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Although I’ve spent many years traveling back and forth to Silicon Valley from my days in the semiconductor industry, on my most recent trip I was able to spend an evening and a day in my old college town of Santa Clara, CA. I was there to attend IDC Directions, the 2014 installment of an annual event covering the current and future state of the IT and computer industry. The theme of this year’s event was Transformation Everywhere: Battles for Leadership in the 3rd Platform Era.

The 3rd Platform describes the current period following the several decades since the beginning of computing: Mainframes and Terminals, the 1st Platform and Client/Server, the 2nd Platform. The 3rd platform is built on the 4 pillars of Mobile, Cloud, Big Data and Social Technologies. The foundation was laid for the 3rd platform with the first shipments of iPhones, which is also about the same time the market started to embrace modern cloud computing. This powerful combination of scalable computing with mobile technologies has been transforming society and industries at a breathtaking pace. We are innovating at a scale and speed the world has never seen before.

One of the particularly interesting themes from Frank Gens morning talk at IDC Directions was data as the “new gravity” in computing. Rather than orienting data to the computers, with cloud, we can orient computers to the data. This is driving change in the way we develop and deploy applications, ushering in cloud-centric models for to replace aging methodologies. According to IDC, there will be a 10x growth in new cloud apps worth about $20B by 2017. These apps are being created by close to 18 million professional and hobbyist developers, swelling the cloud developer community by 3x over the next few years.

And, while many believe the above all leads to the commoditization of cloud infrastructure, Frank contends that this is not the case. Instead, he argues, there will be innovation in infrastructure to cater to the myriads of specialized workloads that will be running in the cloud.

As cloud providers, then, we must continue to invest in growing not just scale, but also platform capabilities that simplify deploying powerful cloud applications. In our case at Nimbix, we built our JARVICE platform to support three primary workflow components in high performance computing: Build, Compute, and Visualize.

Build functionality enables software and application developers to implement and capture their environments in the Nimbix Accelerated Compute Cloud. Compute is the run-time API call that lets users and consumers simply “execute” applications, while Visualize avails 3D graphical environments for data interpretation and post processing.

The result of the JARVICE architecture is a cloud platform that revolves around data as the new gravity. It enables unique heterogeneous hardware bringing new tools to developers, and a framework that makes it easy to both develop and consume high performance, parallel computing applications in the cloud.

So as we continue to warp through the 3rd Platform era in computing, JARVICE is leading the way for high performance cloud application developers. Perhaps at a not-so-distant future IDC Directions conference, we will all be talking about the 4th platform era, whatever that may be.