“In 1900, Smithsonian Institution curator John Elfreth Watkins wrote an article for The Ladies’ Home Journal, entitled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years,” filled with predictions that many of his readers probably scoffed at as ridiculously improbable… But what’s more impressive is the extent to which Watkins’ vision of the future actually has come to pass — wireless phone networks on which a person in New York could talk to another in China, live TV images being transmitted around the globe, MRI machines, aerial warfare, and high-speed trains traveling between cities at 150 miles per hour.”
Patrick J. Kiger in an article about futurists on howstuffworks.com.
The link above provides a quick snapshot on 10 ground-breaking futurists, including the story about Watkins above. I believe that we are in only the earliest stages of communications network management systems, so there will be massive changes in OSS in coming years.
Using the predictive nature of Moore’s Law, it is likely that the networking devices of the near future will have enough on-board processing power to run OSS in addition to performing their current purpose of traffic control. This processing power will support OSS in a distributed processing model rather than the largely centralised processing models of today. Software Defined Networking (SDN) will further strengthen the effectiveness and flexibility of this decentralised processing model.
The decentralised model is important because it has the potential to leverage the processing power of many low-end, inexpensive systems and exceed the processing output of expensive super-computers. It also provides the means for rapid, localised responsiveness to any network issues that may arise.
The other futurist in that series that sparked my interest is number 7, Dirk Helbing. Kiger’s description is as follows:
“At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Helbing is leading the creation of the Living Earth Simulator (LES) Project, a $1.4 billion effort to build a massive supercomputer system capable of modeling just about any sort of event that could occur on Earth. LES, which Helbing describes as a “nervous system for the planet,” would amass everything from government economic statistics to tweets from everyday Joes. It could also tap into data generated by the increasing number of Internet-connected machines and sensors, and even peruse photos uploaded to the Web by smartphone cameras.”
This unstructured approach sounds very similar to the notion that I have of OSS in the future, which is in distinct contrast to the structured database models of current OSS solutions. As processing power develops, OSS will begin to diversify beyond the current network-centric data sources to make valuable network management connections.
As processing power develops further, OSS will reach beyond network-centric data and become the “nervous system for the planet” and have the potential to coordinate processing grunt from millions of OSS/NMS devices around the globe and lead it towards solving common but massive goals.
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