Intel to Reinvent Data Centers with Glass Substrates

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You’ll have to excuse us if our ears prick up like a Doberman who’s attention has been seized when we hear any discussion of advances in data center technology. Such is as it is when you’re a Canadian web hosting service provider, as we know that without those advances of our business wouldn’t be relied up on to the extent it is by people who have a website at work for their business, venture, or any of a million different personal interests that warrant be put on display online.

The possibilities are endless. It seems as if we’re nowhere near the ceiling when it comes to digital advances in data storage technology, but with data access technology more specifically and being an increasingly integral part of that equation. Thanks goodness of engineers is a way of thinking we can definitely get onboard with, and we have covered nearly all of the most pertinent topics here as they relate to data center technology, from the more complex with colocation to the simpler with using seawater to cool data centers.

Which leads us to the latest advancement that we’re going to talk about with our entry here this week, and we’ll give a quick nod of approval in saying that we’re not at all surprised that it comes to us courtesy of the pioneering folks at Intel. And if you’re not entirely sure what a glass substrate is, not to worry as we had to read through this stuff ourselves to have even a formative understanding of it.

Replacement Strategy

Intel’s annual Innovation event got underway last week, and they got going full tilt with going into detail about their deploying glass substrates in new data center products and how that’s quite the departure from how up until now it has primarily been organic materials used. That’s in large part because nothing of any other nature showed promise in improving performance. Until now that is.

But before we get into the meat of all this news, we should say that Intel made it quite clear that the implementation of this technology is not just around the corner by any means. It is still many years away from becoming reality, so a lot can and will change before it arrives. We’re still as keen as can be about learning more details about how using glass instead of organic material for a chip’s substrate is possible.

What was learned at the event was that the primary advantage gained from glass being a more stable material than what data center component makers are currently using is that it will allow these manufacturers to scale their chiplet designs much higher than would be possible otherwise. All of which works out to a much higher quantity of silicon tiles on a package, and that meets a real need with the ability to pack more chips onto a glass substrate being conducive to the creation of data center and AI chips that require advanced packaging.

Not Just Any Glass

Intel wasn’t forthcoming about what kind of glass will be a part of the substrates and how that type of glass works specifically to improve the function and capacity of data centers in the big picture. But what can be assumed based on everything that’s come to forefront about this over the last week is that using glass will bring gains in both performance and density. With the new proprietary designs chip designers should possess a lot more flexibility when creating complex chips in the future.

We’ve also learned that the stability of glass allows for considerable increase in routing and signaling wires, and to the tune of 10 times what would be possible without the glass substrates incorporated into the materials. What this does is it lets wires be smaller and located more closely together, which will let Intel reduce the number of metal layers involved.

With more volume of signals and better signals greater numbers of chiplets can be stacked onto the package, and the glass’s thermal stability will allow more power to be channeled into the chip instead of being potentially lost in the interconnects.

This type of glass substrate is also extremely flat compared with current organic substrate materials, and when viewed one next to the other you’d see how the substrates of-choice here are a homogenous slab rather than a composite made up of different materials. This type of design makes the chiplet less likely to warp or shrink over time.

Added benefits on top of those performance ones include more stability through thermal cycles and much more in the way of predictability with the way chips may be increasingly interconnected on a package. There’s a lot to digest there, but when you do you can see how this is in line with being a part of new and extra-large data centers and AI chips working within them.

Benefits of Investing in Domain Privacy Protection

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Some groups come to a consensus on the best domain name for their business or venture very quickly, while other times there are some serious conversation and debates that go on around them. And of course, it’s entirely possible that the domain name you all come to agree on is not available in the first place. Businesses that have a unique name or are based around an irregular surname will usually be fine with getting their desired domain, and there are plenty of free domain name availability checkers out there for people to use.

There are also a lot of people who speculate on domain names, buying them in hopes that the demand for them will increase and they’ll be able to sell them at a profit sometime in the future. That’s an entirely different topic of discussion, but we are going to talk about is something that is very beneficial for people but a topic that maybe won’t entirely make sense to a lot of people at the same time.

That’s because they are likely to think that once you’ve secured a domain name then that’s the end of it. Why would investing in domain privacy even be an issue to begin with? Well, it can be an issue and for those with more commonplace domains it is even more highly advisable. This is something that any good Canadian web hosting provider will agree with very readily, and that applies to us here at 4GoodHosting too.

There is no shortage of very good reasons why some domain owners would be wise to invest in privacy protection for their domain name, and that’s going to be our focus with this week’s entry here.

Smart Access Containment

Without exception, it is possible that anyone’s personal data may be insufficiently defended against cyberattacks and data breaches. A domain security add-on is never going to be mandatory, but the extra security it provides to protect your website, personal information, and identity is recommended and for some much more so than others.

