Friday, November 17, 2006

Web 2.0

As with all O'Reilly conferences I was lucky to meet a wide variety of interesting people. The topics were good, ranging from new web 2.0 startups, how companies in this field were developing, new services, new models etc.

Of great interest to me was one strong theme which was repeated in six different sessions (it's rare that this occurs). That theme was the movement towards commoditisation of software and operating environments.

I call it theme, however a more apt description would be oncoming brick wall. Almost everyone recognised this as a the major future trend, there was little or no debate over whether it would happen just when and how.

This was a refreshing change. In the past when I've talked about such subjects, the response has been somewhat defensive but here it is was more fait accompli.

I'll make no bones about this, I'm a vested interest. Not only has this been a discussion point of mine for almost a decade but today I have my company has a product Zimki which is a commoditised web operating environment.

I was delighted by Jeff Bezos' talk which discussed all the "Muck" which gets in between the process of idea to development (thanks to Troy for the good summary). This "Muck" is what we call Yak-Shaving, it's all the things like setting up a server, configuring, backups, databases, hosting etc which you need to do before you can start developing.

That's why we built Zimki, to free developers from this and enable them to get on and develop.

We are going to put Zimki on Amazon's EC2, alongside our own hosted environment and then next year we will open source everything and help competitors get established. This is to enable people to easily port their data and systems from one environment to another, an essential part of creating a national grid.

The issue of portability is a growing question in the world commoditised operating environments. Amazon's EC2 service, though great, has a portability issue - there is no where else to port it to, you have to establish your own operating environment. As of today, I am not aware of a Google EC2 or a Microsoft EC2 etc.

That's why open sourcing Zimki is a key part of its future. The grid needs it.