Only five computers?: network level computing

Greg Papadopoulos, Sun's CTO, has a nice blog entry playing on the remark that Thomas J Watson is sometimes reported to have made about the world needing only five computers.

He says yes, the world will only need five computers.

Let's see, the Google grid is one. Microsoft's live.com is two. Yahoo!, Amazon.com, eBay, Salesforce.com are three, four, five and six. (Well, that's O(5) ;)) Of course there are many, many more service providers but they will almost all go the way of YouTube; they'll get eaten by one of the majors. And, I'm not placing any wagers that any of these six will be one of the Five Computers (nor that, per the above examples, they are all U.S. West Coast based --- I'll bet at least one, maybe the largest, will be the Great Computer of China).
I'm just saying that there will be, more or less, five hyperscale, pan-global broadband computing services giants. There will be lots of regional players, of course; mostly, they will exist to meet national needs. That is, the network computing services business will look a lot like the energy business: a half-dozen global giants, a few dozen national and/or regional concerns, followed by wildcatters and specialists. [Greg Matter : Weblog]
And he goes on to note how Sun might play in this world:
Our bet (meaning Sun's) is that, like the energy, transportation, telecommunications and power utility businesses, most of these companies will realize that they can become even more efficient if they rely upon a few, highly competitive and deeply technical infrastructure suppliers (think GE, Siemens, ABB for power systems, Boeing and Airbus for commercial aircraft, Ericsson, Nortel, Lucent/Alcatel, Nokia for telecom, etc.). [Greg Matter : Weblog]
Blog entry via Thom.

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