These are reasons why you should invest in domain privacy protection, and its generally understood that those considering it will know if there digital world work realities necessitate more for them than others.

1. Anyone is able to access your personal information

ICANN is an abbreviation for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and what it does is require anyone (business, organization, individual – anyone) who owns a website to provide full contact information for the domain that they wish to purchase. And after it has been purchased then all of the contact details attached to your web hosting domain becomes publicly available to anyone on the Internet. That’s attributable to the function of WHOIS, a database that keeps a full record of who owns a domain and how that owner can be contacted.

Once in the WHOIS database, there are no limitations around who can enter your registered domain name into the search bar, and retrieve your personal information. Meaning anyone can do it. Along with your phone number, email address, and mailing address, WHOIS will have information about who the domain is registered to, the city they reside in, when the registration expires, and when the last update for it occurred.

The problem there of course is that hackers and spammers can misuse your data for dishonest purposes. And keep in mind that WHOIS you’re only allowed to register a domain with authentic information. You can can’t conceal the truthfulness of anything.

2. You are able to prevent data scraping

One of the major detrimental outcomes of data scraping is that it can leave you at the mercy of disreputable marketers. Receiving a ton of marketing emails and phone calls soon after registering your domain name is a sign you’ve been victimized by data scraping: the process of gathering information from publicly available sources, and then transferring it into a spreadsheet or local file to be used for various purposes.

Unfortunately, this is a common mailing list generator tactic for 3rd-party vendors and they do it to sell the information to businesses and organizations for a profit. Once that happens you are instantly inundated with unwelcome communication aimed at separating your from your $. And in a worst-case scenario data scraping can lead to eventual identity theft. Email phishing scams can grow out of data scraping too, but domain privacy protection reliably prevents all of that.

3. Avoiding competitors engaged in market research

Having your information publicly available through WHOIS makes it that much easier for your competitors to steal your contact information and use it for their own business strategies. Investing in domain privacy protection will make it challenging for them to do this. But if they can, such valuable information can give them the type of insight into your business and the way you operate that you really don’t want them to have. Even in the slightest.

4. Quick & Easy to Add

The option of adding domain privacy protection is usually made available to you within the process of new domain name registration. But if you had decided not to enable it at the start, you can still change your mind to add domain privacy to an existing domain name.

There is one notable limitation to domain privacy protection, and that’s if you’re looking to sell your domain name in the future.. Potential customers or business partners who wish to buy your domain name might have difficulty getting in contact with you in a timely manner. That’s really about it though, and investing in domain privacy protection is entirely advisable most of the time. You will be able to take your personal information off a public platform so data scraping becomes impossible, and this both ensures your information does not fall into the wrong hands along with hiding valuable information from your competitors.

Importance of Low- / No-Code Platforms for Increased IoT Integrations

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Despite all of the advances made with making it more possible for greater and more full internet connectivity it is always going to be a situation where many times even plenty of bandwidth is just barely enough depending on the demands being put on a network. Developers may be staying ahead of the pack with that, but just barely. What makes any potential shortcomings more of a cause for concern is when strong internet connectivity is being required for IoT applications.

Not to make any less of other interests, but this newer one has become such an integral part of the world and it’s fairly safe to say all of us are both utilizing and benefiting from IoT-ready devices in our lives. It’s great that you’re able to adjust thermostats at home from the office or open your garage door on the way home long before you’re in range of the door opener clipped to your sun visor in the vehicle. All IoT applications have value, and if they didn’t they’d never have been invested in. But some have a lot more collective value than others, and these days that’s best exampled in healthcare technology.

So in the bigger picture there’s a collective interest in ensuring that IoT integrations continue to occur, and observing the push for making that happens is always going to be something that will be of interest for us here at 4GoodHosting in the same way it would be for any quality Canadian web hosting provider. It’s a topic where it is wise to always defer to those more in the know than you, and in doing that we’ve been interested to learn that there’s a real push to make those types of device integrations easier to develop. That’s what we’re going to look at here with today’s entry.

Initiatives for Smart Fixes

Currently there is a large array of opportunities to develop novel business models built out of smart factory initiatives integrating advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. This will promote the growth of supplementary revenue streams, but there is also a lot more to it in terms of tangible benefits these individuals, organizations, and companies may gain from those smart factory initiatives.

The issue is in the way too many manufacturers have difficulty turning smart factory projects into reality. IoT implementation can be the fix there, with devices outfitted with embedded sensors to reduce downtime, facilitate data acquisition and exchange, and pushing manufacturers to optimize production processes. The reality though is that integrating these devices with existing systems can cause difficulties with integration issues and the need for specialized expertise.

