Root-cause: Information Technology via Data Centers
The world as we know it is transforming into something of a different nature. A nature that is not natural by the benchmark of our predecessors. This transformation is changing the way we bond, work, interact, and live. If watching too much TV was of a topic of concern a few years ago, now overwhelming consumption of computers and apps is in focus. Even TVs are nowadays another IP-based device that sit on the network of your transformed life.
What is the root cause of our lives’ transformation? The answer used to be agriculture, followed by industrialization, and more recently technology. But if we dig deep enough, we realize that the real paradigm shift is happening on account of information technology. Information age, information management, information availability, information security, and information-driven life are all derivatives of what information technology has made available to us.
Question is: how are information technology capabilities actually delivered? Via numerous means obviously, but at the core of it all, data centers shine. Information and its related technologies could not cater to any of us if not for the application ecosystem made available through data centers. Data centers are like the element of steel for construction of modern bridges, or bedrock of oceans for drilling oil, or the Amazon forest for supplying oxygen to Earth. With every activity you sign up for, every bill you pay, every app you use, your information is processed through data centers.
Information technology norms, terms, technologies, virtualization and cloud are all nice to hear and talk about, but how are they ultimately being delivered in a tangible form? Data centers. So, data centers are the living atmosphere and platform for information technology. Data centers are the enabling and sustaining core element that allows information technology to drive the transformation that is happening around us at a pace beyond our capacity for adaptation to change.
In the rest of this blog, I will examine the true impact of data-center-enabled-information-technology on “life” as we know it:
- Social impact – When DVRs are recording your every move, passports are chipped, your phone tracks and records your conversations and whereabouts, will theft, betrayal, cheating, or crime be committed without a second thought? The biblical narrative cautions its followers to the record-keeping of angels. A believer in the unseen would take heed. Today, tracking, tracing, and recording devices are watching you with ever-improving precision and your slightest misconduct can easily breach their thresholds. This is synonymous to running a traffic light or speeding knowing that cameras are present. So, consequences are: citizens of a civil society will be extra careful to preserve their interests in the present lives which they hold sacred, whether they believe in the hereafter or not. Hence, conservatism will escalate and ethical values come to surface all because God’s once-promised angels are now actually at the service of law-enforcement and social services. Meanwhile, there are other enormous changes in the social arena, including in the way we meet, greet, and bond with people through social media and other information technology-driven social capacities. Additionally, the vast array of sensitive detection systems and real-time monitoring and surveillance, alerting, and response systems used, for example, for fire and flood detection, security, and dispatch of emergency crews, vehicles, law-enforcement, news and media etc., has provided a safety shield around our lives to an extent that did not exist before. All of this is made possible by information technology using data centers as its platform of reliability and execution.
- Economic impact –If it were not for the dotcoms and information-based businesses, the American economy would have been officially bankrupt years ago. The traditional wheels of our economy (heavy industries, such as war, oil and manufacturing) do not turn as productively as they used to. No longer can starting a war somewhere or selling cars and refrigerators to households sustain a thriving economy. The new age has brought forth new drivers of economic development and productivity. Even the world’s number one source of production, China, has realized this shift and is betting on its dotcoms such as Baidu and Alibaba. In the light of consistent failure of most traditional economic plans and norms, the American economy and way of life is still vibrant because of the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook or, for that mater, any successful business operating on the backbone of information technology. Where would any of them be without their data centers? Information technology is creating jobs and raising the skill level of the entire workforce, resulting in higher pay and elevated standards of living. Moreover, information technology-based careers are amongst the most rewarding; interestingly enough, some of the best-paid employees in non-IT companies are its IT personnel. Economies that bank on this very reality and cultivate their data farms and data-driven industries will similarly harvest the greatest rewards. I will address this very topic and how economies can benefit from this transformation in a later blog.
- Political impact – In the ancient world, leaders would poise plots against one another or make decisions that impact nations on a large scale, while all of that could remain hidden. Today, some of the most powerful people on Earth cannot even make slightly questionable personal decisions without thinking twice because they can easily be caught. This information age where information technology is empowering all levels of the society to gain vivid access to most hidden practices of the past in present times will become the root cause of government cleansing. It is widely felt that a politician in higher office has stepped on the hearts and rights of many to reach the stage he/she is at today. Notions such as “politicians are dirty”, “politics is corrupt” and so forth will be obsolete as we progress through time riding the information technology vehicle. Information technology has enabled companies, for example, to assess the personal characteristic of their employees by linking to their social media pages and seeing if who they really are matches who they pretend to be. With IP tracking embedded in almost every living thing, a political advocate will have a digitized transcript of his or her habits, places visited, acts conducted, items purchased, medicine consumed, and much more over his/her lifespan. Hence, privacy issues aside, there will come a time where, in the context of free and open societies, politicians will be amongst the most pure and sincere individuals. When politicians purify, biased policies and agendas will be pushed to the sidelines and finally the ruling elite will intend to act solely to the benefit of their citizens.
