in the cloud, distance matters

Here is Eric Wolford talking to me about cloud performance at the Riverbed offices in San Francisco.

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The cloud is typically presented as an amorphous blob, a non-physical space where its real world elements (servers and routers) become intangibles. Data comes in, data flows out.

But for the companies building the clouds – the service providers and hardware vendors – what happens to the data inside the blob is of vital importance. More and more applications are being crammed into data centers and the physical distance between users and their applications is growing.

The problem, according to Eric Wolford, executive vice president at Riverbed, is “physics doesn’t change regardless of business model,” meaning the moving to private networks to cloud computing still has the same application challenges as before. The longer the distance and more hops that a packet must take, there is a higher chance the packet will be delayed, lost or arrive out of sequence. The impact on users is hanging applications and timeouts.

By using application acceleration, cloud providers can mitigate these problems so performance inside the cloud is not affected by competing applications. In fact, it allows service providers to offer a cloud-to-desktop performance guarantee.


Stewart Baines
Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.