job hopped absolutely none of the customers would care. Of what possible use would a list of SBC landline customers be for Verizon? Corrupt .mil contractors pretty much by definition only have one customer and the winner is selected by political process, not rolodex.

I think you're a little too worried.

About to come full circle (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318249)

We are here partly due to the mass exodus away from 'ivory tower' client/server systems that started back in the 80s due people like Woz, but now we are running as fast as we can back to it.. With people like Woz riding shotgun with us..

Not that its a bad thing, as there are advantages to taking the user out of the 'systems management' part of the equation and handing it back over to the professionals.

I'd call it "ebb and flow" (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318325)

Between centralized and satellite computing over the decades. Cloud based services are swinging toward centralization again.

If Woz can so can I... (4, Interesting)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318633)

So here's my predictions for 2013:

1) Facebook is going to see it's user base decline. I suspect that many of the current accounts are fake, throwaway type accounts anyway. Full of fake birth dates, occupations and other such information attached to fake throwaway email accounts used for nothing other than signing up for Facebook. Sooner or later advertisers are going to catch on to this and stop wasting their time. Besides, Facebook is pissing everyone off with their intrusive privacy policies.
2) Tablets are going to become the new net books. In other words, cute and portable but ultimately not very useful. Just another expensive toy for bored, rich westerners.
3) Windows 8 is going to be a massive flop. Sure, the sales numbers will look good because it comes preinstalled on new PC's but user adoption will be poor. Windows 9 is going to look a lot like Windows 7.
4) HP is going to clean house. So long Meg.
5) SAAS (Software As A Service) is going to fizzle out. Salesforce will continue to do well though. Some things work well in a hosted environment (CRM for example), others not so well. Multi tenant architectures can save you money in the beginning but there are a lot of real limitations. You are sharing a database with other customers. You can't customize the software. Enterprise software will move back in house.
6) No contract phones will be the way to go. Smartphones are pretty much maxed out on features now. Why get a new one? Take your off contract phone to a no contract provider and start saving some serious money.
7) Factory in-car navigation systems will become obsolete. Too expensive to begin with and you have to update the maps (and pay again for that) every few years. Why bother when you've got Google maps on your phone for free? Simllarly, touch screen control centers in cars are going to go back to old fashioned knobs and dials. Touch screens are too distracting to use and difficult to see in direct sunlight. Maybe voice activation would be better - "Turn on the AC - 72 degrees".
8) The instant gas prices go back down below $2.50/gallon Americans are going to flock back to big hulking SUV's.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318999)

I agree with almost all of this, except for:

  • Tablets. These are not going anywhere, I think--we've finally hit the point where computing power, battery life, weight, etc have hit a "good enough" point and produced a genuinely useful, handy device. They will get lighter, and (once they are light enough and foldable) larger, and most people five years from now will not have a "PC" on the desktop.
  • Car interfaces. Nav systems are definitely obsolete (especially the "insert the DVD into the optical drive to use me" types), and these will go away over the next few years (but not THIS year--it will take a while for them to die). That said, while touch screens are suboptimal in cars, I expect to see more of them and not less. They're everywhere, and the lack of them will be seen as a cut-rate/budget/obsolescent option, and undesirable to most of the advertising influenced public.

Final thought: when did slashcode stop properly handling the <UL> and <OL> tags?

Re:If Woz can so can I... (0)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year and a half ago | (#42320017)

I'll admit to taking a bit of a gamble on the tablets but I really do see them as entertainment devices and not really necessary, especially if you have a good smartphone. Sure, you can browse with a tablet and tap out an email but some things are just better done with a keyboard.

Touch screens in cars are my pet peeve. The problem with touch screens in cars is that a) you don't get any feedback when you touch something (a click, a sound, something that tells you that you touched in the right place) b) you have to look at the screen the whole time c) they are poorly designed. Why should I have to scroll through 4 menus to set the AC? On my car I reach forward to the AC dial and turn it. I don't even have to look at it because I know where it is. When I turn the dial there are little clicks that let me know that it has engaged. In bright sunlight (and where I live the sun is out a lot) you simply cannot see the screen. Doesn't affect my old school dials one bit. When the BMW iDrive system came out it was universally derided. I have stepped into many a rental car with a touch screen and had to fiddle around with it to perform simple functions. Maybe it's just me but they seem unintuitive, clumsy and inconsistent. It's a solution looking for a problem.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42322829)

I've been working solidly for the past year developing in-house Android apps for auditing, training, product manuals, inspections etc etc. The enthusiasm and opportunity they create is something I haven't seen in the corporate arena for decades.

They're changing the way our business operates. They're not going away.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

majid_aldo (812530) | about a year and a half ago | (#42328417)

i think there might a standard coming up where you can plug in your phone and it becomes the nav on a bigger screen.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a year and a half ago | (#42320415)

SaaS seems way off base. Is there a particular SaaS market that you see fizzling out? All of the clients I deal with are in love with the SaaS model because they can outsource the risk and the cost of running the applications themselves.