- Knowledge impact – finding information in abundance, being able to freely browse different opinions, search, and compare ideas are all but some of the benefits that this global transformation has brought forth. Going to school or college online, attending virtual courses and workshops and obtaining knowledge, degrees and certifications is made possible more than ever with eLearning. Many now have access to schools and receive a level of education that was not feasible in the past. Access to powerful search is a massive shift in our way of life. Information, which was often retrieved through complicated and time-consuming processes, is now available at the tip of your fingers. With a simple search on your tablet, laptop, or phone you can get such diverse, cohesive, and alternative sources of information that you would not have access to if you spent hours searching in libraries. In short, efficiency in knowledge-acquisition as in wider, simpler, and faster access to knowledge is made possible, realistically, at a magnitude beyond expectations. Information is not only accessible more widely and at a faster pace, it is also presented more effectively and dynamically, enabling learning aids while offering comparative analysis and tools that were unavailable before. Where is all this knowledge stored, processed, and retrieved from? Nowhere other than data centers.
- Historical impact – how many pages of human history and civilization have been fuel for wild fires or destroyed and rewritten by victors? All of what we think of our past, in reality could be the opposite or somewhat different from what the minimal historical records indicate. Losing history could be as simple as losing family photos, or as complex as losing court cases, police reports, patient records, forensic evidence, etc. With correct information technology foundations and effective data center design, build and management, the elimination of historical records would need to be outright engineered. Especially with the virtualization and cloud, if implemented correctly according to modern data center practices across the site and facility layers (refer to Infinity Paradigm™), information technology can make it impossible for pages of history or records that need up-keeping to be boiled down to single physical sites/locations that are vulnerable to disasters or errors that have struck and impacted our history in the past. Thus, valuable data about us, our past, and our present can be preserved and, so, we can uphold our integrity for the future to come.
- Communication impact – effective and cost-efficient communication is key to the development and evolution of humankind. Not only do businesses take advantage of new means of communication, reducing their OpEx and time/effort for traveling, meetings etc., but also populations at large living in different corners of this global village can now interact more or less freely and real-time. The evolution of telegraphs, to telex, fax, modem, then prepaid calling cards, VoIP, later on Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, and other means of online communication has brought people from around the world closer to one-another at a staggering pace. News from one corner of the world is transmitted, distributed, read, and responded to real-time. This has greatly induced the impact factor of every event, situation or news that gets produced at a global scale to a point that the promise of allowing open social media presence, can be one president’s ticket to office in some countries these days. Modern-day communication is supplied in abundance while its demand is even more overwhelming. What used to be a regional event can now create global empathy, global campaigns, and global resolve due the availability of communication. Broader events such as global warming, wars, riots, widespread diseases as well as positive news of all sorts reach us at a speed unimaginable by our predecessors. All of this said and done, none of our telcos, news, broadcasting, and social media companies would be where they are today nor would they be delivering the services they are offering if it were not for applications that live in the ecosystem that data centers deliver. All of what makes our modern lives possible today is due to data centers and how it enables information and the technologies related to it.
It is clear that our lives are evolving at a rapid rate towards betterment. Note that this new transformation does not come without sacrifice. There are side effects and changes in lifestyle, in other words opportunity cost with strings attached. This means that potentially all of what is happening could not necessarily be in our best interest. I will talk about this in a future blog. Nevertheless, the pros outweigh the cons, and our life, as we know it, is being directly impacted and driven by information technology, which is made available and delivered by data centers worldwide. The moral of this surfacing truth is that our world today, and more so in the future, will be fostering evolution of all walks of life, aiding activists striving to push reforms against dictators or rusted systems that have passed the stage of obsolescence; economists pondering on the issue of jobs, quality of life, and GDP; or law enforcement trying to avoid mistakes, improve speed and precision; and fostering eLearning, eGovernment, eHealth, … eLife. Ultimately, for this to materialize, information technology with data centers as its beating heart is delivering data up and down the information vessels of our transformed life.