Evolution of technology platforms

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IDC recently released a report on the battles for dominance and survival on the ‘3rd Platform' of technology. The 3rd Platform is the latest in the evolution of the general IT landscapes, and this platform is not as well-defined as the ones that came before.

Consider the 1st Platform: mainframe and terminal technologies. We know exactly what these technologies are and how they were used. The 2nd Platform is similar: Lan/Internet and Client/Server technologies are functionally similar to the 1st Platform and are easy to envision. The 3rd Platform however, as defined by IDC, is comprised of the following:

· Cloud technologies

· Mobile technologies

· Big Data

· Social technologies

And don't forget the “Emerging Markets,” thrown in for good measure.

Even though most of us have an idea of what these terms mean, we probably do not have a clear and shared understanding of what the 3rd Platform really is.

This is to be expected. Recent studies confirm that we face a significant change in how IT is viewed and approached. Until recently, IT was defined by infrastructure: servers, computing power, storage and capacity, networks and bandwidth. The focus of IT was on how to use these technologies and tools for the tasks we found important. What could be done with these infrastructures? This approach brought us applications like word processing, integrated phone systems, and weather forecasting tools.

As infrastructures matured and improved, our attention shifted to questions like

  • “What kind of information can we extract from our data?”
  • “Can we fully work during our travel or remote times?”
  • “Can we just use things instead of build and run them?”

And we began to see the differences between “Everybody should have a broadband connection” and “We should be able to accomplish our business goals from wherever we are.”

Instead of asking, what we can do with what we have, we ask what we want to achieve.

This maturation in our approach to IT has led to certain problems that we need to address. As demands for performance, availability and security have increased, infrastructures have evolved into something completely new. The structure of the 3rd Platform is totally different than the structures of the 1st and 2nd.

This change in our approach to IT is linked to the changes in the way that we work. When it comes to modern network users, many ‘internal' users are working from outside the ‘internal' network. It also means that ‘internal' data and ‘internal' applications are located outside as well. This inevitably raises questions about security, and forces the IT administrator to find new ways to protect network assets. It is no longer enough to protect the physical perimeter of the network: we must also protect the assets that reside ‘outside.'

Devices such as firewalls, load balancers and application delivery controllers, can be deployed to protect internal and external resources. IT administrators must be sure that this is in conjunction with the appropriate user permissions and group policies. However the total security solutions are deployed, it must secure, protect, and optimize all three platforms of technology.

Wieland Alge is VP and general manager for EMEA at Barracuda Networks. He’s a guru in the sales, strategy and technology in the field of IT-security / connectivity. Follow him on Twitter @wielandalge.



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