Fun Friday: Bandwidth, Bandwidth, Not Enough Bandwidth

According to JupiterResearch, bandwidth requirements for homes with wireless networks will increase from an average of 3 Mbps to 57 Mbps in 2009 (tech-heavy users like me will supposedly use more – 84 Mbps on average). The number of homes with wireless networks will also increase from 7.5 million this year to 34.3 million in 2009.

This increase, according to the study, is driven by an “expected upsurge in streaming digital media brought into the home”, requiring “centralized storage, management and synchronization of that media”. This seems an enormous business opportunity as we start moving towards a real global EtherSAN and Storage Networks universe.

“Consumers are beginning to shift their paradigms for Internet access, home networking and digital content management,” Julie Ask, a research director at JupiterResearch, said in a statement. “The number of consumer electronics devices using a wireless network in the home could explode over the next five years”.

All You Need is TCP – EtherSAN and Storage Networks, Part II

John Wakerly of Cisco was most kind in his comments – nice to get someone of his stature to read my paper (“All You Need is TCP: EtherSAN and Storage Networks“). His issue is latency. Time is money, right?

Both John Wakerly and Greg Pfister (who’s also come alive on this topic earlier this week) have the same issue, but are approaching it from different angles – with Greg, it’s geography, and with John I think it comes down to time. But I think it’s really the same answer, just like position is momentum, and energy is time.

John is right in saying that iscsi works. I don’t dispute that. It’s a good enough solution within the enterprise. And it was a very fast way to produce a product through reductionism. I approve of fast product cycles, since most of the time you’re just building the same thing with a small variation on the theme, so reductionism is the way I’d do it for a normal product cycle.

But the reason I did the paper was precisely because it’s about something that hasn’t happened yet – global network storage, so I’m not tied to reductionism. I’ve noticed when the slipshod send-it-again overallocate-the-bandwidth habits of the Internet meet the obsessive-compulsive control-freak tell-me-what-went-pop-and-fix-it-now enterprise, things just don’t seem to mesh right. So elements get thrown out and thrown in, depending on corner cases and product need. But that’s not really the way to get a spanning set across products – it only takes care of the current product crisis.

All You Need is TCP – EtherSAN and Global Network Storage

It’s been a bit difficult to write this month with a death in the family, a product launch (“Valux to focus on MinutePitch “) with a partner (), a paper (“Lessons Learned in Massive Video Production (MVP) for University Alumni Outreach“) for ACE2004 in Singapore last month (at the same time as the death, sigh), a wedding, and a funeral. So I’m only now looking at some serious comments regarding my earlier paper (“All You Need is TCP: EtherSAN and Storage Networks“) for the global storage workshop.

Greg Pfister of IBM, Mr. “In Search of Clusters”, was kind enough to provide some feedback on the paper. His questions were to the point – I needed to explain better 1) “What is an EtherSAN?” and 2) “Why Should I care? As he said “Answer those two questions. It can be done in 6 pages. It can be done, in fact, in one page.” So here it is, in a page for everyone who asked me this.

Ethersan is unique in being a single, comprehensive technology object, used in processors, networks and peripherals, whose expression in each is different, yet each uses the same mechanism from a different perspective. Like Intel’s Pentium, the same core can be expressed with strikingly different products, yet is the same core.

All You Need is TCP: EtherSAN and Storage Networks

It’s always fun trying to get feedback on a paper due to be talked up few days later, but that’s always seems to be the way it is, at least for the UMN DISC Intelligent Storage Workshop coming up next week.

Anyway, what’s the paper about? The idea is think of the big Internet as being your storage channel. Getting the world to work like, say, fibrechannel, but you don’t use fibrechannel or some specialized separate network. Nope, we just use a really really low-latency layer1-4 dataflow processing mechanism but like Billy Joel would say “it’s still TCP to me”.