Future Forecasting for I.T. - how close to 'mature' is the market?

Jonathon Schwartz of SUN Microsystems posted an article on SUN and Intel Alliance. SUN may be coming back from the brink - with the 'opening' of Solaris, they could have realised again they're a hardware company (and do great servers).

There was a line that gave me pause:
To be clear, this isn't about displacing one another's competitors, it's about getting as big a piece of the future as possible. The market's not shrinking, after all.

I was struck by The market's not shrinking, after all.

In 2000, the personal-use PC's were 'desktops' - now laptop sales are at least equal or higher...
The world is changing - the I.T. market is very close to maturation - near 'topping out' perhaps.

Take for instance the Gartner predictions for desktop/laptop sales in next 12 months (can't remember the link).
They forecast a 10.6% growth in sales volume (to 255+M units) but only 4.x% increase in sales dollars.

SUN have announced their "DataCentre in a Container". Think that through - these are effectively very nicely packaged *mainframes* of MIMD(non-homogeneous) design versus the classic MIMD (SMP) design. You get a 'volume discount' by buying excess capacity - and it comes prebuilt. Your techs should not ever be opening the doors. It really will be "everything in software". And the box could be anywhere within a few milliseconds down the network.

Some organisations will resell capacity, not like the old Processing Bureaus and lately (web hosting), but fractional amounts of a 'box'. Just like leasing office, storage or wharehouse space.

The big change will be corporations adopting the same scale-up/scale-out architectures as the large internet companies - the Internet Data Centre rather than the usual Enterprise Data Centre...

Moore's Law on CPU speed broke in Q1-2003 - but those pesky engineers are still building smaller devices and putting more transistor on a chip - that means more bang for your CPU buck for maybe another 10 years [definitely 2010, but why not 2015].

Organisation buys a DC box. Keeps it for it's economic life (dominated probably by disk size/failures), then replaces it.
The new box *will* have more CPU power, or cost less per processing 'unit', modulo disk pricing.

All of a sudden servers (the things that SUN sells) will be bought in large quanta, kept and replaced in the same large quanta.
And each quanta will feature better "bang per buck". What we've seen in desktops and servers, is that unit price can't be maintained - the price of the low-end units will keep drifting down.

The West's economy is getting close to being saturated with corporate compute power...
Real growth might occur in the developing world - that's a complex equation that includes social and cultural variables.

So will the market for server CPU's keep expanding? I think we are close to maturation of the I.T. industry, within 30-50% of the maximum CPU demand... Which means very close to total sales dollars.

Modulo brand new applications of course :-)
Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Management or Data Mining/Business Intelligence could actually deliver something useful oneday.

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