At a recent ITEC conference in Seattle, I heard »2.0« so often that I do not believe there are any other digits in this world. In the digital era we had zeroes and ones; today we seem to have only two and zero: Web 2.0, Desktop 2.0, Internet 2.0. Some vendors also append 2.0 to data centers – Cisco has already moved to Data Center 3.0! All these new technologies (named as »second circle« technologies by some) have already changed the way we use computers.
But is this new? Not at all. Maybe for Gen-X and Gen-Y, but not for »legacy« generations. Today’s cloud computing is »centralized computing.« Far away from anything cloudy, it is very concrete, performed in data centers on a principle similar to that in IBM mainframes or DEC host computers some thirty years ago. And new desktops turn our existing personal workstations (PCs) back into »dumb terminals,« similar to IBM 3270 or DEC VT100 terminals. The only difference is that today processing power in a PC is a magnitude higher than in those terminals. Applications are not in our computer any more; they are back in the »cloud,« available as »software as a service« (SaaS) – just a new name for application hosting. Very much as it used to be in the not-so-distant past.
Virtual desktops, all web-based, run on various virtualization platforms such as VMware. And so many technologies rely on virtualization that some presenters at the Seattle ITEC conference (inspired by relatively low turnout) even suggested meeting in virtual space next year.
To conclude, Web 2.0 and associated technologies powered by modern microprocessors not only have revived the technology principles of the past – they have brought them to a new quality level. So 2.0 now is more than two; it is at least one level further.