Feeds

Really, really big systems coming by 2027

Less porn, more work

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

It'll be the size of the internet in California, but of far less use. Parts of it already exist - we just don't know it yet. Oh, and we're going to need to re-think programming languages and design to deliver it.

No, it's not Microsoft's next Windows operating system, but the world's first Ultra Large System (ULS), which'll function like a city - always evolving and not stopping - that will debut within the next 20 years.

That's according to IBM distinguished engineer Richard Gabriel speaking at the recent QCon conference in San Francisco, California.

Of course, some might argue, we already have one ULS - the internet. Or that systems such as Google, Amazon or eBay with their massive server farms and multiple processes, can be considered ULS.

These don't match Gabriel's definition of "large". Gabriel, who specializes in architecture, design and implementation of "extraordinarily" large, self-sustaining systems, said the first ULS will be "beyond human comprehension because it's so large". Or put in more concrete terms: it would be like every single person on the planet today writing two and a half pages of Java code.

Another important difference with the internet is you "go there to cheat on your homework or read porn - these are subsets. ULS is distinct, in that it does a coherent set of things. It's the size of the internet in California, but [it's] doing less stuff."

The size and constant motion will mean "changes will have to be made while it's running. Everything is going to be failing continually, so there's no such thing as perfection or reliability." There goes the so-called "datacenter of the future" then.

Also, the ULS concept must be approached using modularity, because building such a thing from both a technological or project perspective is beyond the comprehension or the abilities of one person or one group - even today's distributed, open source projects, which Gabriel called "too small".

According to Gabriel, modularity will need to re-thought along the lines of biological organs, like the liver, that "have transparency and allow self sustaining."

Languages will also need to change, by focusing on abstraction. "One of the things we need to do is re-think the way programming language people think about software. Today it's about how the software talks to a complier. But there are other things outside the complier. We need to think of programs as abstracted, isolated things.

"Anyone alive in 1958 could understand the programming languages we have today. Physicists would be surprised by what we know in physics today. That's bad."®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.