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In the book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil introduces The Law of Time and Chaos. 


The Law of Time and Chaos:  In a process, the time interval between salient events (i.e., events that change the nature of the process, or significantly affect the future of the process) expands or contracts along with the amount of chaos.



This “Law” can easily be applied to workload automation.  If you are using multiple different solutions for managing your scheduled workloads, one can see that they can “change the nature of the process or significantly affect the future of the process.”   By introducing multiple solutions into a single automation process, you have no integration and introduce manual work efforts or are creating inefficient integration points by working to get technologies and processes to work together, even though that was not the original intent or design.


As workload automation has become more sophisticated over the last decade, many data centers have continued to evolve their workload automation solution by adding on tools for new platforms (like Linux, Virtual Machines, and Clouds) and new functions (such as adding application work, file transfers, etc.).  Most data centers today run a mix of vendor tools and manual scripts.  At a time when service delivery is essential, this is a risky route to go as it does not provide an efficient automation process, nor does it provide the basis for a highly scalable solution for the future.


According to Kurzweil, The Law of Time and Chaos leads to one of two very different paths – The Law of Increasing Chaos and The Law of Accelerating Returns.

The Law of Increasing Chaos:  As chaos exponentially increases, time exponentially slows down (i.e., the time interval between salient events grows longer as time passes).

The Law of Accelerating Returns:  As order exponentially increases, time exponentially speeds up (i.e., the time interval between salient events grows shorter as time passes).

Today, every data center has the option of going down the path of “The Law of Accelerating Returns” by running a single workload automation solution that offers a single view of all workloads in the enterprise.  An integrated solution –one designed to work that way – offers “order” and reduces the time interval between salient events.  As The Law Of Accelerating Returns states, you now have the efficiencies and scalability needed for service delivery and future growth.  


Which path are you taking in The Law of Time and Chaos for your workload automation – The Law of Increasing Chaos or The Law of Accelerating Returns?

Robin Reddick

When IT Was Simple

Posted by Robin Reddick Mar 1, 2012
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It’s hard to believe in today’s extreme information age that there was a time when computers (and very expensive ones) lived an 8 to 5 existence.  There was plenty of time for maintenance and the “batch window” was used to handle maintenance activities and overnight processing with little to no critical time constraint. 


One of my first jobs in IT was in 1977 working for a state bank.  (And by the way, IT was called “Data Processing” then.)  The bank used to process all of the checks at 8:00 p.m.  Processing typically took a few hours.  Then in the morning, all of the checks that were drawn on other local banks were boxed up and carried to the Clearinghouse where representatives from the local banks exchanged boxes of checks, balanced ledgers, and took their checks back to their respective banks for processing that evening.


It was simple, tidy and predictable.


Then Gordon Moore’s law became a reality and we acquired more computing capacity and power at an increasingly rapid rate.   Add to that the advent of the internet and global enterprises and business became a 24x7x365 operation with a mixture of real-time and scheduled processing.

Gartner states that well over half of the processing done today is still scheduled.  Scheduled processing has become complex, and is typically a workflow that consists of many jobs that have dependencies.  What hasn’t changed is the need for scheduled processing to be completed within a specific time period – service level agreements.


In the 1970’s scheduled processing was called “batch work” and was scheduled by date and time.  As distributed systems became commonplace in data centers, the terminology was changed to job scheduling.  And as the scheduled work became more complex and crossed computing platforms, workload automation solutions came into being with the ability to schedule work based on events and service levels and with the ability to manage the workflows across platforms.


The story about how ME Bank performs their check processing -- or should I say ATM processing in this age of electronic transaction -- provides a good contrast to just how far "batch work" has come and why the technology has transformed to what we now know as workload automation.


You can read the ME Bank Story here.





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It's amazing what I.T. was meant to be.