However, newer developments and trends in IoT device and networks development is meaning that manufacturers can harness the potential of IoT to accomplish digital transformation and maintain a competitive edge in their market.

Low-Code Strategy for IoT Adoption

Low-code/no-code development strategy looks as if it is going to be key to overcoming these challenges connected to building and integrating IoT devices and networks. Leveraging these solutions can make it more doable for organizations to create custom applications for IoT use cases, manage data sources effectively, and ensure applications are properly aligned with the needs of multiple stakeholders. The manufacturing sector in particular can have low-code development methodologies helping businesses to fully utilize IoT opportunities that they may benefit greatly from in their operations.

More specifically, low-code technologies will work well for lining up team members with solutions that are comparatively easier to implement and yet not requiring them to have extensive knowledge of coding languages, best practices, and development principles. Being able to access a user-friendly, drag-and-drop framework can promote developers coming to much more rapid solution implementation, and time is usually of the essence with this sort of development to begin with.

Low-code platforms let citizen developers create solutions without relying solely on IT. While IT is still essential for higher-order tasks like data ingestion, cybersecurity, and governance, low-code allows business departments allows for collaboration and more rapid development to occur at the same time.

Benefits of the Right Low-Code/No-Code Platform

Identifying the most ideal low-code/no-code platform for IoT integration is imperative for manufacturers who wish to speed up development workflows significantly, as well as for those who see a need to boost operational efficiency and maintain any competitive edges they may currently have.

There are many benefits of the right low-code / no-code platform that will cater that need, and the most standard of them are:

Multiple-System Integration: The correct platform will integrate with various systems and devices seamlessly, and this smooth transition will allow manufacturers to leverage existing infrastructure to support IoT devices as needed and in the best manner. Efficient data exchange and collaboration across the entire IoT ecosystem is likely to be an end result.

Security: Robust security features will need to be a part of any chosen platform, including data encryption, secure communication protocols, and access controls. The reason for this importance is in protecting sensitive data and maintain the overall security of the IoT ecosystem. Low and No-Code platforms will foster the type of work and insight into best practices that will cater to this need.

Flexibility & customization: Platforms will ideally offer a comprehensive development environment, including visual editors, pre-built components, and support for custom code. With them manufacturers will be better able to tailor applications and solutions to their specific processes and requirements.Vendor support and community: Robust vendor systems will be best when they support thorough documentation, regular updates, and dedicated customer service. All of which are needed for smooth IoT integration. This also better promotes an active developer community that can offer valuable insights, share libraries, and collectively contribute to an understanding of best practices for successful deployment and continuous improvement.

Cloud Infrastructure Growth Fueled by Server and Storage Price Hikes

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Abstract means to be created outside of any conventions or norms that apply to whatever it is, but abstraction technology is entirely different. It is the technology by which a programmer hides everything except relevant data about an object, and the aim with is to reduce complexity. Abstraction technology has been integral to the development of cloud computing, and of course we don’t need to go on even a bit about how it has so wholly changed the landscape of the digital world and business within it to a great extent.

With regards to cloud infrastructure, virtualization is a key part of how it is possible to set up a cloud environment and have it function the way it does. Virtualization is an abstraction technology itself, and it separates resources from physical hardware and pools them into clouds. For there the software that takes direction of those resources is known as a hypervisor, where the machine’s CPU power, memory, and storage are then virtualized themselves. It was almost unheard of for hypervisors to be maxed out for the early years of cloud computing. Not anymore.

This leads to a different angle on why cloud infrastructure growth continues full force even though it’s becoming more challenge in relation to the expense of it. This is a topic that any good Canadian web hosting provider is going to take an interest in and that’s the case for those of us here at 4GoodHosting too. Servers are part of hardware of course, and the way virtualization can connect two servers together without any literal physical connection at all is at the very center of what makes cloud storage so great.

The mania surrounding AI as well as the impact of inflation have pushed cloud spending even more, and the strong contributing factors to that are what we’re going to lay out here today.

Componentry Differences

Spending on computer and storage infrastructure products in the first quarter increased to $21.5 billion last year, and this year spending on cloud infrastructure continues to outpace the non-cloud segment, which declined 0.9% in 1Q23 to $13.8 billion. Unit demand went down 11.4%, but average selling prices grew 29.7%.

The explanation for these gains seems to be that the soaring prices are likely from a combination of inflationary pressure as well as a higher concentration of more expensive, GPU-accelerated systems being deployed by cloud service providers. AI is factoring in two, with unit sales for servers down for the first time in almost two decades and prices up due to the arrival of dedicated AI servers with expensive GPUs in them.