I am a bit biased. The company I work for is doing very well with SaaS offerings and has seen revenue triple in the last two years with growth projections continuing that trend. We are also in a fairly niche market, with specific offerings targeted at a growing market.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year and a half ago | (#42322191)

I don't see SaaS as a viable option for Financials, HR, Supply Chain or Payroll. Those functions are just too critical to entrust to someone else to manage. It's fine to have someone host it for you because at least you can still customize it to fit your needs. As you point out, there are niche markets where SaaS will work just fine. But business critical apps like payroll and supply chain...I just don't see big companies handing that over.

I've been implementing Enterprise software for over 15 years and I have yet to see anyone implement a vanilla system with no customizations. Everyone talks about it at the beginning but in the end there are always customizations. I have worked with two SaaS products - Workday and Oracle CRM on Demand. Neither one provided any capability to customize the product in any way and I think that's a show stopper for many large corporations. Small or medium sized companies will find SaaS more appealing because of the initial cost savings.

There are a few questions that have never been answered satisfactorily for me. Perhaps you could shed some light:

1) Suppose you sign up with a SaaS vendor for a few years. Then you find out it doesn't suit your needs. How do you get your data (several years worth at this point) out of the system?
2) Data security is a big deal with HR and Financials systems. How can the vendor guarantee that your data is safe? They can't and I can't guarantee that my data is 100% secure in house either but at least I have control over how the data is secured.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a year and a half ago | (#42326953)

1) The systems I work with are niche like I said. We do electronic discovery. In that model, the systems are designed to get data out. During litigation, the data is forensically collected and then uploaded into the system for review. Once it is reviewed, it is produced and provided to counsel and the court. The applications themselves are COTS. The market is highly competitive and it is relatively easy to move data between vendors (provided they are using the same application). We also have a lot of custom SharePoint applications. Data in those systems is less portable, but due to the nature of litigation, most of it is only useful for the duration of the case. Again, the market is highly competitive and if people do not like our offering, there is nothing locking them in (other than familiarity with the solution). Believe me when I say that lawyers are a bunch of penny pinching, nit picking assholes. They are constantly looking for SLA slip ups and other slights, real or perceived, in order to negotiate fee reductions.

2) As you mentioned, in this day and age nobody can guarantee 100% data security. You take the appropriate measures, and validate those measures frequently. We deal with a lot of financial services companies and healthcare entities. As a third party provider, we are subject to the same regulations that they are. We take it very seriously, and spend stupid amounts of money on data security. Everything from physical security in the data centers (geographically dispersed, fully redundant), to encryption at rest on the SAN, encryption on the key database fields. To secure coding practices, regular code reviews by external security firms. Regular pen tests of the application, both internally and by third parties. Those tests are not just black box tests, but also test the system from the perspective of an authorized user trying to escalate privilege, etc. The list goes on and on... packet analysis, both ingress and egress. Privileged user monitoring. Token based authentication for employees as well as clients.

We probably have more control over our environment than you do over yours. Ours is a purpose built, isolated environment that has been designed to securely host one application. We do not have to worry about Joe the Sales Schmoe bringing his porn infected laptop into the office and connecting it to the network. We don't have to worry about Susy the Secretary clicking on some lolcats link and getting her box pwnd. We do not have to worry about the spear phishing attack that opens the network to the Chinese. We don't have to worry about Bob the Angry IT guy downloading the data onto Dropbox. Well that's not true, we do have to worry about that but we have controls in place to make it really hard to do and if it does happen, it is logged and alerts go out so that the incident can be resolved. We leverage Citrix heavily because we can lock it down (no internet access, no external devices, no access to network shares, etc). No environment is ever perfect or 100% secure, but we have ours dialed in to the point that we have had certain personality types quit because they couldn't deal with the tight controls and absolutely having to do things the one byzantine way that it had to be done. The response to those people is always the same. "Our clients pay us to keep their data secure, not to make your life easy." Corresponding to that, we do pay more than other firms due to the acknowledgement that the controls do suck, they are frustrating and people do get burnt out.

We are probably the exception to the rule though. The market we are in is highly competitive, and due to that, the company can make the investment in security because it becomes a competitive differentiator in the marketplace. All of it costs money. You'd probably balk at what we charge per gigabyte for storage. Security has a serious price tag attached to it. In all but the most heavily regulated industries, people will not pay what it costs. They will go with the provider who claims to have it, and cross their fingers while praying that their data is secure because they know that the provider takes on the risk. Luckily, the regulators are not completely stupid and they are starting to hold corporations accountable for their providers. Ie, if the corporation is liable under HIPAA and the provider leaks the data... both of them end up getting fined.

