Discussing Google, Apple and Microsoft OS

It is interesting reading the latest reporting of Google’s OS and where they are going.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google's dual-pronged operating-system strategy will likely produce a single OS down the road, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Many Google observers were puzzled when the companyannounced plans for Chrome OS in July, coming amidgrowing acceptance of the company's Android operating-system project as a smartphone and Netbook OS. After all, why design an open-source operating system with the goal of reinventing the personal computing experience when you're currently developing another open-source operating system with the goal of reinventing the mobile computing experience?

Google executives, including CEO Eric Schmidt, have downplayed the conflict ever since, asking for time to let the projects evolve. And a few days after Chrome OS was revealed, Android chief Andy Rubin said device makers "need different technology for different products," explaining that Android has a lot of unique code that makes it suitable for use in a phone and Chrome has unique benefits of its own.

But Brin, speaking informally to reporters after the company's Chrome OS presentation on Thursday, said "Android and Chrome will likely converge over time," citing among other things the common Linux and Webkit code base present in both projects.

As part of my 2 year anniversary writing this blog, I am taking more time to share my background and  perspectives.

I am writing this post on a plane trip from SJ to Seattle, so I have a bit of time to reflect on my latest trip. And, one of the ways I consider myself extremely lucky is to understand different perspectives.

Let me share some ideas of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).  And, none of what I am sharing is based on visiting these companies on my latest trip or direct interviews.  Huh?  On my trips to the bay area I try to meet one of my smartest guys I know.  We worked together at Apple and Microsoft, so we have known each other for over 20 years.  We have another mutual friend who we worked with, and we compare perspectives on where things are going.  20 years ago, we were all working on the Mac OS, now we are all working on data center related issues, so we are used to be able have complete control over things at Apple, but now we have smaller parts in a much bigger problem.

Now, when we get together we rapidly bounce from what Apple is doing to Microsoft, then Google, and a bunch of other companies.  Discussing who is working on the most interesting computer technology.

We were talking about how cool it is that Google gets these guys to talk about what they are doing in technologies.  One point I made of why this is good is the act of trying to explain your ideas forces you to simplify and articulate the value of what you are working on. Repeating the presentation forces you to iterate on where the value is and why it is important.  Your audience gains value, but the presenter and its company gains knowledge figuring out what is of value. Valuable content is more viral and spreads.  And, this has a connection to your products.

We briefly discussed Microsoft as we worked together at Microsoft, and discussed the developer community.  We both have worked on the Mac OS and Windows OS, so we are used to discussing new OS technologies and the developer benefit.  Without apps that use the platform, the value of an OS feature is minimal.  Which brings me back to the previous paragraph on sharing ideas.  You can look at OS developer features as the challenge of explaining ideas that are viral and have value.  Those developers who can explain their ideas better, iterating on the explanation, have a higher probability developing features that users want.

Now what has this got to do with the data center.  Well, not much yet.  But, let’s now continue to where the developer community is going.  Windows and Mac OS API developers are in decline.  Java, AJAX, Ruby, and HTML are growing much faster.  And, the platform is the browser -  Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE.   As browser apps grow, the cloud is more important which fits in a cloud computing model which has the all the hype.

So, even though I write about data centers on this blog.  There is a bigger plan on how the data centers fit in the changing computing environments.  Data Centers are resources for computing.  It was client-server applications in the past.  Now it is becoming browser-cloud apps.

The Green Data Center is going to be one that doesn’t just have the best PUE, but the one that in the overall system enables the lower resource use.  Shifting computing to be in data center, using less resources to low power devices is more efficient than having high powered clients.  Smart phones and netbooks are the high growth devices, and the utility is growing fast to do more and more of the things you used to need a laptop or desktop.

Not to say efficient power and cooling systems are not important, but they are only one part in a complex systems.  The interaction of all the pieces are not well understood to figure out the most efficient use of resources.  Solving this complex problem is what drives me to keep talking about the subject of green data center.  Constantly iterating on what is of value.  As I figure out what has value, it helps figure out what people should do.  What people should do is what I share on this blog.  And, it helps create better products and services that use less resources.

In my past life, I traveled a lot giving presentations.  With my blog www.greenm3.com ,  I can share more ideas and quicker to a world-wide audience.  Which is a lot greener, saves money, more effective, and better for my family life.

Thanks for continuing to visit my blog.

-Dave Ohara