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Has the Operating System Become a Modern Day Utility?

As
we make the shift to the cloud era, computing’s traditional
building blocks are increasingly abstracted away. This is fueled by
the advent of hypervisors, virtual machines, public clouds, and

As
we make the shift to the cloud era, computing’s traditional
building blocks are increasingly abstracted away. This is fueled by
the advent of hypervisors, virtual machines, public clouds, and
application containers. Despite being 
roughly sixty
years old
 and
existing in an industry that sees tectonic shifts at least once a
decade, the operating system remains a rock solid foundation and the
underpinning of modern information technology. Why is it that this
core building block will not quietly go away?

The
functions that the operating system provides are critical to
computing – as long as there are systems with memory to manage, I/O
to arbitrate, processes to schedule, and storage or networks with
which to interface, the operating system remains vital.

Does
abstracting the operating system make these functions less important?

While
we do not notice the electricity and water that sustain our homes and
office buildings every day, no one would dare say that they are
irrelevant. As the sources for these and other utilities have been
abstracted, we’ve grown accustomed to their availability; we take
them for granted.

The
operating system has also evolved to become such a 
utility.
It is pervasive and ubiquitous, and we don’t notice it because it
just works.Critical not only to the function of enterprise IT, the
operating system lies at the core of our daily lives, serving as the
underlying force of IT consumerization. The operating system is
everywhere – it is in our mobile phones, 
our
cars
,
our smart DVD players, and 
our thermostats.
IDC predicts that there “
will
be approximately 212 billion ‘things’ globally by the end of
2020
”,
including a large percentage of intelligent systems that will be
installed and collecting data across consumer and enterprise
applications. The operating system helps us to control and connect
with the Internet of Things around us.

And
let’s not forget the application, which needs an operating system
to provide system services as well as linkage to its dependencies —
the required software libraries, run time components, and device
drivers. The application may be king, but the operating system is its
castle – providing the foundation, the resources, and the security
for the application to thrive.

Those
who claim that the operating system is irrelevant are trying to shift
your focus from this critical technology because it’s in their best
interest to do so. Beer manufacturers will point out that 
drinking
beer after exercise will hydrate you 
slightly
better
 than
water
 –
of course, 
beer
is 95% water
.

Regardless
of technical advancements, the operating system remains at the core
of enterprise computing. It is here to stay, and will forever be
foundational to our interconnected world.

 

 

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