The $15.7 billion spent on cloud infrastructure in the first quarter of 2023 is a gain of 22.5% compared to a year ago. Continuing strong demand for shared cloud infrastructure is expected, and it is predicted to surpass non-cloud infrastructure in spending within this year. So we can look for the cloud market to expand while the non-cloud segment will contract with enterprise customers shifting towards capital preservation.

Super Mega

A dip in the sales of servers and storage for hosting under rental/lease programs is notable here too. That segment declined 1.5% to $5.8 billion, but the fact that over the previous 12 months sales of gear into dedicated cloud use has gone up 18+% makes it fairly clear that was an aberration. The increasing migration of services to the cloud is also a reflection of how on-premises sales continue to slow while cloud sales increase

Spending on cloud infrastructure is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the vicinity of 11% over the 2022-2027 forecast period, with estimates that it will reach $153 billion in 2027 and if so making up for 69% of the total spent on computer and storage infrastructure We’ll conclude for this week by mentioning again just how front and center AI is in all of this. It is extremely compute- and storage-intensive nature makes it expensive, and many firms now have AI-ready implementation as a top priority. A survey found that 47% of companies are making AI their top spending area in technology over the next calendar year.

Continued Growth of Ethernet as Tech Turns 50

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Wired connections will have some people immediately thinking of dial-up modems and the like from the early days of Internet connectivity, but that is really not how it should be considering that Ethernet has in no way gone the way of the Dodo bird. Or AOL for that matter, but what we’re setting up for here is a discussion where we explain how Ethernet connectivity is still entirely relevant even though maybe not as much as when it made its functional arrival 50 years ago.

That’s right, it took quite some time before the applications of the technology become commonplace the way it did in the early to mid-1990s and some of us are old enough to remember a time when making the physical connection was the only option. And it’s entirely true to say that doing so continues to have some very specific advantages, and that can segue easily into a similar discussion about how large cloud data centers rely so completely on the newest variations of Ethernet technology.

Both topics are always going be in line with what we take interest in here at 4GoodHosting given we’re one of the many good Canadian web hosting providers. We’ve had previous entries where we’ve talked about Wi-Fi 6 and other emerging technologies, so now is an ideal time to talk about just how integral Ethernet technology advances have been for Cloud computing.

Targeted Consolidation

Ethernet was invented in 1973, and since then it has continuously been expanded and adapted to become the go-to Layer 2 protocol in computer networking across industries. There is real universality to it as it has been deployed everywhere from under the oceans to out in space. Ethernet use cases also continue to expand with new physical layers, and high-speed Ethernet for cameras in vehicles is one of a few good examples.

But where there is likely the most impact for Ethernet right now is at this point is with large cloud data centers. The way growth there has included interconnecting AI/ML clusters that are ramping up quickly adds to the fanfare that Ethernet connectivity is enjoying. And it has a wide array of other potential applications and co-benefits too.

Flexibility and adaptability are important characteristics of the technology, and in many ways it has become the default answer for any communication network. Whether that is for connecting devices or computers, in nearly all cases inventing yet another network is not going to be required.

Ethernet also continues to be a central functioning component for distributed workforces, something that has more of an emphasis on it since Covid. Communication service provider were and continue to be under pressure to make more bandwidth available, and the way in which Ethernet is the foundational technology used for the internet and enabled individuals to carry out a variety of tasks efficiently from the comfort of their own homes is something we took note of.

Protocol Fits

Ethernet is also a more capable replacement for legacy Controller Area Network (CAN) and Local Interconnect Network (LIN) protocols, and for that reason it has become the backbone of in-vehicle networks implemented in cars and drones. Ethernet also grew to replace storage protocols, and the world’s fastest supercomputers continue to be backed by Ethernet nearly exclusively. Bus units for communication across all industries are being replaced by Ethernet, and a lot of that has to do with the simplicity of cabling.

Ethernet is also faster, cheaper, easier to troubleshoot because embedded NICs in motherboards, ethernet switches that can be of any size or speed, jumbo-frame Gigabit Ethernet NIC cards, and smart features like Ether Channel The ever-increasing top speed of Ethernet does demand a lot of attention, but there are focuses on the development and enhancement slower speed 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, and 25Gbps Ethernet, and even the expansion of wireless networks will require more use of Ethernet. Remember that wireless doesn’t exist without wired and wireless access points require a wired infrastructure. Each massive-scale data center powering the cloud, AI, and other technologies of the future are all connected together by wires and fiber and originating from Ethernet switches.

