Living in the virtual world

By Robert Paszkiewicz, Marketing and Business Development Director, Atman

 

Robert Paszkiewicz

Robert Paszkiewicz

Mundane though frustrating events, such as train ticket reservation systems crashing and problems with even the biggest airlines’ operations, make one realize just how much everyday technology and information systems, or simply just the internet, have become completely inseparable from our daily lives.

Nowadays, it’s hard to distinguish the virtual world from the real. We’ve substituted paper boarding passes with mobile ones, check-in at the airport with online check-in, a bus ticket kiosk with a mobile app, and we are increasingly keen on shopping from the comfort of our couch and laptop than conquering the vast expanses of shopping centers. We can see a similar trend in applications. Rather than checking our emails on our home computers, we are more likely to use an app on our mobiles. We use digital maps connected to GPS systems rather than paper maps (often publishing companies aid in this transition, abandoning classic maps in favor of digital versions). More and more physical “boxed” programs and applications are being pulled from the shelves, transitioning to purchases for download online. Not only new businesses, such as increasingly popular start-ups (approximately 100,000 start-ups are formed annually worldwide, the majority of them relying on the internet) are following this model; many large, well developed tech companies from Silicon Valley are rapidly transitioning to this model as well.

The changing IT trends are also visible in the numbers themselves. In 2010, the domestic cloud computing market was worth $35 million; two years later the number had doubled. Currently, the value of the cloud market is expected to surpass $200 million1 by 2017. Specific services and systems, such as SaaS (Software as a Service) offered via cloud computing are contributing to this exponential market growth. According to the IDC, SaaS and other cloud applications on the market were worth $39.3 billion in 2013. In 2018, it is expected to rise to $100 billion. Analysts estimate that growth in this market will reach 20 percent annually2.

Though our lives are so intertwined with technology, in many instances its presence often goes unnoticed. When your card hovers over a payment terminal, you don’t consider the number of servers, transaction systems, or the kilometers of fiber optic cables which carry your information between the shop you’re standing in and your bank. What would happen if, all of a sudden, one of these elements stopped functioning? We should remember that, after all, a system is only as strong as its weakest link.

Data centers work to ensure that these systems continue to function properly. They are responsible for a wide variety of tasks: they store troubleshooting solutions and applications, gather vast amounts of data, perform transactions, and enable us to communicate via our mobiles and video conferences. Professional data centers must be properly secure, both physically (security, monitoring, rights of access) and from a technical standpoint (adequate power management, cooling systems, appropriate server solutions). This all ensures that the customer at the other end of the system is serviced quickly and seamlessly. If all parts of the system function correctly, the customer does not even realize the magnitude of technical power that is necessary to perform a seemingly simple task. Thus, when choosing an online application – whether it’s an invoicing system, or email – it’s important to remember how the system was created, as well as where it is physically located, even if it’s based on cloud.

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