by November 4, 2006 0 comments

An enterprise is like a living body. Different departments become its organs
and appendages. Some can live without the other and some
cannot. For this organic enterprise, IT is the analogue of the brain. If you go
in deeper, the brain is a cluster of neuron synapses that process electronic
signals not unlike a huge cluster of computers in a data center.

Consider the sheer volume of processing that’s being done 24×7 in this
natural data center! Unlike your IT data center, the brain cannot be ‘shutdown’
for maintenance. There are no patches to security holes and no reboots to solve
problems. If a ‘network cable’ is out in the brain, there is plenty to go
haywire but precious little you can do to fix it. Best of all, there is no ‘OS’-or
still, there is one that is so powerful that it is omnipresent.

Sujay V Sarma
Issue Editor for this month

What stores information about your friends and associates? Well, how exactly
do you manage to ‘remember’? What part of your brain is the processor and
where begins the memory?

Mathematics, Biology, Endocrinology, Mechanical and Kinetic Physics, Organic
Chemistry, Nutritional Science, languages and a zillion other capabilities come
built-in with the brain. And the one thing that sets humans apart from animals-the
capability to analyze, innovate and invent. The brain is a factor to the very
hope of evolution of the species. A blue screen failure here will certainly mean
a black screen of death or even species-level extinction and without a hope of
recovery with a simple reboot.

Look also at the raw power of this neural data center. From the thousands (or
millions) of sensor points in the body, signals reach the brain about
different things. Some tell the brain you feel pain, while others signal the
need for nourishment. Still others indicate how far you have moved a single
finger in response to a previous command. This is processed, compared, analyzed,
stored and new commands issued instantaneously. So much of the functionality is
autonomous and so much is manual. And so much can go wrong.

Yet, the human mind lives on for a hundred years. Yet, it fights through
adversities of weather, differences in water and food, it lives through Tsunamis
and wars and 9/11s. Prince’s mind worked all the while from falling into the
well to the time he was rescued after 60 hours or so, even though he was of so
young an age. It finds the time and resources to imagine and dream. To
conceptualize and visualize the abstract. To theorize about things it cannot
even see or fathom-matters of Theology and Cosmic Science. Its memory is
impressive, with the ability to recall audio, video and even the tiniest bit of
information like the fragrance your wife wore when you first met her, all at the
merest brush of a hint of a thought about that event. Yet, Sergey Brin or Larry
Page never got their hands on your brain.

When I run an enterprise sometime, I don’t want to copy the giants out
there to perfection. I want to copy the human body. And with it, I want the
power of the human brain to run its IT. Things to help me on are already out
there. More and more software are becoming resistant to frequent crashes. Long
uptimes are the order of the day rather than being an exception. With the launch
of multi-core processors, more applications and more powerful ones at that can
run better on my servers. Search has become even more resilient and placed
itself firmly at the heart of everything from Internet browsing to managing my
knowledge warehouse. Perpendicular Magnetic Recording, Dual Layer DVDs, WiMAX
and Mobile WiMAX (or even 802.11n), Serial SCSI, SOA, SaaS, Virtualization,
Consolidation, … the list is long of the things that are enabling that organic
enterprise brain-like IT for me.

The only thing the brain lacks is perhaps the ability to connect with other
brains directly-a sort of a neural hypernet. Some of this is overcome with the
capability to speak and communicate visually or by writing it down. A computer
can only send data to a computer of the future, and it must leave interpretation
of that data to the future computer. The human brain can express explicitly what
it felt about that data. The cave paintings and scrolls from history are a
testament to that.

Imagine IT like that.

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.