|By Scott Sobhani||
|November 17, 2016 05:00 PM EST||
For the Next Storage Solution, Look to the (Literal) Clouds
The seemingly miraculous hand-held devices we use today are a far cry from the computers of old. Capabilities, speed, affordability and storage have increased dramatically, transforming every aspect of our lives. As a point of reference, the first data centers were rooms that housed huge, individual mainframe computers. These machines cost millions of dollars each, and time on them had to be rented by several organizations because no one except governments and higher educational institutions could afford to build them.
The personal computer boom of the 1980s changed all that, creating a demand for the microcomputer (server) industry. These servers ended up in the old mainframe rooms, replacing old equipment and leaving a much smaller footprint, creating a leaner data center. Since computers no longer cost millions of dollars, organizations could assemble banks of servers into rooms, which grew progressively larger. What started as single-room environments became dedicated buildings with thousands of servers.
Multiple technological innovations later, the cloud evolved as the need to easily share software and services not only with remote offices, but also with a growing mobile user base. This worked for a few years, until hackers became smarter and the protection of private and customer data became a board-level concern.
The next solution was to create offerings in the hybrid cloud, holding the promise of protecting and managing critical data on private, on-premises infrastructure and providing organizations with the ability to host customer-facing applications in the cloud. Unfortunately, hacks to the application layer, IoT and DDoS attacks continue to plague today's corporate networks.
Cyber criminals have learned to exploit every internet-based innovation. As a result, cyber security has now become an industry so big that there seems to be a new security solution added to the network stack every day.
Insecure Data and Leaky Lines
Concerns about keeping data safe and private, whether personal or organizational, has led to worldwide jurisdictional restrictions and stringent laws regarding how data is moved between countries. What's worse is that nations have the legal right to monitor, copy, save and try to decrypt any data as it passes through their jurisdictional boundaries.
What most people don't know about the internet is that any data that passes across its internet lines, whether public or private, requires a public address header for routing encrypted packets to the proper network. This provides ample opportunity for surreptitious targeting and decryption of sensitive data. It seems that no matter what new restrictions are enforced, data remains unsafe.
Regardless of size, all organizations face the challenge of leaky internet and leased lines. Today's cloud environments run across hybrid public and private networks using IT controls that are not protective enough to stay ahead of real-time cyber security threats. Sensitive data can be exposed to acts of industrial or political espionage through unauthorized access to enterprise computers, passwords and cloud storage on public and private networks.
The internet was intended as a sustainable tool for bringing the world closer together, but it has rapidly become divided by a quagmire of protectionism - the reverse of promoting global information sharing. Clearly, a change is in order.
A Huge Carbon Footprint
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, notes that the number of data centers in the United States continues to increase. The total server installed base is projected to increase by 40 percent from 2010 to 2020. Though they are becoming much more energy efficient, they still account for almost two percent of total U.S. electricity consumption.
That's to say nothing of the rest of the world. Data centers of all sizes are multiplying across the globe at an alarming rate, consuming a disproportionate amount of energy that results in a huge carbon footprint. The negative impact on the planet is significant. Ian Bitterlin, Britain's foremost data center expert, recently commented, "If we carry on the way we have been, it would become unsustainable - this level of data center growth is not sustainable beyond the next 10 to 15 years. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"
Get Ready for Storage in Space
It's time for the next innovation - and perhaps it's not to be found on earth. Perhaps we should be looking to the sky for places to store and move our data. Imagine a world without borders, where data flows freely without limitation. Where there are no jurisdictional barriers interfering with the exchange of information or ideas. A world where the sharing of information can travel across the globe in less than a second. This is a world where information is secure, safely traveling above and beyond the internet and all leased lines. This is a new way of conceptualizing data transport and storage - and it is possible.
An independent, space-based network infrastructure for cloud service providers and their enterprise and government customers is now possible, thanks to newly conceived technologies. They enable interested parties to experience secure storage and provisioning of sensitive data around the world. By placing data on satellites that are accessible from everywhere via ultra-secure dedicated terminals, many of today's data transport challenges will be solved. This will provide a safe haven for mission-critical sensitive data, a place without interruption or exposure to any surreptitious elements or unintended network jurisdictions.
With this paradigm, government agencies and enterprises can store and transport data in a new way. Even better, this model saves money as well as carbon emissions. As a result, cloud service providers will be able to offer better services at a third of the cost of doing business today because they will not have to add CapEx and OpEx for expansion. Major corporations that deal with mission-critical data, whether in healthcare or pharmaceutical, military or financial, will achieve major market differentiation while reducing their carbon footprint globally. Cloud service providers and their customers don't have to keep investing in more infrastructure and paying huge electricity bills.
Unified Communications at Last
Computing and storage have come a long way since the days of giant mainframes, and now the next evolution has arrived. Bypassing the internet altogether, new space-based technologies create a network without jurisdictional concerns or leaks: no data interception, no latency, no hackers. Such a system will produce the global unification of communications and reinstate the original intent of the internet.
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