International conference confirms technology's direction
Feb. 6, 2012
by Mark Ollig

Cisco, the maker of computer networking hardware that powers much of the Internet and business, held a three-day international conference called Cisco Live 2012, last week in London.

Cisco’s “World of Solutions” contained walk-in labs, demonstrations, exhibitions, and 360 technical sessions.

There were 160 Cisco engineers available to talk to during the conference.

Many segments of the conference were broadcast live, over the “Cisco Live! Virtual” video stream.

The Cisco keynote address was presented by Cisco Senior Vice President Engineering/Chief Technology Officer, Padmasree Warrior.

Her talk was entitled “Acceleration from Zero to Zetta.”

She began by saying we are fast entering the zettabyte era.

A zettabyte equals one trillion gigabytes, or the number one with 21 zero’s behind it.

“That’s a lot of zeros,” said Warrior.

And of course, we all remember one zettabyte is equal to one billion terabytes of data.

In comparison, the Hubble Space Telescope collected 45 terabytes worth of data in its first 20 years observing the cosmos.

A report from the IDC (a market research firm), stated in 2010, the amount of information people had created and consumed surpassed 1.2 zettabytes.

By 2020, this number will reach 35 zettabytes.

Handling this mammoth amount of information will require an exceptionally efficient high-speed network.

I learned, during the next 10 years, the networking data speed on our computing devices is expected to increase by a factor of 20 times over what we are presently using.

We are, as Padmasree Warrior said, undergoing “data-deluge and technology transformations.”

The way we access and consume information, the devices we use to connect to the Internet, our workplace, home networks, and with each other, are rapidly changing.

We currently find ourselves being inundated on a regular basis with technology transformations.

Today, there are about 13 billion different devices connected to the Internet.

This number is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020.

The tremendous use of video is identified as the primary reason for this increase.

A recent report by Morgan Stanley, says video traffic alone will quadruple all existing Internet Protocol traffic by 2014.

It is staggering when we consider the sheer volume of video content being created and consumed over the Internet.

It is said that every second, one hour’s worth of video is being uploaded to YouTube.

The Cisco keynote addressed the dramatic increase of data content, and how new ways will be needed to handle it within a company’s IT (information technology) infra-structure.

Folks, the computing platform is moving to the cloud.

I feel eventually a majority of our software application usage, processing, content creation, delivery, consumption, information storage and retrieval – most of our computing – will be taking place via cloud deployment.

According to the information and technology magazine, CIO, cloud-based technology and services will be used by 70 percent of major enterprise businesses during this year.

Logica, an IT outsourcing firm, describes cloud computing as “the railway of the 21st century.”

Forrester Research reports 56 percent of organizations want to implement desktop virtualization.

Desktop virtualization can be described as when a computer user’s desktop software applications and programs are accessed from a remote location, or from the cloud. It is likened to a client-server computing environment.

Businesses will use desktop virtualization computing in order to meet increased user capacity, reduce in-house hardware computing requirements, and for controlling IT labor costs.

Recently, my computer workstation was converted to desktop virtualization.

My work computer is now connected via a high-speed data network to one of my company’s computer servers located in another state.

I am no longer using the desktop software programs stored inside the physical computer hard dive sitting on my desk, they are now located in my “virtual desktop” residing within my company’s private cloud server.

In 2005, futurist Thomas Friedman wrote the book “The World is Flat.”

He recently said when he wrote this book “Facebook did not exist, Twitter was a sound, the Cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking space, applications were what you sent to college, LinkedIn was a prison, and for most people, Skype was a typo.”

We now find ourselves transitioning into the next stage of our informational evolution, which Padmasree Warrior calls, “the hyper-informational age.”

I am reminded of the 1982 book, “Mega Trends” by John Naisbitt.

In this book, Naisbitt talked about how the long-term perceptions of the upcoming informational society would be very different from the prior industrial one.

So, here we are, 30 years later, living in Naisbitt’s predicted informational societal age.

And while I sometimes become melancholy about the past, I am eager to witness new technologies like IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), becoming fully implemented across the entire Internet.

With IPv6’s nearly limitless IP addressing capacity, practically every electrical appliance, device, and gadget you can think of will be able to have an embedded IP address, and thus a presence on the Internet.

These appliances, devices and gadgets will not just communicate their information with people – they will also be communicating with each other.

Welcome to the hyper-informational age.

Highlights from the Cisco Live 2012 London conference can be viewed at http://www.ciscolive.com/london.

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