Dumb terminals: SAAS is old thinking

Caterpillar World!
Originally uploaded by jonthegeologist

I remember when I started at University way back in 1991, the campus had hundreds of dumb terminals so that students could access their email and other services. They were truely dumb: no hard drive to speak of and little software loaded — all of that was elsewhere on the network.

Sounds familiar?

Yes, I think so. Recent announcements, such as those by Microsoft, demonstrate the latest direction that corporations are taking to service their IT needs. Instead of taking software and hosting it on their own networks, many companies are embracing SAAS : Software as a Service. Host it on their networks, access it via browsers much like you would a website, or like those early dumb terminals.

We don’t often see IT coming full circle!

We also take it for granted that software produced by a single company, such as Microsoft, will interact seamlessly. By and large, they do. But what I’m becoming increasingly aware of is that handshaking, that commonality being extended to websites that are not owned by single entities.

For example, you might be reading this posting in Facebook. You might be reading it on imjon.com, my wordpress blog. However, I actually wrote this post in Flickr! and simply exploit the connectivity to write once and post in many locations.

Clever, simple, connected. Not something you might imagine from three independent companies.