Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bandwidth on a Diet

Barath Raghavan, UCSD computer scientist getting his PhD, is looking to the clouds -- the place he hopes to tame the bandwidth buffet with a hefty dose of portion control.

Portion control. It means I'm not supposed to eat that second or third bowl of ice cream.

There is very little portion control on the Internet -- there is nothing to keep you from watching You Tube videos all day. This lack of portion control pops up on the Internet in lots of other ways as well. For example, Barath Raghavan (UCSD computer science PhD student) told me that bandwidth gets gobbled up in cloud-based environments as if it were one big all-you-can-eat bandwidth buffet. Why? Because there is no way to portion control, co-ordinate or otherwise dynamically manage the bandwidth that is used within computing clouds. You can control the bandwidth at any one location, but you can't say, "I want to spread by 50Mb/s of bandwidth across my mirrors, and I want the most bandwidth available where there is the most demand." Well, you CAN say it...but it won't happen.
This might change. Portion control might be coming to the big old bandwidth buffet eventually. I just posted a story about this exact issue on the Jacobs School's news page. Here is the link.
And as a random sidenote, Barath's band played in an all-UCSD-engineering concert last June. You can watch the video here.