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FedEx still faster than the internet

FedexNet When you need to transfer very large amounts of data over the internet, sooner or later you will hit a limit where it will actually be faster to send that data on disks over regular mail (often called sneakernet). Internet transfer rates are simply not enough for large data sets.

Imagine a company with two offices in different cities, perhaps even in different countries. Each office has a 100 megabit internet connection. If the company needs to send a large amount of data from one office to the other, theoretically a 100 megabit connection can muster about 45 gigabyte in one hour if there are no bottlenecks on the way. This ends up being just over one terabyte of data in 24 hours.

In other words, for anything larger than one terabyte, it would be faster for this company to just send the data on disks for over-night delivery.

What does Google do?

Google’s initiative to transfer all the Hubble space telescope data is a good case study. The Hubble data takes up 120 terabyte (120,000,000,000,000 byte). How does Google transfer it? Not over the internet. Instead they send actual physical disk arrays via regular mail, something they have dubbed, for fun, FedExNet. This allows them to get the data within 24 hours.

To transfer the same amount over the internet in 24 hours, Google would have to be able to achieve transfer rates of more than 11 gigabit/s running constantly maxed out. On a regular 100 megabit connection, transferring 120 terabyte of data would take almost four months (111 days).

Is Internet 2 the answer?

The basic point here is that the internet still needs a lot more capacity. How soon can we reach such massive transfer rates? There is hope at the horizon, but FedEx probably hopes the answer is “never.” :)



3 comments
nlpnt
nlpnt

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."

–Andrew Tanenbaum, 1981

ShieldsCW
ShieldsCW

I like how you use FedEx as your example, because we will never, ever, surpass UPS's "bandwidth."

ShieldsCW
ShieldsCW

I like how you use FedEx as your example, because we will never, ever, surpass UPS's "bandwidth."

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Delivery service like FedEx could be faster than Internet data transfer when it comes to large amount of data. Google transfered 120 terabyte of data by sending actual physical disk arrays via regular mail, not over the Internet. [...]

  2. [...] Original Article: Royal Pingdom fedex fast data transfer throughput sneakernet google hubble [...]

  3. [...] FedEx Faster than t’Interweb [...]

  4. [...] FedEx Still Faster Than The Internet Filed under: Uncategorized — recar @ 12:20 am FedEx Still Faster Than The Internet If you need to transfer more than 1 TB of data, maybe your better choice would be still just send it on disks for over-night delivery.[offbeat news] [news] [world & business] [...]

  5. [...] A very nice explanation given by Royal Pingdom writer: When you need to transfer very large amounts of data over the internet, sooner or later you will hit a limit where it will actually be faster to send that data on disks over regular mail (often called sneakernet). Internet transfer rates are simply not enough for large data sets. [...]

  6. [...] Ver articulo original http://royal.pingdom.com/?p=119 [...]

  7. [...] Traditional FedEx delivery still faster than theoretical file-transfer over high-speed Internet connections, when transferring more than 1TB of info. In other words, if you have a lot (a whole lot) of data to transfer, just send it via an overnight delivery service. It will get there faster than the online file transfer (even if ideal transfer speeds are sustained). Check out the Royal Pingdom post. [...]

  8. [...] In my industry, it’s this principle that sees us commondly shipping LaCie Firewire/USB hard drives across the country to each other rather than even attempt a network file transfer. HD Video especially involves HUGE file sizes, and even the internet’s fattest pipes are not nearly as efficient as overnight shipping. read more | digg story [...]

  9. [...] Original URL: http://royal.pingdom.com/?p=119 [...]

  10. Anonymous says:

    FedEx still faster than the internet…

    When you need to transfer very large amounts of data over the internet, sooner or later you will hit a limit where it will actually be faster to send that data on disks over regular mail (often called sneakernet). Internet transfer rates are simply not…

  11. OpsanBlog says:

    FedEx faster than the Internet?…

  12. [...] Was ist schneller: Das Interweb oder der Postweg? Kommt ganz darauf an, wie dieser Artikel feststellt: Imagine a company with two offices in different cities, perhaps even in different countries. Each office has a 100 megabit internet connection. If the company needs to send a large amount of data from one office to the other, theoretically a 100 megabit connection can muster about 45 gigabyte in one hour if there are no bottlenecks on the way. This ends up being just over one terabyte of data in 24 hours. [...]

  13. [...] Royal Pingdom » FedEx still faster than the internet Precisa enviar 1 Tera de informação? Mande via FedEx que é mais rápido do que pela net (tags: internet web google fedex data speed broadband) [...]

  14. [...] Royal Pingdom » FedEx still faster than the internet Precisa enviar 1 Tera de informação? Mande via FedEx que é mais rápido do que pela net (tags: internet web google fedex data speed broadband) [...]

  15. [...] FedEx still faster than the internet … for anything larger than one terabyte, it would be faster for this company to just send the data on disks for over-night delivery. (tags: internet web) [...]

  16. [...] If you need to transfer more than 1 TB of data, maybe your better choice would be still just send it on disks for over-night delivery.read more | digg story [...]

  17. [...] We have previously shown that for transferring large amounts of data, overnight delivery by FedEx is faster than using the internet. However, FedEx may be getting some serious competition in the near future: teleportation. [...]

  18. [...] And FedEx still beats broadband. [...]

  19. [...] connection. It would just take way too long. We have written about this phenomenon in the past (FedEx still faster than the Internet). For example, Google uses this method to send large sets of data from the Hubble space telescope [...]

  20. [...] of DVDs. Now Pingdom is reporting that Google knows the same thing. They have an article about how FedEx is faster than the Internet. [...]