Monday, March 28, 2011

What's Driving Demand For Bandwidth .... Storage Ability Or Inexpensive Access?

Demand for bandwidth is coming as a result of demand for certain services. (Video, for example)

With increased demand, costs are dropping as manufacturing of TB drives, larger bandwidth switches, etc hit economies of scale.

Demand comes first in my view.

The storage and bandwidth are the easy part, relatively speaking of course. As long as there is healthy competition (plus consumer and corporate demand) in the storage and telecom markets both the cost, density, and amount of data that we can securely store and efficiently move from point A to point B will continue to improve exponentially, and probably with some significant breakthroughs in either, or both, that within the next decade will exceed the current thinking of most people in the field.

There are already technologies in what I call the “breakthrough category” that are in use today, but not have made their way into the main stream commercial markets.

That said, the catch-up field, imho, is in the computational dynamics, for analyzing and sifting through massive non-static data pools. This will involve greater leaps in parallelism and distributed computing to bring down the cost and make its usage fully transparent to the consumer. The cost involved in providing I/O or real compute power is not as cheap as storage or bandwidth, this is where the technology needs to focused, otherwise all of the data storage is for naught or possibly backup, stuff hanging around in a closet that you can’t really use.

As we talk about terabytes in the same manner that we talked about megabytes, and are now talking about petabytes the way we use to refer to gigabytes, the need to perform computational, sophisticated search and linguistics functions across both structured, semi-structured and unstructured data in order to yield useful information increases and if you need 400 blade servers to process commands or 24 hours to yield results, well that just won’t cut it in today’s world.

Everything has to simultaneously become smarter in order to be effective, storage and bandwidth are core technologies, we need a couple of software layers, and smarter computing efficiencies to make use of the data that we can now store and move.

On the other hand, convenience is also ahe driving factor. It is a parasitic cycle based on ease of access. X company sells a device/connection that has faster access, Y company finds faster access means they can sell bigger bandwidth utilizing products, Z company sees a market opportunity by offering faster connections to Y's product, the cycle continues endlessly. The thing that sustains the drive is the customers convenience factor. More bandwidth means more possibilities means larger file transfers which require larger bandwidth. You can start with either more bandwidth intensive applications, or with faster access, and will end up with the same result. As long as the two are convenient to the customer, they will sustain a parasitic cycle.

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