SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Open Networking Summit — Vinod Khosla, a former Sun Micrososystems founder and Managing Partner at Khosla Ventures, dusted off a presentation from the optical bubble-era days of 2000. His message: We still don’t have engineering right.
As he did in 2000, Khosla made many references to the Cathedral and the Bazaar, a book by Eric Raymond detailing radically different ways to approach engineering. Khosla said the technology industry, and networking specialists need to “reegineer engineering” to adapt to a faster paced world.
The Chief Information Officer, said Khosla, faces many problems, such as lack of skilled labor, legacy technology, real-time change, operating expenses and capital expenses. The current system is flawed, says Khosla, because it should be focused on a way to design entire systems that adapt and manage themselves.
“We can no longer design things not to fail,” said Khosla. “We have to design things in small steps, instead of avoiding failure.”
The example Khosla gave was the human body. “We you cut off your finger you don’t fail, you adapt.”
This need is being driven by a technology world that is changing at a faster pace and has more challegnes for technology than ever, said Khosla. The world has become inherently unpredictable.
“Most of the workloads we will see in five years will be unpredicatble, and many of the workloads we are dealing with are unpredictable. Evolvability becomes much more important than optimizing for what your workload is today.
Khosla even dredged up old battles. He referenced the creation of Juniper Networks, in which he was an investor as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins, which helped Founder Pradeep Shindhu’s pioneering work to build an IP-based router to take on Cisco Systems.
“If Pradeep Sindhu hadn’t decided to re-engeineer TCP/IP, we would have wound up with an ATM Internet, he said referencing the now-legacy technology of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM).</p>
At the time, said Khosla, Cisco was already turning into a “fossilized dinosaur turd.”
So what’s next? Khosla said the most successful technology and networking companies will be those that engineer adaptable technology in emerging markets. He left the audience with these thoughts:
- The rate of change will accelerate
- Innovation will thrive
- Fun and fortunes will be in abundance
- Adaptability is the key to success
Seems like decent advice. Only it’s much harder to do in reality than it is on the Powerpoint slides.