Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Long term thinking

One of the things I've noticed now that I blog more is that my attention has shifted away from community sites like Slashdot. I still use it as an early warning system for threats to my day job, but I comment there far less than I used to.

Today's story was about the next generation of ethernet, 100Gigabit. The comments from the crowd at /. were familiar and quite predictible:
  • we'll never need it
  • nobody will buy it
Well, the fact is that we will eventually need it. I remember getting my first PC compatible with a 40 megabyte hard drive. It was medium size at the time I bought it. Networking it wasn't even a thought. If it had been, I would have had my choice of ArcNet at 2.5 Mbit/sec or Ethernet which was expensive at 10 Mbit/second.

Fast forward to today, I routinely move Gigabyte files around the LAN, and am thankful for Gigabit Ethernet. Now, in the space of 20 years we've gone from no networking to Gigabit, so it's reasonable to expect we'll need more bandwidth in the future. It's obvious that we're eventually going to find something to eat up 100Gbit/second. I could do it very easily today, if I had access to enough disk space, it's called hi-definition video.

Record a few hours of 1080i/59.94 video each day. Then decide you need to make backups. You now need a network connection, and "FireWire" isn't anywhere near quick enough. You'll always be looking for a fatter pipe, always.

That's just the obvious and somewhat extreme example. I have no idea what kind of stuff we'll be moving around 10 or 20 years from now, but I'm dead certain it will be HUGE compared to the stuff we do now.

Long term thinking allows you to pull back from the immediate response, and put this in perspective. We'll always find a use for more power, and we'll never be sated. The /. responses in this case are more reactive, and lack this long term thinking.

I'm shifting my mindset, slowly over time. I believe it's for the better.


1 comment:

Noran said...

True that.