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Ruminating on Revolutions

by Administrator on August 6, 2015

robot-revolutionI have been thinking a lot lately about revolutions.  Seems like every vendor on the planet wants to represent their wares as “revolutionary” — and believes that they must spend a lot of money on marketing and promotion to help the revolution along.  I wrote about this in my Infrastruggle column at Virtualization Review in the context of software-defined storage and also with respect to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Surprisingly, I have received more feedback from these pieces than I have seen from many other articles and columns I have penned in the last few months.

The point I am making is that true revolutions happen all by themselves, with no additional encouragement required from any vanguard of the proletariat, etc.  Historically, as soon as someone starts pushing a revolutionary movement, the movement is already suspect.  Usually, revolutionary rhetoric is used as cover for a changing of the guard — the exchange of one ruling clique for another.  It can get pretty hot, of course, and may even give the impression of a real revolutionary conflict, but it is all BS.  Propaganda.  Marketing.  To paraphrase Kissinger, “The reason interdepartmental battles are so bloody is that the stakes are so small.”

I recently heard a presentation by VMware regarding their VDI approach, which the speaker called a desktop revolution.  Then I read that Microsoft’s market share had dropped from 95% of the more than 300 million desktops shipped annually to 93% this year.  A 2% drop in a decade.  Doing the math, it should take until long after we are all submerged by rising sea levels here in Florida before the traditional desktop will be supplanted by virtual desktops.

It's been over a decade since somebody tried to dissect the office automation area.  When asked, I was delighted to oblige.  Coming this Fall. Coming Soon!  Start the Revolution…or not.

This is also the substance of the introduction to my next book, coming from Apress Press at the end of the year, entitled (tongue in cheek) Office Automation 2.0.  I will let you know when it’s published.

Frankly, I don’t know why folks are so much more energized by the idea of a revolution than by incremental change for the better.  The latter is orderly and measurable while the former is unpredictable in terms of outcome.  Just changing one vendor for another is not revolutionary, never has been.  What is revolutionary is fleeting, quickly becoming the new normal, the new commonplace.  Even if the revolution is televised, just as rapidly it becomes invisible, part of the background, taken for granted.

Tomorrow, I am off to Boston to meet up with some brilliant technologists who think they are on to something truly revolutionary in storage I/O.  I know these guys too well to blow off the idea without kicking the tires.  When the time comes, I will give everyone my take on what I discover — complete with a video interview with the savants who are doing the innovating.  Stand by.

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