Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How Much Data, How Fast?

A co-worker recently told me the story of being part of a company that was asked to supply a network setup for an agency of one of the branches of the U.S. armed services.

This circa 1972 requirement was to move ~160 MB of end-of-the-month raw data to headquarters in one day so that monthly stats could be compiled on a monthly basis. Considering the state-of-the-art 1200 baud modems of the era, the number of data lines was calculated thusly:

160 MB x 8 bits/byte = 39 data lines
8 hours x 60 min/hr x 60 sec/min x 1200 bps

Needless to say, this approach was not used. Just too many data lines! (They had to settle for staggered downloads from each source and to compile the stats with a 1 month lag time.)

Flash forward to 2016. Nowadays one can get a 75 Mbps fibre optic connection to your homes. So, how long does it take to get that 160 MB?

160 MB = 18 sec
75 Mbps

Don't be like captive elephants: When an elephant is young, if a trainer puts a chain around its leg and restrains it from moving far, the young elephant will initially try to escape.

After trying for a while, the animal realises that escaping is futile and gives in to the restraint, enabling the trainer to control the elephant for the rest of its life.  From then on, all that is required is a chain around its leg and a wooden peg in the ground that you or I could pull out, but the elephant doesn’t.

Why? Because it doesn’t think that it can. (The Elephant and the Chain – What’s Holding You Back?)

In the same way, don't let past constraints keep you from today's solutions, be they technological or spiritual.

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