domingo, 31 de mayo de 2009

Tanenbaun was right about the limits of bandwidth

It is a well known joke between the internet geeks that there is no faster and more reliable way of delivering data than storing on a external device at origin and then take the car and go to destination to load them. No ADSLs (2 or 2+), not even optical fibre to the home, just the biggest mass storage system you have and traditional transport.

When I first read that comparison was in a text book (written by Andrew S. Tanenbaun) titled "Computer Networks" (ISBN 0-13-066102-3) . I was a freshman engineering student and state-of-the-art modems where then 9600 bps in Spain. I think the Megabyte had not yet been invented and it was sort of a mythological concept. In those dark times (1993), it was indeed true and even exchanging floppy disks was faster than the internet but we all thought that it was just a matter of time.

Well, again I could not have been more mistaken. This joke, has recently become a business. Amazon launched (still in beta) a new service called AWS Import/Export which basically implements the delivering of big amounts of data onto or off the cloud bypassing the Internet. That is to say, using the postal system!!!

Amazon argues that for significant data sets, AWS Import/Export is faster than Internet transfer and more cost effective than upgrading connectivity. In my opinion Amazon's new service says a lot about the state of the network and about what can be expected from its improvement in the near future.

Sadly, Tanenbaun was right about bandwidth, and postal service has officially become a new network operator with this peering agreement with Amazon. :)

No hay comentarios: