IT infrastructure made simple
Data is like water. CPUs are the pumps. Networks are the pipes. And storage devices are the pools. Like any system, the components are related: changes in one usually leads to changes in the others.

The coming wave
Fast, cheap processors, larger, cheap monitors – I love my Core Duo and my Costco 22″ 1680 x 1050 LCD – means sensation-seeking infophiliacs can inject a lot more data direct to the brain.

And we are.

Desktop firepower is driving network investment
This morning’s Wall Street Journal has an article (subscription required) that documents the process:

After years in the doldrums, the global networking industry is riding a new wave of spending as an explosion in online video and other bandwidth-hungry Internet services forces telecommunications carriers to beef up their capacity.

As consumers have flocked to file-sharing, Internet phone services and online video on Web sites like YouTube, telecom networks have felt the strain.

Telco pain is networking’s gain
Network equipment makers have seen impressive gains in their business and their stock prices

Cisco reported a 40% increase in quarterly profits and a 27% jump in revenue, while Juniper, their high-end rival, is also seeing big gains. Cisco’s stock has jumped 50% in the last six months.

Why? The economics are staggering, according to the Journal:

World-wide, spending on new telecom infrastructure is expected to rise to $240 billion in 2008, up 19% from 2005. Moreover, a greater proportion of that spending is expected to be plowed into accommodating capacity-hogging Internet traffic like video.

The new files can be clunky and costly to handle. A typical Internet video file eats up 1,000 times as much bandwidth as an average email message. And while sending 100,000 emails costs a telecom company around 20 cents, transmitting 100,000 low-resolution videos costs around $15, and sending 100,000 high-definition movies costs around $10,800, according to Infonetics Research.

All that data has to come from somewhere: storage. And you can bet your sweet bippy that those pools won’t be in the form of big iron arrays. Great technology, and too costly for massive data storage. Most of this data is already resides on storage clusters. As demand rises for big files, even more of it will.

On the receiving end, more of us will be upping our storage capacity. I currently have 400 GB of capacity sitting on my desk, and I’m planning to double that in the next month or two. OK, so that is one disk drive. But multiply me by many millions and it starts to add up.

The StorageMojo take
Faster processors and better graphics feed our pattern-hungry brains in ways we like. As the world’s network infrastructure gears up to supply us, the storage piece is also going to grow.

Scalability is huge, and for consumer-driven infrastructure, so is cost. Commodity-based storage clusters are already in the lead in these markets, and that lead will only grow. How long can the major storage vendors ignore this market?

Comments welcome, as ever. Moderated to keep spam out.

And one more thing . . .
I just got a floating monitor mount that I am very pleased with. It is functional, well-designed, and available for a lot less than many uglier arms. It is Ergotron’s Neo-Flex LCD Arm.

It handles LCDs up to 18 lbs, – my 22″ is 15 lbs – and clamps onto table edges or mounts in those cubicle desk cable routing holes. has them for $65 plus a nominal shipping charge. Check it out.