With a quill in hand as he wrote his masterpieces, the world's greatest poet and playwright could not have dreamt that his works would one day be read on a back lit screen on a tablet marked ‘Amazon’. No offence to the ‘leather bound printed form factor’ which will always have a certain appeal to noveau riche as a blatant show of discerning taste and intellectual sophistication.
Vanity aside, you can buy a digital version of Hamlet or Merchant of Venice for a mere US$2.39 on the Amazon store and download the electronic book wirelessly onto a portable e-reader Kindle. Joining the e-book reader device club are Barnes & Noble’s The Nook, Bookeen’s Cybook Opus from Germany and the latest member from Sony Japan – The Daily Edition Reader.
Far from demeaning these classical works, digital distribution by e-book sellers such as Amazon opens up a new world for readers. The delivery is convenient - no cables, computer just a cellular network. There is no waiting time for stuff to show up on screen. Amazon's promise is that a book will be downloaded in no more than 60 seconds. Of course, the best technology is useless without content… and content thankfully does not have a supply side problem! Amazon today offers some 350,000 e-books for download on the digital Kindle, each of which stores up to 3,500 books on the most expensive version.
In this explosion of creation and distribution of digital data, Petabytes of storage will need to be transferred at multiples of ten gigabits per second as providers go about delivering over a network. While the ebook readers of our time will blaze the trail in creating the thinnest, lightest devices with the clearest fonts, quickest searches and the fastest download speeds but the backend infrastructure has to be robust enough to deliver the SLAs that the providers will advertise! In other words a reliable and scalable network infrastructure that efficiently and seamlessly helps connect the storage repositories that hold digital format of hundreds of thousands of books and then moves and manages this content from within a datacenter over a service provider infrastructure working its way through a campus network onto the e-book reading device in the hands of a voracious reader any place… any time.
Next, what about rich media?
If a line of text has the size of several bytes, then images in colour often come in hundreds or thousands of bytes while a video clip might range from tens of megabytes to a full length feature film that runs a gigabyte. For a book with lots of pictures, multiply that by a magnitude of a hundred. Then multiply again by a million books, and you have an enormous storage requirement in the hands of providers. To get it into the hands of the readers in seconds, not only a bigger pipe but intelligent switching of data traffic will be critical.
Finally, imagine you doing all that stuff while waiting in the airport lounge or sipping a cool martini watching the sunset on a beach. No hurry. No rush. Totally oblivious to zillions and zillions of tiny bit of data zapping across the networks.
Brocade’s guiding principles for developing LAN and SAN products to fit these demanding environments that involve hundreds of thousands of information repositories and millions of end devices is what Extraordinary Networks is all about. The growth of e-book readers like the Kindle and other ‘super smart’ hand held devices is just another manifestation of mankind’s unquenchable thirst for more information available ubiquitously and seamlessly.
The years ahead will require a total revamp of the existing architecture of the network as the current infrastructure creaks and breaks in the face of this immense demand.
The paradigm of the ‘Network’ is all but ready to shift – every paradigm shift heralds the advent of new ‘Players’ who lead the field…We are in the right place with the right proposition to be just that.
As we take time to reflect this past year, spending quality time with family and friends this holiday season, may I wish you and your families Season’s
Greetings, a Merry Christmas and a Fantastic year ahead!
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