I could obviously go on about this for a while, so I will try to wrap it up. The SaaS market might shrink, but it is not going away. There will be fewer players who can make the investments that need to be made to do it right. Those who can make the investments and can continue to execute successfully will continue to do well. You have to look at the economies of scale. If your business requires high availability and 24x7 up time, you either need to invest in multiple co-location facilities (plus all of the technology, staff, etc) to make that a reality, or you find a provider who has already made the investment and leverage that. The same thing goes for data security. If you really have highly sensitive data, you can either hire a couple of security staff and spend millions of dollars on gear, or you can outsource it to someone who is going to give you SLAs and legal recourse if they do not live up to their end of the deal.

One last point, on SaaS not being viable for HR, Financial, whatever. Look at it this way. What is easier to secure? A single application, or a heterogeneous network where you have everything from somewhat secure workstations to the intern's Android tablet connected to it? A SaaS vendor has a single purpose... hosting their application. The entire network and application stack is purpose built for that doing just that. It is a much smaller problem set to solve.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year and a half ago | (#42327313)

Dave - thanks for the detailed and well thought out reply. You guys are obviously taking security very seriously and are to be commended for that. I still suspect, though, that not all SaaS vendors are as vigilant as you are and your customer base will increase as a result of that.

"The SaaS market might shrink, but it is not going away" - Yes, I agree with that. As I said above, there are certain applications that are well suited to a SaaS platform. What I have seen with products like Workday is that they are trying to become an Enterprise solution rather than a niche player. They have a good product but I just don't think it's there yet. And again, the fact that you cannot customize it is a serious shortfall in my view. Salesforce has done well because they stick to what they do well - CRM. That's all they do and they do it well. CRM is not an Enterprise application or a business critical application, which sets it apart from HR and Financials applications. With Financials, in particular, your entire company is riding on the success of it. It just has to work and you have to be able to customize it to fit your needs.

I think that SaaS will be an important part of the mix for some companies but for the big boys I don't see SaaS replacing mission critical applications such as HR and Financials. The growth in that area will curtail, in my view, but SaaS will find a nice niche market and kind of settle in there. On premise Enterprise software and hosted SaaS solutions can co exist not as competitors but as partners. I am seeing a lot more blended solutions where customers are choosing a bit of this and a bit of that to better suit their unique needs. A place for everything and everything in it's place :-)

Re:If Woz can so can I... (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42320445)

1) Facebook is going to see it's user base decline. I suspect that many of the current accounts are fake, throwaway type accounts anyway. Full of fake birth dates, occupations and other such information attached to fake throwaway email accounts used for nothing other than signing up for Facebook. Sooner or later advertisers are going to catch on to this and stop wasting their time.

Most of them are marketing accounts.

Re:If Woz can so can I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42321081)

Until the HP board is dissolved and replaced, this cycle will continue.

The employees sure didn't pick Carly, Mark, Leo, Meg... They sure didn't pick the board, Patrica Dunn for instance, and they sure didn't pick the salaries the execs get.

But the employees will definitely pay for all of it. I'm so glad I quit when I did.

Data Centers will go the way of power plants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42319293)

It will take time, but as homes move off the grid (perhaps Sandy is a motivation) and move to alt energy and affect power demand from utilities, so will data centers evolve to decentralized infrastructure.

my predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42319315)

lawyers start losing heads....

Facebook (1)

labnet (457441) | about a year and a half ago | (#42319881)

Is this the same Woz who was a buy on Facebook at any price?

I guess WOZ is behind the times... (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42320027)

Crestron DM system and AppleTV's allow my corporate clients to "throw" content to a display. You just have to be an apple ecosystem to do it. Mostly because Microsoft cant figure it out.

I know a LOT of clients that would kill for a Microsoft version of airplay. but it does not exist and will not exist for some time. (anything that requires a driver to be installed is already a fail. Airplay works without any driver installation)

If the It department were to hire real AV consultants that install real AV gear like the Crestron DM or Extron/Kramer systems that are like it along with embracing the current tech and working with it instead of against it, they can have it today.

And yes, I can get Apple TV (Last customer has over 240 of them across the business campus) to work in a corporate environment. It's not that hard if you have competent network admins and engineers.

Re:I guess WOZ is behind the times... (0)

dave562 (969951) | about a year and a half ago | (#42320435)

You have your clients throwing up on displays all over campus? I like it.

Re:I guess WOZ is behind the times... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335645)

Upchuck University.... go PUKES!

Stick a fork in Woz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42320293)

Would someone please stick a fork in Woz? It's sad, but his relevancy ended like 20 years ago?

Jobs saw the future not Woz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42321917)

If I remember correctly Jobs was the one with the vision of the future not Woz.

Woz is biased (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42324097)

He forgot that 2013 is the year of the Linux desktop.
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