Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Samsung 256GB SSD coming later this year

The current generation of SSD's are smaller and slower than regular disks in the same form factor, but this is starting to change as products like this Samsung 256GB SSD reach the market. It has a 200 Mbyte/s read speed and 160Mbyte/s sequential write speed, in a standard 2.5" disk form factor.

So the sequence goes like this:

1) SSD's will be faster for random access (already happened)

2) SSD's will be faster for sequential access (coming later this year)

3) SSD's will be higher capacity (maybe next year?)

4) SSD's will be lower cost per GB (when production volumes ramp up)

The advantage in random access and reliability (due to no moving parts) means that relatively fewer SSDs are needed than spinning rust disks to provide the same availability and performance, so the end user cost per configured GB should switch in favor of SSDs earlier.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ATT plans 20Mbit/s to your phone in 2009

AppleInsider reports ATT's plans for faster wireless networks. 20Mbit/s in 2009 moving up to 100Mbit/s in subsequent years.

Some parts of the world are already running at these speeds, but this validates my mobile millicomputing story. There is going to be an excess of bandwidth to your pocket. The applications that work out how to leverage that capacity are the ones that will take off over the coming years. Streaming video is obvious, and its all about the price and the variety of content. It's the non-obvious applications that will shape the future.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ubiquitous Computing

Here is Nat Torkington on O'Reilly Radar talking about Ubiquitous Computing. Its a useful jumping off point into several leading researchers sites.

I added this comment:

The technology required to support ubiquitous computing is reaching a tipping point, in the next year or so all the obstacles will melt away and the devices we carry in our pockets will have an excess of compute power, storage capacity, network bandwidth, and battery capacity. The developer space is moving from "death by 1000 ports" on very limited platforms to two that matter, iPhone and Android that have raised the baseline and opened up to a new breed of applications. I've been tracking and predicting this on my Millicomputing blog (at ) and talking about it at conferences like BIL, eComm etc. We have also been building our own open source homebrew mobile phone hardware....

There seems to be a current focus on urban computing, and integrating people with the dense mesh of location aware services and communication opportunities that exist in cities. I'm more interested in the effects of taking "friction" out of communications between people. This is a concept that I picked up while working at eBay. In effect eBay took friction out of selling, PayPal took friction out of payments, and Skype took friction out of communicating. That is what made those businesses take off rapidly.

So far mobile phones have also taken friction out of communicating, we don't need to be tied to a wired location to communicate. Skype has removed the frictions of cost and ease of use, and has provided improved audio and video quality while you are at your desk or toting your laptop. One of the missing links is mobile Skype, it's still a bit slow and inconvenient to have Skype in your pocket, but the mobile versions of Skype are improving and the hardware needed to make them mainstream is on the way.

I'm still seeing most people thinking of their pocket device as a relatively dumb client terminal that hooks up to web services, I think this is a blinkered view. The thing in your pocket will become your server, and the compelling applications will be the ones that take most advantage of what can be done right there right now....

Friday, May 9, 2008

LBNL "ipod supercomputer"

M. Wehner, L. Oliker, J. Shalf, "Towards Ultra-High Resolution Models of Climate and Weather", Internation Journal of High Performance Computing Applications (IJHPCA), April, 2008.

This system proposes a custom CPU core, which makes sense given the large scale design. Its somewhat similar to the SiCortex machine in many ways.

Speaking at UK CMG TEC Conference - May 19-21st 2008

UKCMG TEC 2008 is near Northampton in the UK. I'm giving two of the same presentations as I gave at the US CMG, the enterprise version of my Millicomputing talk, and a half day workshop on Unix/Linux Performance.