More to Know About Load Balancers for Applications

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The concept of induced demand is a very real one for motor vehicle traffic, but it doesn’t apply to internet traffic quite the same way. You may not be able to build your way out of traffic congestion on the roads, but along the information superhighway it is much more of a doable proposition. And a darn good thing it is, because load speeds for web applications are a make-or-break factor with whether or not people will continue to use it. Patience may be a virtue, but users have little to any of it and that’s not going to change.

The interest of maintaining or improving these speeds is the reason that that load balancer exist, and it’s also why they are more in demand than ever before. Researchers at Google have said that a load speed should never be longer than 3 seconds, and having it nearer to 2 is what all should be aiming for. If we’re going to be right honest it is the scalability of any web application that is going to do the most for this interest in the long term, but balancing load does have a whole lot of here-and-now value despite that.

All of this is going to be a topic that we’ll take interest in here at 4GoodHosting in the same way it would for any good Canadian web hosting provider. Anything related to web speeds is going to qualify around here, and we know that there will be more than a few here who do have production interests in web applications. Although chances are they’d have heard of load balancers already, but if not we’re going o cover them in greater detail here this week.

Smart Distributor

A load balancer is a crucial component of any web app’s cloud infrastructure with the way it distributes incoming traffic across multiple servers or resources. The sum of all its functions are to redistribute incoming traffic across multiple servers or resources, ensuring efficient utilization, improved performance, and ensuring web applications are as available as possible at all times. The lack of one may mean that traffic distribution becomes uneven, and this is a standard precursor to server overload and major drops in performance.

In something of the way we alluded to at the start here, the load balancer works as a traffic manager and directs traffic with a measure of authoritative control that would never be even remotely possible with the type of traffic that infuriates most everyday people. The load balancer evenly distributes the workload, and this stops any single server from becoming overwhelmed.

The versatility of them is very much on display too, as they can operate at different layers of the network stack, including Layer 7 (application layer) and Layer 4 (transport layer). The algorithms they use like round robin, source IP and URL hash, and others have the breadth of knowhow to distribute traffic effectively based on any number of incidental factors that may be in play at the time. This is exactly what you want for consistently fast load times, and that is going to be true no matter if you have VPS hosting or another type of dedicated server setup

Those who put a load balancer in place often quickly come to see how effectively they ensure optimal performance, efficient resource utilization, and a seamless user experience for web applications.

3 Types

There are 3 types of web application load balancers

  • Application Load Balancer (ALB)

This is the Toyota Corolla of load balancers in modern web applications, microservices architectures, and containerized environments. Application load balancers operate at the application layer of the network stack. Incoming traffic is distributed by the ALB depending on advanced criteria like URL paths, HTTP headers, or cookies.

  • Network Load Balancer (NLB)

This type of load balancer works at the transport layer and is designed for distributing traffic-based network factors, including IP addresses and destination ports. Network load balancers will not take content type, cookie data, headers, locations, and application behavior into consideration when regulating load. TCP/UDP-based (Transmission Control Protocol/User Datagram Protocol) applications are where you’ll find these most commonly.

  • Global Server Load Balancer (GSLB)

This one promotes more optimal performance by distributing traffic across multiple data centers or geographically dispersed locations. It is usually the best fit for globally distributed applications, content delivery networks (CDNs), and multi-data center setups. Location, server health, and network conditions are the key factors taken into account when a GSLB is making the decision on load balancing

Why They Are Needed

Load balancers are the most capable when it comes to the optimum performance of web applications. The first common consideration where they tend to fit perfectly if the one we talked about earlier – scalability. When demand for your application goes up, load balancers allocate the workload or traffic appropriately across different servers so no single one becomes overwhelmed or fails.

Next will be with the need for high availability. With load balancers preventing a single server from being overwhelmed it means that the reliability and availability of your application is improved. They can also route your traffic to available servers in case one server becomes unavailable due to hardware failure or maintenance. Performance optimization is made possible by evenly distributing incoming requests, Directing traffic to servers that have lower utilization or are geographically closer to the user reduces latency, and this a good example of the type of ‘smart’ rerouting that we’re talking about here.

Hyperscale Cloud Data Centers Becoming Pillars in Enterprise Infrastructure Investment

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It takes a certain type of person to be aware of how the rhetoric with cloud storage has shifted. Whether or not you’d be aware of how the narrative shifted from where the technology would quickly replace the entire need for physical storage to one that now promoted smarter and more capable physical data storage would depend on what you do for work or where your interests lie. We have talked about data center colocation in a number of previous blog entries here, so we don’t need to go on too much more about the role of that in the revamping of cloud data infrastructure.

As is the case with everything, budgetary constraints have factored into this as so many businesses and organizations came to terms with just how much it was going to cost to move ALL of their data into the cloud, no matter how reliable or safe the procedure was going to be. This and many other factors were the ones that came together to push advancement and investments into data center colocation, and in truth most people would say that – currently at least – the mix between fully-cloud storage and new and improved physical data centers is just about right.

