Sound bytes: Forbes CEOs debate future of IT

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Sound bytes: Forbes CEOs debate future of IT

Cloud, iPads and the future of the data centre.

Some of the world's most powerful business executives convened in Sydney yesterday at the Forbes CEO conference to discuss the future of business.

Of interest to IT professionals and those who sell IT solutions were the executives' views on emerging technologies from the tiny and personal smartphone and tablet computer to globe-spanning cloud computing platforms from the likes of Google.

Below is a curation of their thoughts on the changing forces reshaping the IT industry.

Cloud: IT's biggest wave
"Cloud computing is a bigger wave than any of the other previous waves. It fundamentally changes how information is held and processed. It's coming at a time, when coupled with economic conditions of past few years, where cost and capability have been really focused on. Cloud computing is much more efficient, much more agile and provides much more business value than any of the waves in the past."
- Bill Teuber, EMC vice chairman

Preparing for the data sprawl
"This year there will be more content created around the world, around 1.5 zettabytes [1,099,511,627,776 gigabytes]. In the next five years we will grow five to seven times what we have today. The key drivers are more and more content being created and carried, people will want it mobile any where and any time and a cloud provider that helps you put it all together. Health care will be a big driver, especially in the Western hemisphere, changing the dynamics of the industry."
- Amit Midha, Dell's South Pacific SMB president

 20 years of net growth
"When you look back on it, the interesting thing about the internet, even through the recession, it continues to grow at 60 to 70 percent a year. Everyone who understood and could see the underlying network behind it really understood this was a recession-proof industry and it will be for the next 20 years."
- Bill Barney, CEO Pacnet

Why Apple hates Flash
"Apple doesn't want Flash on the iPad in my view because of the data and who owns the data."
- Timothy Forbes, COO Forbes

Censorship and video sharing in China
"We have very fancy technology with finger printing and video DNA and stuff like that but in addition to that the most important thing is you need a pair of human eyes to make sure of certain things you have to make judgement about so we have to have a very good censorship team. Companies get built or broken because of their ability to censor very sensibly. To government or producers there's a very fine line we have to manage."
- Gary Wang, founder (China's biggest video-sharing site)

Employees taking leave is good sense
"If you look at the corporation and how to maintain productivity over a longer time there are three elements and one is constant education so there's congruence between the individual's objectives and the corporation's objectives; investing in people so that they can make the decisions that we need to have them make and to give them the accountability. Given that cycle times of decision making are shrinking, work life balance is very tough to achieve, Australians don't take their annual leave so we have to address that question and renewal of individuals and a broader concept of sabbaticals that go more extensively in organisations so employees can take time out. Human capital is important but are we ready to invest in sustained levels of education? We must make sure there aren't groups that are excluded and look at overall literacy rate and bring the average knowledge capability of the country up."
- Catherine Livingstone, Telstra chairman

No IP for your fridge without v6
One of the key challenges is we're running out of internet addresses. If we don't go to IPv6 quickly we'll eventually run out of the ability to give everyone an address."
- Bill Barney, CEO Pacnet

They might be giants
"It's a game of giants right now. Everybody wants to go end to end and that's exactly where you talk about Larry Ellison where two years ago he didn't want to be a hardware company now [he] wants the entire staff to be active at the back end. And you have historic low interest rates so you see a lot of tech companies go out to debt markets to fortify the balance sheet to give them additional firepower [in mergers and acquisitions]. Folks aren't worried about paying a couple hundred extra million [dollars] because a couple hundred extra million is just sitting on your balance sheet not doing anything for you."
- Bill Teuber, EMC vice chairman

User demand the death of Facebook?
"Anyone who lives here realises they have to pay metered services so if they want to download a video they have to pay extra above the broadband price. In the US because of the companies that went through restructuring, they've essentially had the internet for free for the last 10 years and we're going to have to pay for the internet over the next 10 years as applications become heavier users of bandwidth. It would definitely change the model [for social media services such as Facebook]. Your average user below the age of 40 no longer uses email - they use some form of social networking tool and each one of those social networking tools draws 10 times the amount of capacity of Yahoo! Mail or Microsoft Messenger. It will have a dramatic impact on the internet and how we interact with each other"
- Bill Barney, CEO Pacnet

Heating the data centre
"The next gen data centres would not even require air conditioning. They [operate] at 35 degrees and if you walk into a data centre and it feels cold and you have to put on a jacket I think we're running it too cool. We're wasting energy."
- Amit Midha, Dell's South Pacific SMB president

Mark Hurd
"HP's board in my opinion foolishly let a very high performing CEO leave for a triviality but he was quickly snapped up by Oracle."
- Rich Karlgaard, Forbes publisher

Linux king in the data centre
"Linux penetration has been going up even in the data centre. Data Centre linux now is replacing Risc or Unix-based system and that has been to Dell's advantage. We see now as much as 40 percent of data centres being built on open standards and Linux."
- Amit Midha , Dell's South Pacific SMB president

Slow road to the cloud
"It will take a while for [customers] to say now's the right time to take out this system that's not broken and put in something else. We're on the journey ourselves [EMC] and it's going to take us three years before we fully virtualise our data centre. It's a huge investment; we have to do it to show customers how it's done and demonstrate the benefits but not everyone will jump into it today."
- Bill Teuber, EMC vice chairman

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