Let’s make data centers obsolete

We currently get most of our Internet content, especially video, from large data centers. The high cost of these data centers, and their data comm lines, is a huge barrier to entry to new content providers. This is why 20% of the Internet’s traffic today comes from a single source. So what options to we network architects have to bring about a shift in the Internet’s content architecture such that a few large companies don’t monopolize content?

One is the approach taken by NADA in Europe to create a universal network of P2P-enabled Nano Data Centers:

NADA is seeking to leverage advancements in Peer-to-Peer technology to connect the Nano Data Centers to enable them to work together to provide services to end users.

The set top box would essentially be split in two – one half facing the end user with all the typical functionality and services, while the other half acts as the Peer, or Nano Data Center.

“They isolate it using virtualization technologies, and that secure compartment is now talking to all the other set top boxes, co-ordinating and shifting stuff around. Each of the set top boxes has plenty of storage in it so we can put them together and build a massive data store for all those YouTube videos, Flickr pictures or whatever. We’re using Peer-to-Peer under the hood to provide a service,” Dr Ott said.

This approach, or something like it, has tremendous promise.

The server farm replacement needs to be an always-on device, separate from display machines like PCs and TV sets, inexpensive, easily expandable, and easily manageable. The devices that most resemble it today are home gateways and set top boxes, and the home gateway is actually a better leverage point than the set top box we have today.

I think I’ll build a prototype and see what happens.