19 October 2012
Meeting the challenges of the data deluge gap
We live in an increasingly connected world, a world generating a massive amount of data that is growing at a faster rate than current investments in IT can support. The difference between the available investment and what is required to support current data growth has given rise to what I call the 'data deluge gap'.
This situation is compounded by a tremendous expansion in mobile network traffic. Significant numbers of smart devices such as smartphones and tablets are becoming connected and accessing and creating data through a wide variety of mobile applications. No wonder some people are predicting more than 50billion devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2020 – a mere eight years away.
That data could have tremendous value, economically and socially, if it is managed properly. Whether in high speed financial trading, inventory control and management, medical imaging or just sharing friend to friend over social networks, data is core to daily living.
How can we shrink the data deluge gap?
The big challenge in shrinking the data deluge gap is ensuring there are no major bottlenecks slowing networks and maintaining a quality of service that is consistent with user expectations. System architects in data centres and mobile networks are under pressure to find ways to use more of the available data and unlock value, even as they grapple with the challenge of slower growth in budgets and IT spending allied to technology scaling that lags behind the amount of data and traffic being created.
But it's not just a concern for system architects, it affects just about everyone. At an individual level, shrinking the gap will give users faster access to personal data, more secure storage of all types of data, high quality video and the productivity benefits that greater network access can provide.
This presents a significant growth opportunity for businesses with products that add the intelligence critical to improve application performance while providing faster and more efficient networks. As well as software solutions, this also extends to silicon and chip based products. Companies like LSI are helping customers store information, accelerate its flow across enterprise and mobile networks, and access and extract critical value from their data.
Acceleration and intelligence are key
The first challenge is to keep the speed up even as the volume increases exponentially. This requires bringing acceleration to systems to make sure the speed matches the desire to use the data. The focus is on driving out latency, the painful time you wait for a webpage to load or an ATM transaction to complete. E-commerce companies measure the cost to the business of latency effects – in other words, what happens if a customer waits too long – in dollars per second. There is huge value to be gained in accelerating access to data.
The second challenge is to make data centres and networks that share and provide access to the data more intelligent. Smart systems are able to prioritise data because they understand how it will be used and recognise the most valuable parts. They have to make these decisions in microseconds.
Intelligence also brings the ability to monitor and manage traffic to minimise congestion and ensure information that needs to be secured has the proper level of security. To do so, it provides the ability to inspect and sort data to identify threats that might be hiding inside the packets zipping across the network. This intelligence can also help operators bill for various different types of mobile service.
We live in exciting times
Data is becoming more and more valuable to any business. Closing the data deluge gap is an ambitious undertaking which is driving huge IT growth and innovation around the world. This is an exciting time for our industry and one which will help to define the future of data centres and mobile networking.
Abhi Talwalkar is president and ceo of LSI.