The evolution of the modern hyper-scale datacenter reflects the hyper-scale needs of the applications that run on them. Modern web 2.0 (and increasingly SaaS) applications need to handle thousands of user requests per second, processing terabytes of information in real-time across hundreds of customers. They are by necessity massively parallel and work in concert to service a user request. This is the modern equivalent of a giant supercomputer — except cobbled together from commodity server components and interconnect fabrics. It’s a profound software and hardware architectural shift that is taking us from a world where datacenters consisted of small number of independent high performance branded servers to a brave new world where the giant, datacenter building is the server.
Of course, even if Dell does indeed exit PCs and focus on services, they’re hardly in the clear.
One quibble on this generally excellent post, from the intro:
The personal computer is dead. As quickly as we moved from the desktop to the laptop, we are moving to the tablet — never to return. With the death of the PC, an entire ecosystem dies with it. The chipset is ARM based, rather than Intel. The operating system is all iOS and Android, rather than Windows. The applications are hosted cloud apps like Box, Google Apps, and Evernote rather than Sharepoint, Office and Outlook.
I wouldn’t characterize it as desktop->laptop->tablet. Rather, general purpose computer->device. A tablet is a device that’s great for consumption, but I’m not going to author this blog on one. ChromeOS, on the other hand…
Thinking about things this way actually makes the overall article’s thesis stronger.