This leads to our look at the newest of these cloud storage technologies that is starting to cement itself in the industry, and we’re talking about hyperscale cloud data centers. It’s naturally a topic of interest for us here at 4GoodHosting in the same way it would be for any good Canadian web hosting provider, and we likely said the same with the entry from last year when we discussed colocation data centers.

Shifting Landscape

As of now hyperscale cloud data centers now make up a little less than 40% of all data centers around the world. An estimated 900+ of these facilities globally reinforces the major impact cloud computing continues to have on enterprise infrastructure investment. Of this number of hyperscale cloud data centres, about half are owned and operated by data center operators, and colocation sites are where the remainder of them will be located.

And as non-hyperscale colocation capacity makes up another 23% of capacity, that leaves on-premise data centres with just 40% of the total. Now if you skip back half-a-decade ago or so, the share for on-premise data centers was quite a bit larger, working out to nearly 60% of total capacity. But now the big surge in enterprise spending on data centers suggests a majorly shifting landscape.

The fact that companies were investing over $80 billion annually in their data centers, whereas spending on cloud infrastructure services was around $10 billion supports that. And when you consider that cloud services expenditure surged to $227 billion by the end of 2022 while data center spending has grown modestly at an average rate of 2% per year, it’s even in more in line with the attestation that hyperscale cloud data centers are increasingly where the industry is gravitating towards.

Onwards and Upwards

Over the next five years it is predicted that hyperscale operators will make up more than 50% of all capacity, with on-premise data centers declining to under 30% over that same time frame . But let’s be clear – on-premise data centers are not going to completely disappear. Rather, they will maintain a fairly steady capacity and still be extensively utilized despite the overall decline. A similar expectation is that colocations share of total capacity will remain stable for the most part too during this period.

And so it is now that amidst all of the excitement over the growth of hyperscale operators and the big push towards enterprises outsourcing datacenter facilities, on-premise datacenters will still be utilized and there will still be sufficient demand for them to the extent that investment will still be made. The total capacity of on-premise datacenters will remain reasonably steady over the next five years, declining but barely – going down by an average of just a fraction of 1% each year.

More notably for all of us in the hosting business will be continuing to see the rise of hyperscale data centers being driven by the increasing popularity of consumer-oriented digital services. Front and center among those are social networking, e-commerce, and online gaming, and they are just some of the many leading to a transformative shift in enterprise IT investments.

Introducing Li-Fi: Light Wi-Fi is Near Ready to Go

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It is getting on to darn near 30 years since humans were ‘untethered’ when it came to being able to access the Internet. Now being able to be entirely unconnected to anything is the norm when it comes to web-browsing devices of any type, and there are even plenty of desktop computer that would laugh at the idea of an Ethernet cable. Wi Fi has been the way, and when Wi-Fi 6 came around a few years back it was definitely a big deal.

But what we’re on the verge of here may be the biggest deal with Internet connectivity to come along since the information superhighway was first paved. We’re talking about light-based communication, and the advantages of Wi Fi are about to be undone in a big way by Li-Fi, an emerging wireless technology that relies of infrared light instead of radio waves. To go down every avenue with all the potential advantages for this and how it’s stealing the thunder of Wi-Fi 7 would require a whole lot of typing, but let’s start with the one that everyone will like to hear – speed.

They may be fewer and more far between, but some people still do have latency concerns based on what it is they are doing online and whatever hardware they’re doing it with. You want wildly faster internet speeds? Li-Fi is going to be a godsend for you then as the estimates right now are that Li-Fi could offer speeds 100XS faster than what the current Wi-Fi networks are able to provide.

No need for any explanation as to why this is going to be noteworthy stuff for any good Canadian web hosting provider, and that’s going to be the case for us here at 4GoodHosting too. So we’re taking this week’s entry to give you a brief overview into Li-Fi, because it may be that Wi-Fi is about to become archaic technology fast.

Utilize Light

Wi-Fi has made connecting to the internet wirelessly possible by using radio waves, but now it appears there’s a better way. Li-Fi was recently given its own standard – IEEE 802.11bb — and when you see it you’ll know your connection is being created with the power of light to give you connectivity. Although technically Li-Fi belonging to the same family of standards Wi-Fi lives in, it is very different.

Li-Fi uses light as its source of electromagnetic radiation instead. What is of note here with this is the way LED lights work by turning on and off many times a second by them to save energy, and Li-Fi spectrum does the same but turning off and in a way that is able to communicate with a receiver to interpret and transfer data with. It works with visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light and so there’s not going to necessarily be a need to have light physically in the room either.

