IBM s proposed solution looks at the problem from the most important perspective: the end user s. How do IT customers want computing systems to function? They want to interact with them intuitively, and they want to have to be far less involved in running them. Ideally, they would like computing systems to pretty much take care of the mundane elements of management by themselves.
The most direct inspiration for this functionality that exists today is the autonomic function of the human central nervous system. Autonomic controls use motor neurons to send indirect messages to organs at a sub-conscious level. These messages regulate temperature, breathing, and heart rate without conscious thought. The implications for computing are immediately evident; a network of organized, smart computing components that give us what we need, when we need it, without a conscious mental or even physical effort.
IBM has named its vision for the future of computing autonomic computing. This new paradigm shifts the fundamental definition of the technology age from one of computing, to one defined by data. Access to data from multiple, distributed sources, in addition to traditional centralized storage devices will allow users to transparently access information when and where they need it. At the same time, this new view of computing will necessitate changing the industry s focus on processing speed and storage to one of developing distributed networks that are largely self-managing, self-diagnostic, and transparent to the user.
This new computer paradigm means the design and implementation of computer systems, software, storage and support must exhibit these basic fundamentals from a user perspective:
Flexible - The system will be able to sift data via a platform- and device-agnostic approach.
Accessible - The nature of the autonomic system is that it is always on.
Transparent - The system will perform its tasks and adapt to a user s needs without dragging the user into the intricacies of its workings.