In order to see the evolution of ITAC, I have decided to use a fictitious story around a startup called AntiGravity. These days Azure and AWS are very generous when it comes to supporting promising startups and both grant a free multi-year subscription to such startups so it makes absolute sense for an early-stage startup to build its IT in the cloud rather than burning personal funds to buy physical hardware.
Let’s begin with telling the exciting story of AntiGravity. John was one of those people who used to lock himself days and nights in the lab using pounds of chuck writing loads of mathematical equations around gravitational waves on the huge blackboard. Being a PhD student at the physics department of MIT, this was not considered abnormal by any means. However, what made John unique was the experiment he did on that cold early morning at his lab in Cambridge. That night it snowed pretty heavily and made the entire city white which also shut down the T red line that John used to take to get home. When John finally got out of his lab around 6AM to figure out how to get to home without any public transportation, he could not believe what he saw: there was no snow around his lab for a radius of 50 feet. All the snow was floating in the air instead. He almost fainted when he suddenly figured out what had happened. He had discovered how to generate pseudogravity waves in his labs which had kept the snow in the air. The next few months he felt really overwhelmed by the sheer amount of interest and intrusion he got exposed to from all around the world.
Finally after a year when things went a bit quiet and he successfully defended his dissertation on anti-gravitational wave, on a beautiful day in early August he met with his best undergrad friend Megan in the Philz Coffee in San Fransisco who had started working at Microsoft Research after graduating from Stanford. After having the first sip of his coffee, John started the conversation by talking about his grand vision: I want to build a city floating in the sky that could save humanity from natural disasters like earthquake and flooding forever. Megan smiled, held John hand firmly, and said “let do it”. The week after John and Megan started working at their startup called PseudoGravity or PG for short. John, the CEO, was in charge of building a prototype that could hold a car in the sky while Megan, the CTO, was in charge of programming and IT. They required to perform a massive amount of data analysis to build an accurate mathematical model used to keep the objects balanced in the sky. They also required a lot of wireless sensors connected to the floating objects to control their position in the air. The stream of data collected from sensors was connected to the big data server via an IoT solution. Finally they needed to design a central system which they called “the brain” to calculate the position of objects to avoid collision. Given the amount of hardware needed to run all the components, Rose decided to build their IT on the cloud. A few weeks after applying to Azure BizSpark – Azure’s startup program – PG was granted a 5-year free subscription on Azure.
Such an inspiring story already entices me to leave ITAC completely aside and just focus on finishing the PG story. However, I am going to work on both as the same time. We will see how ITAC evolves to define PG’s IT department from a two-people startup to an organization with more than 10,000 employees and 20 departments all over the world. As the startup grows and requires more IT assets to support its growth, I am expecting to see ITAC evolve smoothly in parallel. Also as we move along, I try to build tools that can be used to build the organization on the cloud and also transition it to the next step as it evolves.
Although not as exciting and grandiose of a vision as John’s, my vision is also a long shot since I am trying to build a theory with tangible assets to systematically design, build, and run an IT department at any size in the cloud.