Cloud Strategies, Bandwidth Management, Telco 2.0 and the San Diego Freeway

California—because of its size, topography, and cultural diversity—sometimes seems like two states instead of one. Defined by simple geography, with the dividing line somewhere just south of San Francisco (please no hate mail on this; I had to draw the line someplace), Californians consider themselves from either Northern California (NoCal) or Southern California (SoCal).

As you might expect, each area has one large city that tends to embody the culture of the larger region. NoCal is generally represented by our beautiful City by the Bay, San Francisco. Similarly, the large and vibrant metropolis of Los Angeles is the first one that comes to mind for SoCal.

Primarily because my sons live there, I’m partial to the area of LA viewed as being “outside the 405.” The 405 is the San Diego Freeway, which separates beach communities like Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey from the larger LA metro area. As you might imagine—due to heavy traffic and a freeway network never designed for the level of use it gets—going anywhere on the 405 by car can be a bit daunting.

I use the 405 to establish context in my latest Data Center Knowledge column, where I discuss our seventh fundamental truth of cloud computing: Bandwidth and data transmission may not always be as inexpensive and unencumbered as they are today.

In the column I suggest that broadband spectrum is a shared resource on which both consumers and businesses depend—with very different expectations. I elaborate on Telco 2.0 efforts and include a graph showing that switched voice growth, the historic cash cow of telecommunications companies, is flat. Conversely, growth in the bandwidth requirements of mobile handheld devices, mobile PCs, and tablets is exploding.

Telco 2.0 activities suggest, that using the classic business model, which generates revenue as a factor of time vs. resources used, is likely not sustainable if we expect increased infrastructure investment. (As an aside, I recently read an interesting Cellular-News article on mobile data capacity sent by a Telco colleague in Europe, thank you Petar — that speaks to this as a matter of consumption trends.)

I hope you find this column interesting, since I believe bandwidth considerations are one of the most challenging—and ignored—elements of a viable cloud ecosystem (beyond government policy, of course). I welcome your feedback, so please join the discussion. You’re welcome to contact me via Twitter.