Archive for the 'Information' Category

Welcome to the Zettabyte Era

ZBWelcome to the Zettabyte Era

In the last few years, a company that you might not think of when it comes to data centers and big data has made some dramatic changes in their strategy and offering: Cisco Systems. The company that for years has been the first name in networking has made some big bets and taken some risky initiatives to go from “the network is the platform” to the #2 blade server vendor, tied with IBM behind HP. This gives them a huge presence in the data center in terms of both network as well as computing.

This gives Cisco a unique perspective on where the industry is going, and where the market is poised to go, even in the next few years — especially in the use of Internet traffic.

Here are some key predictions from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index and an infographic that captures this picture of the future. Can you guess what is the #1 driver of Internet Protocol use? Next year it’s expected to surpass 50% of consumer Internet traffic. Read below:


By 2015:

  • Global Internet Protocol traffic: 1 zettabyte, which is equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes.
  • Growth of global Internet traffic: 4X or 32% annual growth, and reaching 966 exabytes per year.
  • Number of network-connected devices: +15 billion, twice the world’s population.


  • Increase of Internet traffic between 2014 and 2015: 200 exabytes, greater than the total amount of Internet Protocol traffic generated globally in 2010.

Drivers of global IP traffic growth:

  1. An increasing number of devices: Proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart machines drives demand for connectivity.
  2. More Internet users: By 2015, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users, more than 40% of the world’s projected population.
  3. Faster broadband speed: Average fixed broadband speed expected to increase 4X, from 7 megabits per second in 2010 to 28 Mbps in 2015.
  4. More video: By 2015, 1 million video minutes –the equivalent of 674 days –will traverse the Internet every second.

Total Global IP Traffic in “Bytes”:

  • Global IP traffic:
    • 2010: 20.2 exabytes per month
    • 2015: 80.5 exabytes per month
  • Average global IP traffic in 2015: 245 terabytes per second, equivalent to 200 million people streaming an HD movie (1.2 Mbps) simultaneously every day.

Regional Trends:

  • By 2015, the Asia Pacific region will generate the most IP traffic — 24.1 exabytes per month — surpassing last year’s leader, North America (22.3 exabytes per month), for the top spot.
  • The fastest-growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period (2010 – 2015) are the Middle East and Africa (which had a 52% compound annual growth rate, for an 8X growth), surpassing last year’s leader Latin America (48% CAGR, 7X  growth).

#1 Growth Driver: Consumer Video

  • Global online video community will increase by approximately 500 million users by 2015, up from more than 1 billion Internet video users in 2010.

Global Device Growth:

  • In 2010, PCs generated 97% of consumer Internet traffic. This will fall to 87% by 2015, demonstrating the impact that devices like tablets, smartphones and connected TVs are having on how consumers access and use the Internet.
  • Web-enabled TVs access to the Internet continues to grow and by 2015, 10% of global consumer Internet traffic and 18% of Internet video traffic will be consumed via TVs.

3DTV and HD (Advanced Video)

  • Global advanced video traffic, including three-dimensional (3-D) and high-definition TV (HDTV), is projected to increase 14X between 2010 and 2015.

Mobile Broadband:

  • Global mobile Internet data traffic will increase 26X from 2010 to 2015, to 6.3 exabytes per month (or 75 exabytes annually).

Global File Sharing:

  • Global peer-to-peer traffic will account for 16% of global consumer Internet traffic, by 2015, down from 40% in 2010.

Global Business IP Traffic:

  • Business IP video conferencing: 6x growth by 2015, growing more than 2X as fast as overall business IP traffic, at a CAGR of 41% from 2010 to 2015.


Cisco VNI



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Cloud, How Big Is It?

Cloud QuestionCLOUD, HOW BIG IS IT?