And less light bouncing off walls and more being confined to individual rooms means there is less interference and higher bandwidth, and traffic is harder to intercept from outside. Another big advantage is that Li-Fi antennas are small enough to be integrated into smartphone frames, and have them functioning in a way that is similar to IR blasters

Addition To, Not Wi-Fi Replacement

The concept behind Li-Fi is pretty simple and has been around for some time, but with several developments to it adoption and challenges along the way, with the lack of an official standard being among them but now with the IEEE 802.11bb standard in place. It’s good to understand as well that Li-Fi isn’t intended as a Wi-Fi replacement, but rather an option that can be utilized when a Wi-Fi network connection is a weaker alternative or is more simply not an option at all.

There should be no shortage of those instances too, and they consider as well as places where Wi-Fi’s radio waves can interfere with everything from hospitals to airplanes to operations in and around military bases. Li-Fi will also be able to co-exist with your home Wi-Fi networks, and having devices be seamlessly able to switch between networks automatically based on needs and resources available is going to be a real plus.

One example might be having your phone stay connected to Wi-Fi while it’s in your pocket but then jump over and onto faster and more interference-free Li-Fi when it moves into your hand and is exposed to light. One thing is for sure, the idea of light-based internet is definitely exciting and especially if means super-fast network speeds and in many cases leaving Wi-Fi for more IoT purposes and the like.

Clustering Servers for Maximum Performance Delivery

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Strength in number is often enhanced in a big way when those numbers of whatever it is are in close proximity to one another, and there are all sorts of examples of that. There are all sorts of examples of that, and in some of them it’s more about providing shared resources even if the collective aim isn’t the same right across the board. The nature of what people do with Internet connectivity is as varied as the 6-digit number combinations, and it’s only going to keep on growing out from here.

Again, much of that is made possible by shared resources, even if those in possession of the resources may not even be aware their sharing them. It may be in more of an indirect way but the herring in the innermost area of the ball are providing a benefit to the fish on the edge of it even though those fish are most clearly at risk of being eaten and thus protecting them. They create a possibility, and that’s what keeps the herring ball in a constant state of flux as the competition continues without stopping.

This type of strength in numbers can relate to servers too. With the demand for server speed and reliability increasing, there is the need to implement a reliable server cluster for maximum performance. An integrated cluster of multiple servers working in tandem often provides more resilient, consistent, and uninterrupted performance. Here at 4GoodHosting we are a good Canadian web hosting provider that sees the value in relating what goes into decisions in the industry with regard to how you get better performance from your website and in the bigger picture more traction for you online presence.

Better Availability / Lower Costs

Server clusters are conducive to better business service availability while controlling costs at the same time. Learn some of the key benefits that come with utilizing a server cluster. That’s the term for when a group of servers all tied to the same IP address, and providing access to files, printers, messages and emails, or database records. Node is the one given to each server on the cluster, and each node can run independently as it has its own CPU and RAM and either independent or shared data storage.

The foremost argument for server clustering is better uptime through redundancy. In the event a node in the cluster fails, the others have the ability to pick up the slack almost instantly. User access is essentially uninterrupted, and as long as the server cluster was not already substantially under-resourced there the expected user load shouldn’t cause performance shortcomings.

Many different hosting environments will have their own specific benefits attached to server clustering. Server cluster advantages are not exclusive to mission-critical applications, but the one that will extend to all of them is the way they are not subject to a service interruption from a single server node failure.

Traditional or Shared-Nothing

Operating a backup server in the same way has benefits too but there is almost always a significant failure of service while transferring to the backup. In these instances the possibility of data loss is high, and if the server is often not backed up continually the risk of that increases. That is likely the only real detractor point when discussing server clusters, but most organizations will not have large-scale data back up needs of the size that will make this an issue.

The primary key server cluster benefits are always going to be reliability and availability and there are essentially two types of server clustering strategies – the traditional strategy and the shared-nothing strategy.

Traditional server clustering involves multiple redundant server nodes accessing the same shared storage or SAN resource. Server nodes that fail or experiences downtime have the next node picking up the slack immediately, and because it is drawing from the same storage, you shouldn’t expect any data loss to occur.

Shared nothing server clustering involves each node having a completely independent data store, making it into its own hard drive essentially. These drives are generally synchronized at the block level and function identically from moment to moment. Any failure occurring anywhere in the cluster will be immediately remedied by another node taking over in full from its own hard drive.

