Feeds

Really, really big systems coming by 2027

Less porn, more work

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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."®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?