As for the PCI and ASIC question, the answer will probably be dictated by economics. The PCI architecture has been around for quite some time. R&D dollars have been spent on this platform and not having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, will keep it around for plenty of time. I have no doubt that new technologies will continue to be developed and brought into the mainstream. However, you must consider the learning curves and R&D/time to market cycles.
I think the biggest advancements today are through the bandwidth that is being released with faster network infrastructures both in house and through the CLEC, ELEC and transport facilities. Broadband access is becoming the rule rather than the exception. New 10G technologies and the ability to run 1G to the desktop are going to drive demand for storage and servers regardless of platform as data is becoming far more accessible than in previous years. Work is under way on 10G over copper, with 10G over fiber already a standard. For the first time, software and application developers can focus more on their applications than on compression for their applications.
I think (again, my crystal ball) that applications in the coming years will be as different as the new video games are from the Atari. Networks will be converged with voice, video, security and building automation systems. The computer industry has reacted with blade servers and storage solutions. What they will look like in 5 years is really anybody's guess.
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