ITPRC News - October, 2001
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ITPRC NEWS - October 2001 -

Hope Is A Good Thing
By Irwin Lazar

In the classic Stephen King movie "The Shawshank Redemption," lead character Andy Dufresne is faced with the horrible prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. He notes that he has only once choice "Get busy living, or get busy dying." Given the terrible still-unbelievable events of September 11, many of us are faced with the same choice. It is often difficult to go back and focus on the everyday tasks such as managing data networks, designing systems, or creating products and services. For many of us, our thoughts are elsewhere and instead we are overcome by emotions such as fear, uncertainty, anger, or desperation. In these troubled times the one emotion that often gets lost is hope. As Andy noted to "Red" Redding, "hope is a good thing, perhaps the best of things." With a strong reliance on hope, I try this month to return a focus to data networking by outlining the things I hope for in the coming months.

I hope that competition returns to the market place. The last year, even before the events of 9/11, has been challenging for even the best managed IT company. We’ve seen colossal failures of business plans that were once thought bulletproof. We’ve seen promising companies and ideas fall by the wayside due to a variety of factors. I hope that we see a return to solid business ideals, the ones taught by every MBA program in the country, ideals that up until a year or so ago seemed so out of date. I hope we see companies build their businesses based on providing value while slowly, profitably, expanding instead of rapid build-outs based on large debt accumulation. I hope we see companies properly manage cash flow, instead of treating venture funding like it is a gift with no strings attached. I hope we see companies build solid business cases before going to market. I hope we see all this, so that new ideas, new growth, and new excitement can once again return to the IT market.

I hope we see the benefits of fiber to the last mile. I hope the United States follows the lead set by many other countries and sets a national goal of fiber to all homes and businesses by 2010. Achieving this goal could do for the U.S. economy what the national highway system did in the 1950’s. There are a world of exciting and innovate service ideas hanging out there for the taking, but all require high-speed access that for most homes and businesses either doesn’t exist or is still exhorbently expensive. I hope that this fiber build-out provides end-users with so much bandwidth that it will cause us to look back on the days of cable and DSL as we today look back on the days of 300-baud modems.

I hope we finally figure out a way to end the scourge of denial of service attacks and worms. I hope that each day no longer brings us the news of a new worldwide attack that has taken down tens of thousands of computers and servers. I hope that we implement tools, systems and protocols to mitigate the results of these attacks while making them impossible to carry out without detection. I hope ending these attacks will allow the Internet to realize even greater potential.

I hope we end client-side software once and for all. I hope the days of spending hours and hours troubleshooting Windows problems come to a crashing end (pun intended). I hope we no longer have to spend valuable time rebooting, recovering, and patching from crashes, system freezes, and other application failures. I hope I see a day where I never again have to install a piece of software on my own computer.

I hope we once and for all create a workable system of micro-payments for the Internet. I hope that by doing so, we can usher in a whole new era of web-based services by finally creating a workable business model for profitability. I hope that this era is coupled with the end, and I mean END, of pop-ups, pop-unders, and ever other kind of annoying web advertising technique we currently see.

I hope the downturn of the last year has hit bottom and that we are poised for a rebound that will cause our industry to once again be the shining star of the global economy. I hope that opportunity for technologies such as wireless, along with geographic expansion of IT services to under-served markets will act as the drivers for this growth.

Finally, I hope that the good that came out of the events of 9/11 will stay with us. That we will continue to pull together, help each other out, and do whatever is best for the common good of the world. I hope that the unity we feel within the United States is permanent. I hope that it provides the catalyst for a future that is far better than our past in which we are only limited by our ability to dream.

I hope......

Irwin Lazar is a Senior Consultant for The Burton Group where he focuses on strategic planning and network architecture for Fortune 500 enterprises as well as large service providers. He is the conference director for MPLScon and runs The MPLS Resource Center   and The Information Technology Professional's Resource Center

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