Our increasingly connected world is generating massive amounts of data at a rate growing faster than the current investments in IT infrastructure can support. I call this the “Data Deluge Gap”, and this difference in what is required vs. available investment is compounded by the tremendous expansion of mobile network traffic. More and more smart client devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are being connected, and they are accessing and creating data through a wide variety of mobile applications. Some people are predicting that over 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by the year 2020.
Managed properly, that data has tremendous value, economically and socially. 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.
The challenge is to shrink the gap and to ensure there are no major bottlenecks that slow networks and that the quality of service delivered is consistent with what users have come to expect. In datacenters and mobile networks, system architects are racing to allow customers to utilize more of the available data and unlock value, while challenged by slower growing budgets and IT spending and technology scaling that is lagging behind the amount of data and traffic being created.
Who should care about this? Just about everyone.
What many don’t realize is that for India, it means a chance to demonstrate true made and designed-in-India IT leadership by building on the country’s well established expertise in technology used in datacenter and networking software and hardware. Since virtually all of the major storage and networking companies are doing a good portion of their research and development work in India, this is an area where India is contributing to real innovation and a true center of gravity is forming in India around these advanced systems and solutions.
For the individual, shrinking the gap means 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.
For industry, this represents a big growth opportunity. To bridge the gap, the industry is looking to products that add intelligence critical to improved application performance, faster and more efficient networks. This includes silicon and chip based products as well as software solutions. Companies like ours are helping customers store information, accelerate its flow across enterprise and mobile networks, and access and extract critical value from this data.
India is at the forefront of this challenge as it builds its own mobile networking infrastructure to handle the huge growth in data creation within the country. Engineers working with multinational companies in places like Bangalore and Pune are helping design the storage and networking software and hardware that will help ease the gap all around the world. Over the past decade India has built a strong software and firmware engineering capability for datacenter and mobile network technology that is now playing a key role in solving the data challenge. This is leading to jobs and new excitement in the already vibrant Indian tech sector.
The first challenge is keeping the speed up, as the volume increases exponentially. You need to bring acceleration to these systems to make sure the speed matches the desire to use the data. It’s all about driving out latency, that painful time while you wait for a webpage to load or your ATM transaction to complete. E-commerce companies today measure the cost to the business of latency effects, 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 making the datacenters and the networks that share and provide access to the data more intelligent. Smart systems are able to prioritize data. They understand how data will be used and recognize the most valuable data. These decisions have to be made in microseconds. Intelligence also brings the ability to monitor and manage traffic to minimize congestion and secure information that needs security. It provides the ability to inspect and sort the data, and identify threats that might be hiding inside the packets zipping across the network. And this intelligence can also help operators even bill for various different types of mobile service.