Product Launch

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E95: Virtualization Changed Everything

Back in the mid 2000s we were panicked that data centers would run out of capacity to run applications.

Then technology called virtualization was invented that changed everything (including the teams that managed it).

Let’s talk about how this story may help us predict how technical teams may change due to the advancement of AI in product development.

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Episode Transcript
Hey folks, Sean here and today what I want to tell you about is the story of how a technology called virtual.  eliminated a entire crisis that we were expecting back in the mid two thousands. So back then I was working in data centers, and if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, data centers are where all the server infrastructure lives.

It manages and runs the applications we use every day. So back then technology was a little bit more static and required a lot more management. Now what we were worried about was that we were running outta capacity in that we didn’t have enough servers. We didn’t have enough air conditioning to cool those servers.

We also didn’t have enough space to physically put those servers. We had all these capacity constraints and we were really concerned that we weren’t gonna solve this problem. Didn’t seem to have a very straightforward or easy solution, so we were a little panicked there. We couldn’t rack mount servers fast enough in order to keep up with the demand for infrastructure to run the applications that we needed to run for our customers.

So ultimately, what happened? Well, along the way, technology was invented around that timeframe, referred to as virtualization, which enabled us to go from. , the physical construct that was each server to creating this concept of a virtual server, which you may or may not be familiar with, which is basically like you can pull together the resources from the infrastructure, and then you can create virtual instances of the server.

So from one physical server you can make. Theoretically an unlimited number of virtual servers. It really just depends on the amount of resources the server itself has, which enabled us to then consolidate the hardware and the infrastructure. And ultimately what this led to was a reversal of this trend of just consuming more resources and requiring expansion and.

All this crazy investment and new building and construction and all that kind of stuff. It don’t, it didn’t just slow down. It actually reversed itself and data centers started to shrink. So what was wild was where we thought we were gonna be needing new buildings and stuff like that. We ended up having empty rows where servers used to be

We were able to literally take them out because we didn’t need them anymore. The software was that efficient. It was an exponential improvement and an evolution technologically. So why am I telling you this story? . The point of this story was really about how teams change that were expected to manage all of this operation.

The skills that were in demand previously, which was managing all of the hardware, ultimately became commoditized and fell out of favor, and in became a significantly higher demand for folks to better understand how to manage the software so we could figure out how to leverage these new tools and resources to the best of their capabilities.

As such, the demand really shifted there in terms.  what we needed skills-wise and how those teams changed. Now, the reason why that’s relevant is because I believe.  should. It provides a good example of something we’re on the precipice of, again, which is the invention of new technology and a new wave that’s about to change technical teams, that being AI with the invention of tools like chat, G p T from open ai now.

Because of what these tools are capable of, it’s going to eliminate significant bottlenecks in product development, in my opinion, and significantly speed up our ability to build features, create applications, even spin up entire companies. It’s gonna be a real game changer, and that’s gonna change how technical teams evolve.

So whether your team is ready for it or not, these changes are coming and they’re gonna make big changes to how product development is managed and what those teams look like. So you need to be ready.