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Do We Need Another New Operating System? By @ABridgwater | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

We are of course on the cusp of a well-known software firm being about to release its new operating system

With the advent (or surge in popularity) of cloud computing, our use of the so-called ‘computer operating system' is coming into question.

Given that the cloud exists on the back end to drive power to our ‘endpoint' devices (in whatever form they may be) today, the way those devices handle the user experience comes down to the user interface almost as much as it does the operating system, or so the argument goes.

A well-known operating system
That being said, we are of course on the cusp of a well-known software firm being about to release its new operating system and it will come in a whole host of flavors.

Microsoft's Tony Prophet has recently gone on the record to explain that his team has designed Windows 10 to deliver a more personal computing experience across a range of devices.

"An experience optimized for each device type, but familiar to all. Windows 10 will power an incredibly broad range of devices - everything from PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and Surface Hub," said Prophet.

In practice, this means we will see Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise. Even Microsoft has explained that there will be "no more versions" of Windows under the current plans... and that updates will follow a much more regular cadence - but one suspects that this simply means there will be no more version numbers.

Welcome to the Machine
Hewlett-Packard isn't shirking away from the opportunity to enter the still-fluid operating system market it appears. The firm's research division says it is developing a new piece of technology known as The Machine.

The inspiration for this development says HP is that much of our approach to computing today originates back in the 1940s - and, today, we are still essentially computing on top of the fabric of those initial engineering precepts and designs.

This new project sets out to create something that is far more energy-efficient and powerful than current offerings.

Unchallenged old models
The company is describing this project in grandiose terms saying that it is preparing to discard a computing model that has "stood unchallenged" for 60 years and that it is "poised" to leave 60 years of compromises and inefficiencies behind. We're pushing the boundaries of the physics behind IT, using electrons for computation, photons for communication, and ions for storage says the firm.

"The Machine will fuse memory and storage, flatten complex data hierarchies, bring processing closer to the data, embed security control points throughout the hardware and software stacks, and enable management and assurance of the system at scale. The Machine will reinvent the fundamental architecture of computers to enable a quantum leap in performance and efficiency, while lowering costs over the long term and improving security," said HP.

The problem we face is the race to what we can call "fast persistent memory" and the need to provide it in the face of ever more real time application needs - although some would argue that concurrency and parallelism in programming gets around part of this problem.

As BusinsessWeek recently surmised on this story, "HP's bet is the memristor, a nanoscale chip that Labs researchers must build and handle in full anticontamination clean-room suits. At the simplest level, the memristor consists of a grid of wires with a stack of thin layers of materials such as tantalum oxide at each intersection. When a current is applied to the wires, the materials' resistance is altered, and this state can hold after the current is removed. At that point, the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory - enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data - into a computer."

Is there stuff and nonsense or substance here? The Machine is HP Labs' biggest project so one would imagine that, as a company that makes a lot of computers, there may be something here. We will have to wait until 2016 to see a working prototype, so hold that in memory if you can.

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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