Cloud Computing – The Ultimate Wave (Part 2 of 3)
By Brian Shellabarger
This is part 2 in a 3-part series. Read part one here: Force #1: Highly Efficient Data Centers
Force #2: The Bandwidth Explosion
Compute time isn’t the only thing rapidly dropping in price. We’re on the verge of a pricing revolution in the bandwidth world as well, both at the transit / backbone level, as well as the mobile edge.
Few mobile users today would tell you that they are satisfied with the speed of their “high speed” mobile data service, and it’s no secret that 3G has failed to deliver the kind of productivity needed to truly enable a mobile workforce. However, 4G mobile networks (such as Motorola’s LTE technology) at full deployment should enable 8x the capacity of current 3G networks at less than 20% of the price over the long run. As carriers complete the rollout of their 4G networks and turn them up to full capacity over the next few years, you’ll see a steady decrease in the price of mobile data, combined with an enormous increase in speed.
The really interesting part of the bandwidth revolution, however, is taking place behind the scenes. Most Internet backbone connections are deployed at 10G. In a few cases, high-capacity backbone links have been upgraded to 40G. At these sizes, carriers are currently bursting at the seams as new demand emerges from voice, video, and other high-demand applications.
Fortunately, it’s not a matter of laying down new fiber in the ground to solve the problem. Simply upgrading existing transport hardware can solve the problem, and we’ve finally reached a point where the “cost per bit” of moving our existing 10G and 40G networks to 100G has reached parity with existing technology, and the price will only drop from here. This means 10x more capacity at most backbone interconnects, and a significant price decrease for the average bandwidth consumer over the next few years.
Why is this important? Businesses have often argued that moving many types of workloads off-premise introduces significantly more costs, since bandwidth capacity had to be upgraded to maintain an acceptable end-user experience. (Voice and video fall into this category). As the cost of the pipe becomes less relevant, the movement of workloads into the cloud can only accelerate.