The Cloud, it’s Huge! But what does that mean? Let’s start with numbers we are familiar with, then see how it grows to numbers we have a harder time getting our head around:

  • Starting with a binary digit, or “bit”
  • 8 bits makes a “byte” or a character on a page
  • Then about a thousand of those, or a “kilobyte”. Two kilobytes is about a page of information
  • Then add 3 zeros to the end of that, or a “megabyte.” Two or three megabytes is about the size of a digital song
  • Adding another 3 zeros to the end of that and you have a “gigabyte.” Computer laptop memory (RAM) and iPod capacities are usually measured in Gigs
  • 3 more zeros on the end of that and you have a “terabyte.” Computer hard drives (disks) are measured in TBs
  • Another 3 more zeros and you have a “petabyte.” The capacity of large data storage arrays are measured in PBs.
  • When you add 3 more zeros or orders of magnitude (powers of ten) you have an “exabyte”. One of those represents the amount of mobile data traffic used in the US last year, according to an analyst
  • Another 3 zeros gets us to the “zettabyte” scale, a number not yet in common parlance, but that represents about the entire global digital data used back in 2009
  • 35 of those “zettabytes” is the forecast for digital data use by 2020, just 9 years from now
  • About a third of that will be in the Cloud.

A “yottabyte”? No relation to the Jedi Master.

Click on the image below to see it at full size.

Cloud Math

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State of the Internet: Email


It is regularly being said that “Email is dead.”

And while it’s true that Millennials often remain within the walled garden of Facebook or their mobile devices, email was the way most Boomers came to know messaging on the Internet.

I say:

“Email is dead, is dead.”

Long live email. Here’s a picture of what it looked like last year… along with statistics on websites, users, browsers, and social media: (click on image for a larger view)

State of the Internet: Email

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Big numbers: US information consumption

I was impressed by some recent reports from the University of California at San Diego, and the research company IDC.

The first story reports that:

from all non-work sources in 2008, including TV, radio, movies, the Net, cell phones, video games and reading material…

US consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day. A zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power bytes, a million million gigabytes.

Now, that’s a lot of data!

The second story is interestingly connected. IDC reports that there are currently about 450 million mobile devices connected to the Internet. The total number of devices connected is about 1.6 billion. So, over a quarter of the devices connected to the Internet are mobile: mobile phones, smartphones, and other wireless devices!

And while the total number of Internet-connected devices is expected to grow to over 2.7 billion in the next three years, the number of such mobile connected devices is expected to more than double in that time.

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Cloud OS: VMware vSphere 4 Launches


This week, VMware upgraded its main product line VMware Infrastructure 3, to deliver IT infrastructure as a service internally.

SaaS, or “Software as a Service” is a term often seen in discussions of Cloud Computing, where these services are offered remotely from data centers over the Web. With vSphere, companies can now do this internally as well. VMware is calling it “the industry’s first operating system for building the internal cloud.”

vSphere was foreshadowed with the announcement of  VDC-OS (Virtual Data Center Operating System) last Summer at the Las Vegas VMworld Conference, as I wrote about here.

Virtualization is a disruptive technology of sorts, in that it breaks the “hard link” between hardware and software, or more specifically between the Operating System and hardware. A VMware virtual machine (VM) can create an OS that is essentially hardware vendor independent — as long as it runs on x86 processors — and encapsulate it to run on any number of platforms. Indeed multiple OS instantiations can run on a single physical server. The impact of this is phenomenal: it can undermine the value proposition of an “integrated” solution from some server vendors. In this way, it can reduce capital and operating expenditures, even as information explodes.

There are several capabilities of this new release that are impressive. Here are the ones that caught my eye:


  • 8000 DB transactions per second per virtual machine. Can you say OLTP?
  • Over 200,000 IOPS per ESX host. Can you say Ultra Enterprise Sun IBM “Oracle”-Fire 15000 High Performance Computing? [I launched the StarFire 10000 when I was at Sun.]


  • Ability to control an entire virtual data center from a single pane of glass. VMware calls this the ability to “holistically manage” infrastructure elements.
  • Access to the Cisco Nexus 1000v “virtual switch.”


  • Storage VMotion permits moving the VM from where it lives — on the storage — to other kinds of storage as needs require. This would allow migrating for example, from expensive Fibre Channel disk drives to less expensive SAS drives, or even changing storage protocols.
  • Fault Tolerance permits a “ghost” version of a VM to run on another physical server, in “lock step” but invisibly, such that should the original VM or server fail, the fault tolerant version will immediately become available on the second server.

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