Security Considerations

Despite the long list of benefits all servers are potentially vulnerable. We’ll conclude our entry here this week by getting right down to what you’d need to know about server cluster security interests and listing out what you should have in place:

  • Good firewall
  • Updated OS
  • Strong authentication procedure
  • Physically secured servers
  • Strong file system encryptions

There are HPC Storage (high-performance clustered storage) with top of the line hardware in each node enabling the fastest interconnects available. These are ideal, but with some you will need to take all of these security recommendations more into consideration.

Advantageousness of Cloud Computing Increasingly in Question

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The appeal of removing the need for physical storage was profound and immediate when cloud computing first made its appearance on the scene, and there are other reasons why the advantages of it made it one of most revolutionary developments in computing ever seen to this point. We are like many others in the way we’ve gone on about it at length, and with a focus on how it’s had an equally profound effect on the nature of web hosting. Even the most laymen of people will have had their digital world altered by it, even if they don’t quite understand the significance of how their Microsoft OneDrive works or something similar.

Cloud computing has indeed had quite a shine to it for many years. But here we are now at point where perhaps the luster is wearing off, and more than just a little. And this isn’t primarily because the cloud has performance shortcomings. Some might say that it does depending on the nature of what they do related to business or any other type of venture moved online, but the primary reason that cloud computing is not regarded as obvious choice any more is because of the price required to be utilizing it.

That is not to say that cloud computing is too expensive, and it really isn’t when you look at it solely from the perspective of storing data in the cloud. But what is increasingly the issue is that traditional data centers are increasingly more affordable and offer cost savings to go along with the greater capacity for data storage themselves.

This is going to be a subject of interest for any good Canadian web hosting provider in the same way it is for us at 4GoodHosting, and before we get into the topic in more detail we’ll mention that the core server banks in our Vancouver and Toronto data centers have their server capacity expanded regularly and we’ve had them designed so that they have this ability to grow. For some it definitely may be the most cost-effective choice to go with traditional data storage means via you web hosting provider.

Upped Affordability

A PPI (producer price index) report has shown that there’s been a month-over-month decline in the cost of host computers and servers of about 4%. At the same time cloud services saw prices increases of around 2.3% starting in the 3rd quarter of 2022. The overall PPI declined 0.3% in May as prices for goods dropped 1.6% and service fees increased 0.2%. This begins to indicate how cloud storage options are increasingly more expensive, while physical data storage ones are increasingly more affordable.

So what we have now is some companies pressing the reset button for some systems already on cloud platforms and relocating them back to traditional data centers because of the more appealing lower costs. The limitations of physical data storage is going to mean that’s not a possibility for some that have more extensive needs, but for any individual or organization who doesn’t have such large-scale needs the ongoing change to price differential for the service between traditional and the cloud may well have them reconsidering too.

It is a marked change, because even just 10 years ago the rationale for moving to a public cloud consumption model was wholly convincing for nearly all. Much of that was based on avoiding the costs of hardware and software, the pain and expense of platform maintenance, and having leveraged computing and storage being a utility. Operational cost savings were a big part of the sell too, and the foremost of them was the way cloud storage allowed for avoiding many capital expenses (capex versus opex). Add the benefits of agility and speed to deployment and it was a solid sell.

Reduced Hardware Costs

One very relevant development with all of this is the way prices for data center hardware have come down considerably, and done so as cloud computing service costs have increased a good bit during the same time. This has led to many CFOs stopping to reconsider any decision to move all IT assets to the cloud. Especially if there is no significant cost advantage to outweigh the migration risks. In relation to this let’s keep in mind that today’s business cases are more complex than they were previously.

Weighing advantages and disadvantages can be a complex equation, and decision makers will definitely need to look at more than just the costs for each deployment model. New lower prices for hardware will likely factor in, but you need to look at the bigger picture with value to a business. There will be larger strategic forces that need to be considered too, especially with applications and data sets featuring repeatable patterns of computing and storage usage.

You’ll also be inclined to ask how likely it is that you will rapidly scale up or down? Traditional servers are more capable of accommodating that now, and it’s included within those increasingly lower prices for traditional data storage that you can find here with our Canadian web hosting service and elsewhere.

Not all applications and data sets fall into this category though . The more dynamic the storage and computing requirements for an application or set of applications, the more likely it is that a public cloud is the better option. Scalability and seamless integration offered by cloud services are critical for these types of data and computing, and being able to quickly expand and build on public cloud services with other native services is going to be important too

Cloud computing should never be a default solution. Consider your business requirements and make it a priority to question the advantages of any technological solution. We are seeing the prices for traditional servers decrease, it is important to review objectives for utilizing these systems and reevaluate whether or not it continues to be the best choice with regards to the value / cost proposition.

Here at 4GoodHosting we’re always available if you’d like to discuss big data storage needs, and we’ll be happy to hear from you if so.