Monday, October 10, 2016

As the Pendulum Swings

Figure 1.  As the Pendulum swings

There's a relatively constant motion in the IT industry that we tend to think of as a pendulum.  As technologies evolve, we often see a swing toward "what was old is new again" and "what was new is old, again."  

It is at least partially represented by these two graphics.  

The first being price vs performance.  We often liquidate performance for price as we abstract or redefine products.  There are evolution resets that cause it to restart again, frequently to the detriment of the previous technology course, but often looking like something that skipped a generation.  This is a foundation of the pendulum swing and why we think of it as a pendulum.

The second can be thought of as dedicated vs general purpose or locked in vs open.  As an example: IT functions dedicated in hardware are created to optimize performance, at the expense of great cost.  IT functions created in general arrive with a performance penalty vs the dedicated systems, but become extremely versatile.  These will often lead to a stair-step function in the next technology evolution.  This doesn't correlate directly with the pendulum swing but a shift in position of the pendulum, see below..

Figure 2. Efficiency Improvements - shift in position
Special thanks to Simon Wardley @swardley -  mapping

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