We've just moved out of one generation of solution architectures and on to one that will define the enterprise computing trajectory for the next decade or more.
I'm going to combine cloud and mobile computing here. Most of the buzz around these two technologies is focused on enhancing fingertip capabilities--that is, doing more things on your smart-phone. But they actually constitute a behind-the-scenes paradigm shift in our approach to data management.
On the infrastructure side, migrating data stores to the cloud--both in-house and externally--requires tough decisions followed by significant planning and reorganization. Primary considerations in moving to an external cloud are security and performance, with the latter applicable to internal and external clouds. Equally important is business continuity: If services from a cloud computing stalwart like Amazon.com can go down, where's the assurance for our online businesses? (As an intriguing sidebar, does it really matter that much if our online businesses go down for a few hours? I'm interested in knowing what you think.)
With mobile applications, the essential challenge in application design and, hence, data architecture is ensuring a uniform user experience across diverse channels of user interaction, and maintaining a consistent information state across these channels. Various stages of connectedness require deep thinking and some potential architectural juggling.
As we get used to the new age of computing, which is coming upon us at a dizzying rate, application designers and information architects are going to find themselves ensconced in furious dialogues and design sessions with each other and the user community.
In geometry, a cusp is defined as a point at which two branches of a curve meet. As I look back on the past decade of computing, it's clear that we've just moved out of one generation of solution architectures--the first branch of the curve defined above--and on to the next curve, one that will define the enterprise computing trajectory for another few decades, at least.
Rajan Chandras has more than 20 years of experience advising and leading business technology initiatives, with a focus on strategy and information management. Write him at rchandras at gmail dot com.
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