Martin of Telepocalypse writes about PlanetLab:
Theres a stupid network spin to this. Instead of the stupid network connecting smart devices, it ends up connecting smart virtual devices. What that means is that the next wave of decentralisation is being hatched.
The Internet grew from the ARPANET et al. Planetlab is to Internet Mk2 as ARPANET was to Internet Mk1. Its an embryonic version of a future phenomenon. Lets say PlanetLab is commercialised, and also grows like the Mk1 Internet. Taken to an the same extreme, you can imagine there wouldnt be data centres filled with expensive fire supression systems and redundant power supplies. You just smear your data and processing across the virtual computing environment and let the natural redundancy of the Internet deal with the consequences of danger and disaster.
So if youre looking for futures giants of data storage or application serving, itll probably come out of an initiative very much like this. Instead of hording data processing or computing power behind the corporate moat, the next iteration will turn that world inside out the power will truly be at the edges. Some of the winners of the first waves of client decentralisation (Sun, Oracle, BEA, etc.) are likely to be hurt by this wave of server decentralisation. Probably too early to rejig your portfolio (and too late if you hold Sun stock). But one to watch.
Imagine if every corporation you dealt with had to store your data in a virtual data store under your own control? I look forward to the day!